Starting to clean the junk

Shira and I both took the day off today so we could start cleaning the basement. (We also took a break at some point to go see Up in the Air which was OK but not great.) We went through all the dolls and games and filled up 6 large garbage bags. 3 went out to the garbage and we'll give 3 away. We still had toys and stuff all over the floor that we hadn't finished sorting. When Yeshaya came home we explained to him that the stuff left on the shelves were things we were taking and the other stuff we were either giving away or throwing out. We made sure that the kids couldn't see the stuff we weren't keeping so they couldn't argue with our decisions. Yeshaya felt that the things on the floor should be in garbage bags also so he got about 10 garbage bags and emptied legos into one, put some containers in another, put blocks in another etc. By the time we noticed had filled all his bags. He's been the least enthusiastic about the move so at least now he's starting to get excited.

Interview with the shaliach

After a few cancellations, we finally met with the shaliach today and it went without any problems. We should find out in about two weeks if we've been accepted to make aliya. I guess the main point of the interview was to see the originals of our paperwork and to make sure we're really Jewish and serious about aliya. She seemed convinced so I think we're good.

I have a couple more vacation days left this year so I think Shira and I are going to spend those days "decluttering." We'll get rid of toys and clothes that we no longer need to prepare our house to be shown.

My trip to Israel

My father already wrote about my flight to Israel. He's been bugging me to blog so I'll post.

The Gottliebs picked me up on Friday morning at 10:45 and I drove back with them and I picked Eliana up at school. We went to the Merkaz and bought pizza for lunch and candy to take back to our friends in Baltimore. They had their cousins for dinner on Friday night and we stayed up until 1 AM. On Shabbos, I met a lot of her friends and I liked them all. I hope we move there. After Shabbos I took a bus with her cousins to Yerushalayim and met my grandmother at the tachana merkazit. We took a bus back to Modiin but we had to wait around for 45 minutes first.

On Sunday, Savta took a bus to go to the Kotel. Then we met the Pilichowskis (who were visiting Israel from Los Angeles) and we sifted through artifacts from the Beit Hamikdash. We went to the mall and had pizza. Yair, Dina, Avigayil and Temima (4 of my first cousins from 3 families) slept over that night. My second cousin, Daphna also came to visit.

My grandmother took all the people who slept over and me to the Blind Museum on Tuesday. We came in and it was PITCH BLACK and Temima and Avigayil got scared so they went out with Savta. So just Dina, Yair and I stayed with the group. We went into a rainforest and then we went on a boat. We also went into a music and a cafeteria (it was still pitch black and you couldn't see anything the whole team). We had to buy a soda without seeing anything so we just gave money and the cashier, who was blind, could tell how much we gave and she knew where each soda was so we just told her what we wanted and she got it. Savta, Avigayil and Temima met us in the cafeteria. From there we took a bus to the train station and a train back to Modiin. It took us about 3 hours to get home.

On Tuesday, the Pilichowskis picked us up (they got a driver with a van each day) from Modiin and we went to a Maccabim archaeological place. They had a model house and there were different activities. For example, they showed us how they made coins in those days. Savta and I went to Meah Shearim on Wednesday and met the Pilichowskis for lunch at a falafel place (Moshiko). That afternoon I met Sivan Roth (a friend from Modiin) and Eliana Gottlieb (a friend from Baltimore who is there for the year) at the mall and we got pizza and I got earrings.

Savta woke me up early Thursday morning so we could see the Pilis off at the airport. My uncle and aunt, Eli and Sarah came to Savta's house for tuna caserole for lunch. While I was waiting to go meet friends at the mall, Savta and I played lots of games of Pentago. I met a bunch of friends from Chashmonaim (who I had to school with when we were there for the year) at the mall and we had pizza again.

The main point of my trip was my cousin's bat mitzva. Friday morning we went to the Kibbutz where the hotel was and of course we got there early (my Savta is early for everything). We got our rooms and unpacked. Then we went for a brunch and they had caricatures there. After the brunch we got ready for Shabbos. There was so much food! After dinner there was an oneg with more food. They had a girls' "minyan" on Shabbos morning. Everyone davened together but then all the girls from the bat mitzvah went into a separate room and lained. I went up to the Torah and said a pasuk (baruch atah Hashem lamdeini chukecha) two times instead of the brachos that boys make. Right after Shabbos, Saba and Savta came in the taxi with me to the airport where I met Rabbi Tendler for my uneventful flight home.

Interview cancelled

The first piece of red tape that we have to cross for the aliya is our meeting with the shaliach from the Jewish Agency. First they tried to insist that we had to go to New York for our interview but then they scheduled one in Rockville, MD for us. Apparently even after they closed down the office the shaliach still occasionally comes to Rockville. So they scheduled it for today. Shira worked a little extra on Monday so she wouldn't have to work today but then a couple nights ago we got an email from them:
Are you still planning to make aliyah in July 2010?
I am asking this since all our interviews for this day ( we have one day) are booked and we have someone that wants to make aliyah this December (2009) and needs an interview. If your aliyah date is in July 2010 I will need, unfortunately, to cancel your interview for now. I will probably reschedule for you a new interview at the end of this month or the beginning of next month since we are re-opening our office in Washington D.C and we will have a lot of interviews available.
It's not a big deal so of course we agreed to postpone ours but we just like to get these kinds of things out of the way.