Thursday, September 20, 2007

We've made it - We've finally made it

Those were the words of our friends on kibbutz, the ones who made aliyah with us 12 years ago and were with us on the absorption center, where one gets absorbed into being Israeli.

We couldn't figure out why. We feel anything but having "made it." No one makes it in Israel. I imagine Billionaire Arkady Gaydamak's billions shrinking into the millions because everyone, like all the tax authorities, likes to dip their hands into everyone's bank accounts and take heaping quantities of "our own" hard-earned money. But if we think we have it bad, the kibbutz is going bankrupt. It's the only conservative movement-affiliated kibbutz in Israel. We used to visit our friends once a year for one holiday or another and we didn't have to pay anything because we were guests of the kibbutz. But since it went bankrupt, the guest house (if you want to call it that - it's more like a hostel) separated from the Kibbutz and we now had to pay for our suppers, so to speak. Only four of us went up for Rosh Hashana and we dished out what we would have spent anyway on take-out food since we don't have a kitchen in our apartment yet. The kids shrieked at the site of a scorpion in their room and we moved up to the 2nd floor.

Our friend was trying to reassure us that we made it and went on and on in his South African accent-

"You bought a house, man, you've got a married daughter and a grandkid. You've made it man, you've made it."

"Yeah", I said to Hubby, "We've made it alright." It seems like every week we get a letter saying we owe another enormous amount to the tax authorities. They'll wonder how we were able to buy a house and slap on another $25,000 tax on us. There's no method to their madness. Maybe this is how one makes it in this country.

But taking our mind of the troubles of our own and of the kibbutz we spent the 2nd day of the holiday, not talking to God in the synagogue, as alot of people do, but driving off to places we hadn't yet seen in the Galilee, like Rosh Pina,

and the Hula Valley Reserve

which has its swamp back but was berefit of birds as it wasn't "bird viewing" season where you can see thousands of cranes and pelicans lifting off each morning from the site. We saw catfish and turtles and sea otters and a grumpy Russian-Israeli tourist who was complaining about how "dead" the place was now. Just as our old, overused car was overheating we stopped off at Amirim, this magical place in the upper Galilee, where there is a lot of spirituality and music and organic food and sat down to an amazing long-wished-for-healthy meal of brown rice with assorted really tasty toppings. The place was like an Indian-type retreat with mattresses covered in fun-looking, colorful material, bean bags and buddhas and a tiny stream with goldfish running through the place.

Lovely, just lovely. And it took our mind away from having "made it" in Israel.

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