Welcome to our Chalutzic Lives

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!

This is Lily from a trip to Vancouver

This is Lily from a trip to Vancouver

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 “a person who immigrates to Israel to establish or join a settlement for accomplishing tasks…that are necessary to future development of the country.” We took that Hebrew word and anglicized it to be an adjective: “chalutzic”. (If you don’t get the reference to “This American Life“, we recommend giving it a listen.)

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!!

This is Gabe sitting in our apartment

This is Gabe sitting in our apartment

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!

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8 thoughts on “Welcome to our Chalutzic Lives

  1. I really didn’t want to start a conversation by arguing with you, but really, Gabe: describing Israel “a much more violent fragmented, unequal and oppressive society”? WTH?
    If you’re trying to educate your readers and get them to actually visit and explore Israel, you might want to think of mentioning Israel’s good points too.
    Just sayin.’

    Wishing you much hatzlacha on your adventures. And looking forward to reading more on your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Israel is a place that is very important to me and there were plenty of good points to convince me to move here! To clarify: this blog does not aim to strictly criticize Israel; however, Israel is far from perfect and I have taken that as my mission for being here. From my perspective, citizens here are very divided and polarized on many political issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, wealth inequality, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, African immigrants, security, terrorism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fair enough…no country is perfect, but keep in mind than Israel is only 68 years old, and has absorbed Jews from countries as diverse as the former Soviet Union, Yemen, Ethiopia, Brazil, North America and France, just to name a few. They’ve come pretty far in a short time transforming the country and making it a leader in agriculture, water production, cyber security, high tech and medical developments, for starters.
        So…I am looking forward to posts about how Israel is helping alleviate the world’s water shortages, esp in poor countries in Africa, or how Arab Israeli women enjoy more rights in Israel than anywhere else in the Middle East, and how Travel & Leisure rates Tel Aviv the #1 gay-friendly city in the world.
        BTW…Lucy Aharish, an Israeli Arab and Channel 2 anchor, is the featured speaker at an AIPAC event here on Nov 15. I’ll send you an update on what she says. Want me to try to get you an introduction??
        Stay safe, learn a lot, venture forth!
        And again…wishing you much hatzlacha in all you do!
        Love, C

        Like

  2. This is going to help me procrastinate from my midterm studying so much! Thank you!! sending love to all of you from Norton Massachusetts ❤

    Like

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