Last Thanksgiving in the US

In honor of our last Thanksgiving before making aliya we had a real serious Thanksgiving meal today. The Shields invited us over along with the Wachs and Taragins for a huge meal. We had turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, salad and  apple and pecan pie. It was a real Thanksgiving festive meal. We all had a great time. I think we'll survive just fine without having Thanksgiving in Israel (I know that some people have huge Thanksgiving meals there but it doesn't count if you start your meal before any football games have started) but leaving these people in Baltimore is one of the sad things about making aliya.

First leg of Rivka's pilot trip

Rivka left for Israel today to be there for my niece's bat mitzva next Shabbos. She really wanted to go and my sister really wanted her there but we needed to find an adult to accompany her. It turned out that Rabbi Hillel Tendler was going for 10 days so I asked if he'd mind if she tagged along. He said it would be no problem so they're going together.

Their flight was scheduled to leave Baltimore today at 6:30 PM and then leave Philadelphia at 9:30. We decided to leave around 3 because we figured that Thanksgiving traffic could be bad and we didn't want to take any chances. So we picked up Yeshaya and Nava and Rabbi Tendler and we hit a little traffic. We still got to the airport by 4 only to find out that their 6:30 flight had been delayed to 9:30 due to the bad weather. So US Air said that they'd put them in a taxi to Philadelphia. We were a little nervous that there might be traffic but they had plenty of time and the driver said that he knew back roads to get there. I got an email from them around 7 that they made it to the airport and the website says that the flight to Israel is scheduled to leave on time.

I was about to post this and they called. They made it through security and gave in their luggage and are sitting by the gate waiting for the plane to board.

real estate agent

Things are starting to get more real. We met with a real estate agent to discuss listing our house. Looks like we'll probably put it on the market in about two months. This is the first house we've ever owned so this would be pretty sad for someone a little more sentimental than I am. It will be weird to no longer own a house though after owning this one for 8 years. Hopefully we'll get one soon on the other side of the ocean.

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

My great grandparents may have come through Ellis Island on their way into this country so we thought it would be appropriate for us to go visit before we left. We were going to Teaneck for Shabbos and had initially intended on sleeping there Thursday night also but last minute we decided to go Friday morning. After Shira exercised (she's still crazy) and I went to shul, we started on our journey. We got to Liberty Park around 10:45 to take the ferry to Ellis Island. It was interesting enough to entertain the kids for 45 minutes or so which was good because we really couldn't spend any longer there before we had to get back on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Security there was really tight so we had to be there for almost two hours instead of the one hour we had planned. The bad part was that you need to make reservations two months in advance to go to the top otherwise you can only go to the base. You have to walk 156 steps to get to the base and only Yeshaya, Zvi and I were brave enough to do it. It was a little disappointing but OK.

Then we got on the ferry to get back to our car so we could to Passaic and drop Rivka at her friend's house before we continued onto Teaneck. We hit typical NY traffic and got to the Flamholz' about 15 minutes before candle lighting. We quickly emptied the car and showered and were ready on time. We had a really nice Shabbos. On Motzei Shabbos, Shira went to her friend's engagement party and I went to Passaic to my friend's event l'zecher nishmas his daughter and as a fundraiser for the organization l'zecher nishmasa called Be'er Miriam. We both had a good time. This morning we stopped for Dunkin Donuts and then drove back home.

Next steps after the paperwork

Shira got together all the paperwork that we needed for Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN): 7 US passports, 6 Canadian passports (I'm not Canadian), 7 birth certificates, 1 marriage certificate + apostle (it was Canadian so we had to send a letter and 11 dollars to the Israel office in Canada for proof that it was valid), 7 medical forms, 1 financial form, proof of Judaism and a letter of recommendation. We sent it all in to NBN and they said that they now had everything they needed.

The next thing we had to do was set up an interview with the shaliach. NBN's website said that there was an office in Rockville so we called to set up an appointment. They told us that the office had closed and we had to go to New York. I called NBN and asked if we had any other options. They told us that when the Israel Aliya Center closed offices around the country they had said that people wouldn't have to drive more than two hours for an interview so we should call back. I called back and they said it was true and that they'd call us when they knew when the shaliach would be in Rockville. We got that call last night and we're scheduled for an interview on 12/3.

Things are moving along. Next things for us to do include: choosing a community, looking into schools (particularly for Rivka who is starting 7th grade next year) and putting our house up for sale.