HEY! Welcome to our blog about our lives in Israel! We (Gabe and Lily) have recently made aliyah (moved to Israel) as graduates of Habonim Dror North America, a socialist Zionist youth movement. We came here to live meaningful lives, Jewishly and communally, and to work toward justice in Israeli society via Dror Yisrael and HaNoar HaOved. What the heck is that, you might be wondering? Check out our section defining terms for full explanations. We are both very excited and anxious to see what this new life has in store for us, and already have much to report!
Let’s start with a Hebrew lesson. You’re probably wondering where the name “This Chalutzic Life” comes from. The word “chalutz” most directly translates to “pioneer”, and according to dictionary.com a chalutz is “
Chalutzim are the early pioneers who founded the state of Israel. They grew up in the same youth movements that we are a part of today, and they had lots of hopes and dreams of building a Jewish society based on justice and equality ( they were also socialists!). Mainly young Jews leaving anti-Semitism and oppression in Europe, the chalutzim came here to build, specifically to build kibbutzim (agricultural communes) and more broadly to build a better future for the Jewish people. Lots of things happened between the early kibbutzim and what Israel has become today – a much more violent, fragmented, unequal and oppressive society. As the socialist kibbutz movement has declined in an intensely capitalist society, many people have moved into the cities to try and build Israeli society through education instead of agriculture – modern day chalutzim!
We (Gabe and Lily) plan to post here regularly to keep everyone updated about our lives as new olim in a Labor Zionist youth movement. In the spirit of the chalutzim, both of us have chosen to shift the center of our lives to Israel, to try and build a more just society in Israel through the movement. This is much more than simply moving abroad – we are coming with a vision for ourselves, for our garin (our full group of 5 that made aliyah together from the US), and for Israel. We are choosing to live and work in deep partnership, with each other and hopefully with people from all sectors of Israeli society. MUCH more on all of that to come!!
Although this blog is going to be a lot of fun, we have some goals that we’d like to share with all of our loyal readers.
First, we want to have a creative output. We want to have a forum to express ourselves. Some people draw and some people do journalism; that’s just the way it is.
Speaking of journalism, we LOVE JOURNALISM!!! Gabe recently graduated from the Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and Lily was the managing editor at Tufts Daily for Tufts University. Both of us love reporting and telling stories.
Something we really want to do is show our friends, families, and maybe some strangers who stumble upon this site what a realistic aliyah experience is like. We want to document our experiences and connect to our partners here and abroad. We want to be transparent about the complexity of this decision and lifestyle, and to encourage challenges and dialogue.
We plan to experiment with different forms of multimedia, bring in guests to tell many perspectives, tell stories that are authentic and challenging, and HAVE FUN.
Lastly, we want this to be a living connection from Israel to the diaspora. Israel is a place that is important to so many Jews worldwide, but many times people don’t have a good idea what Israel is like for those who live here. We want to present an honest representation of our life and connect to our partners and our friends abroad. We also hope to bring our unique struggles and understandings of Jewish identity as formerly diaspora Jews to Israelis. There is so much learning and challenging to do in both directions!
TL;DR: this blog will be an awesome way to a) keep track of our lives, b) learn about the new world of movement life we’re immersing ourselves in, and c) engage and struggle with Israel by our sides!