Around our virtual campfire (Facebook) folks who came here pre-NBN reminisce about what it was like 'before'. NBN has only been around for the last decade and has certainly revolutionized the immigration process. Many of the arrangements that took weeks of running around and filling out forms at different venues are now done at the airport or at central meeting places where the newbies are helped with opening bank accounts and signing up for health insurance, all of which make the process smoother, I'm sure.
Deep down under it all, all of us who choose Israel as our home arrive with an uplifting feeling of pride in the country mixed with a certain fear that we and the country will not live up to our expectations. Like every relationship we will become more realistic as we go along. But those first impressions, those first heady days, those patting ourselves on the shoulder moments, those 'this is actually happening' feelings, they help us in our new role as immigrants.
My own first hours in Israel were just a few weeks after the Six Day War (which has become ancient history it seems). My most vivid memory is of going with my friends to Tel Aviv where just about every balcony had an Israeli flag hanging out. The flags were in honor of the liberation of Jerusalem and in celebration of the survival of the State of Israel when just a few weeks before many had not been certain that this Zionist experiment would live out its second decade. That euphoria is sort of like the laughter after a particularly scary roller coaster ride, you know the kind where you ride a loop that has you completely upside down and you doubt your sanity. When it's over your laughing from relief. Only this danger was real. And then it was miraculously over. (Or so we thought.)
Thank you Facebook friends for that trip down memory lane and thank you NBN for bringing home so many more American Jews.
And to our new citizens: