Thursday, October 10, 2002


8 years ago on this date, October 10, 1994, we arrived in Israel as new immigrants. It was a dark and stormy night (apologies to Snoopy, but it was). There was electricity in the air, illuminating Jerusalem as we drove over the hills towards our new home. A sign of things to come? After unloading our 12 pieces of checked luggage (3 pieces for each of the four of us - Aviv wasn't born yet), Jody sent me to the supermarket to pick up some essentials. My first full Israeli experience as a citizen of this country.

And I freaked out.

I didn't recognize anything. It wasn't the Hebrew. Rather, it was more the fact that it had taken me years of shopping to get to know and settle on our family's favorite products in the U.S. I knew what type of butter we liked, our favorite dishwashing detergent, which type of juice to buy. But now, I had to learn a whole new language, the language of Israeli consumerism. And I had no frame of reference.

Tnuva, Elite or Osem?
Tara, Strauss or Yotvata?
Milki, Carlo or Dani?
Mei Eden or Neviot?

I walked out into the rain with less than we needed, overwhelmed yet at the same time slightly amused. Fortunately back at the apartment, our friends Ben and Renee had arrived with enchiladas and burritos from Amigos. The food was cold and soggy but still nourishing. We ate on the floor, scooping up the beans and rice with our bare hands, since we didn't have plates yet and I'd forgotten to pick up cutlery at the store.

Ben and Renee didn't mention that the night before there had been a terrorist shooting just outside the restaurant on the Nachlat Shiva pedestrian mall. Two days later, Nachson Wachsman would be kidnapped and murdered. More signs?

But we're still here with no plans to go anywhere. 8's hard to believe. But the really significant date will only come in another 8 years. As my palindrome-crazy wife points out, then our anniversary date will fall on 10-10-10. I hope to still be writing about life in Israel for you on that auspicious date.

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