Wednesday is Tu B'Av, a relatively unknown "holiday" in the Jewish calendar. Coming fast on the heels of Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av), Tu B'Av (the 15th of Av) is completely its opposite. It is a Jewish "love" day - young unmarried girls would dance in white dresses and sing in the vineyards of Jerusalem. Less than a week after the mournful day of Tisha B'Av, Tu B'Av offers a respite, a reminder that life goes on, that love goes on, that we must endure and continue to celebrate. It is a chance to be joyous and silly after weeks of preparation for mourning.
Yesterday, my brother made aliyah. This means that he "went up" to the Land of Israel, it means that he accepted his "Right of Return" available to all Jews all over the world, it means that he officially became an Israeli citizen.
He left Monday on a chartered Nefesh b'Nefesh flight and arrived at 6:45am on Tuesday in Israel. If you asked him why he was making aliyah, his basic answer was "I want to be Israeli. I want my kids to be Israeli. I love Israel." I have not always been thrilled with this choice that he's making. I love my brother and I want to have him around. I suppose in so many ways, I have been selfishly wanting to keep him here, to have him be a constant presence in the lives of my children and my family. But I have watched his determination in the last few weeks that he's spent here in the US with us, and I watched him kiss the ground when he got off the plane (thank you NBN's webcast!) and I cried tears of joy for him.
Some pictures that I grabbed from the NBN webcast. I wish I could have been there to celebrate with him. (captions below pictures)
Waiting for the ceremony to start.
Many dignitaries spoke, including the Prime Minister. No matter what your political feelings are, it is a pretty remarkable event in this history of the Land and in the history of each of these individual olim (immigrants). What an incredible experience.
And who knows....maybe someday we'll join him??? Life takes lots of turns and I'm not ever going to rule it out.
So today on Tu B'Av, a love of Israel that blossomed into an amazing, life-changing commitment for my brother and our whole family. May God watch over him and keep him safe, may his journey be blessed, and may he know much happiness and peace.