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June 09, 1989 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-06-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


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Home Stretch

Continued from preceding page

help and teach them things
that I know."
Wendi was in Israel once
before. This time, "I've really
gotten to see the way Israel


You have an idea of the
sofa you're looking for. You
want a certain fabric ... a
special style...a particular
length. (And frankly, you
probably want to save on it.)
So come to Newton.
We'll show you a vari-


t's mid-afternoon —
Israeli siesta time —
and everyone but Howard
has drifted back to the apart-
ment. They sit in their living
room — posters covering
dingy walls, an old bed for a
couch, a couple chairs,
utilitarian desks and tables,
a TV set — smoking Time
cigarettes. Only two of the six
smoked before coming to
Israel. Now almost everyone
The four women sleep in
one bedroom, the two men in
the other. The women's room
looks like an adult version of
the "crowded to the rafters at
nap time in the day care
center" scene on the Yavneh
Project Renewal video tape
that is shown to visiting
groups. It illustrates how far
the city needs to go before it
can properly provide for all.
The six share a small
bathroom with shower. The
kitchen has a stove, sink and
"It's not bad," Lisa says.
"We all get along very well.
But after nine months I miss
my own space."
"I'm a camper, so I'm used
to this communal living,"
Alyssa says.
"It's to see if you can make
it," Amy Kahn, 19, of Far-
mington Hills says about
their quarters in particular
and Otzma in general.
"You're pushing yourself to
see what you can survive
On this particular day, Amy
is surviving with and recover-
ing from pneumonia and a
frustrating round of visits to
Kupat Cholim health clinics
and the hospital for treat-
ment. "In Israel you need a
sense of humor and a lot of pa-
tience," she says. "If you're
waiting for a bus and it
doesn't come, what are you go-
ing to do?"
According to Amy, doemstic
life in Yavneh is easy com-
pared to their winter in the
Youth Aliyah village. "There
was no heat. You had to sleep
in all your clothes. It was
warmer outside than in o ir
rooms. But we did learn to
make toasted cheese on elec-
tric heaters."
And despite the daunting
challenge of the endless cold,
the real time of darkness was
their month on the moshay.
That's one topic that gets
everyone taking.
Says Amy: "We worked
from six to six picking flowers
with a half-hour break."

"They said to expect it," Wen-
di reminds her.
But the warning didn't help
Lisa. "It was the one part of
the program that I was ter-
rified about," she says. "But
I loved it. You meet the
wildest people, the traveling


fter a year of Israeli
life, none of the six
sees Israel as a future
home, although each one says
he'll be back.
"After living here a year,
the question of aliyah is even
harder," Marc says. "You
know the reality of things. It's
hard to make it here. And it's
easy to give up."
"Aliyah is a 'should do,' but
it's not for me," Lisa says, ad-
ding she would like to come
on missions when she is older.
"When I worked on the
moshav, I felt very close to
Israel. And damned close to
Jordan," Amy says laughing.
(Their moshav was on the
border.) "But you shouldn't
have to live here," she says,
serious again. "You should be
where you're the happiest."

"Nothing's written in
stone," Alyssa says. While in
Israel she realized how much
she likes being around Jews,
but "I didn't realize until I got
here how close I am to my

Between the aliyah of the
long term and the Chinese
dinners of the short term,
there is the broad stage of the
middle term. The Otzma par-
ticipants say they would like
to fill it with more Jewish ac-
tivities than in the past: stu-
dying Hebrew to keep up
their proficiency, volunteer-
ing at Borman Hall, or
becoming more active at their
synagogue or on campus.
When Marc, Lisa, Alyssa,
Howard, Wendi and Amy
came to Israel, they found
much that was familiar, but
always with a difference: a
modern country where people
pushed in line; modern
buildings, but with no heat.
"Everything here is a little
off," Howard says, "but I've
gotten used to it." "It might
sound like a commercial, but
it forces you to grow • up,"
Alyssa says of her first visit to
And now, with culture
shock far behind them and
their systems adjusted to
Israeli ways, the six prepare
for their departure. Could
home seem just as strange as
Israel once did'? At least one
group member thinks it possi-
ble. Says Howard: "I think
I'm going to go home and
things are going to be a little
off again." E

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