It's official. I am officially approved for aliyah. Yay me! (**Applause**)
My shaliach called me on Tuesday evening to give me the good news. I only remember the first part of the conversation; it went something like this:
"Hello?" (groggy from having spent the entire previous day puking my guts out and having lost five pounds as a result).
"Noa?" (My shaliach's name. Although in America, we generally think of Noa(h) as being a boy's name, in Israel the boy's name is pronounced Noach,
with the guttural "ch" sound at the end. Noa, with a soft, open ending is a girl's name.
"Yes! You're all approved, ready to go".
**SIGH*** "That's great!"
"I am so excited for you!"
I don't remember any more of the conversation because she then proceeded to tell me the rest of what I needed to do in great detail, after which I asked very pointedly, "Is there any way you could just email or fax these instructions to me?" I was banking on this, seeing how I hadn't written anything she had said down and remembered it not at all. "Of course, of course...By the way (after fifteen minutes of telling me what to do), is this a good time?"
So, just in case you are curious, I thought I'd provide a quick recap of the process and what I have left to do.
Apparently, when one moves to Israel and obtains citizenship, there are a few paths one can take. I opted to go through the Jewish Agency for Israel (sochnut In Hebrew). I'll post more about that agency later.
Last winter, I contacted the San Francisco office of the Jewish Agency, requested a packet for making aliyah and sent it in at the beginning of the summer. To complete the packet, I had to fill out a questionnaire, a health declaration (I guess they want to know that I'm not going to die with them having to foot the bill), a visa application, a record of my entries into Israel and when I left as well (with the relevant pages of my passport copied and the copies included), and a few other things, like a signed declaration of my intent to make aliyah and some not too flattering passport pictures.
My shaliach approved me, confirming to me that my conservative-less-that-orthodox-conversion really was enough, even though I most likely will not be considered Jewish enough by the Rabbinic courts, which are controlled by the Orthodox. No matter. Then, just last week Israel approved me, which is what she called to tell me. That makes it official.
So what's left to do? Well, I already confirmed my flight. I leave from LAX on the 29th of October. Now, once I get a packet in the mail from Noa with visa documents, I will send in to the consulate for my visa.
That's it! Sometimes it seems like a really simple, uncomplicated process. Sometimes...
Relevant terms defined:
Aliyah: immigrating to Israel (literally: ascent). Used in the following context: "I am hoping to make aliyah at the end of October". In Israel, however, because of the verb you say: "I am doing aliyah".
Sochnut: agency, more specifically referring to the Jewish Agency for Israel. Pronounced SOH-CH-NUTE. Remember that guttural ch, in the back of your throat.
Shaliach: Emissary or agent, as defined in my dictionary. My shaliach, Noa, has been the one processing my paperwork, helping me get my flight and my visa, and literally being my go-between with Israel, helping make my move as smooth as possible. Pronounced: SHAH-LEE-AHCH. Again, the ch, in the back of your throat.