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I am a 24 year old Jewish Zionist and I’m making Aliyah

“On the Aliyah website it says “welcome home.” The first time I read that, I cried.”

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Lauren Isaacs, Toronto Director of Herut Canada

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I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and have loved living there. I’ve never known anything other than Toronto. When I was 20 years old, I visited Israel for the first time. I came to Israel on a subsidized youth trip run through my local synagogue. What was the real reason I visited Israel that first time? It was a cheap trip, my friends were going to party, and I wanted to live it up (go to the beach, meet Israeli boys, the whole nine yards). 

When my feet touched the ground at Ben Gurion airport, something radically changed my perspective and the trip altogether: I felt at home. As Elie Wiesel said, when a Jew visits Israel for the first time, it’s not really the first time – it’s a homecoming. I truly felt that sentiment from the very first moment I was in Israel. I’ve travelled before: England, Ireland, Switzerland, USA, and all over Canada. For the first time, I didn’t feel as though I was travelling… I felt as though I had returned from a long trip abroad.

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During that first trip my love for the country grew from a spark into a roaring flame, and the trajectory of my trip (and ultimately my entire life) changed. I extended the trip and stayed for an additional three weeks in Jerusalem, studying at a seminary the entire time. When I returned to Toronto after that first trip, the emotions were overwhelming. It wasn’t that I was sad to leave Israel. The word “sad” does not suffice. I was incomplete returning to Toronto. I left a very large piece of my heart, soul, and self behind in Israel. From then on, I resolved to visit Israel every year forever more. 

For three years I did visit once a year, loving the people, the culture, the holiness, and the feeling of being home in Eretz Yisrael. On the fourth year, this year, I decided to come live in Israel for an entire year, instead of simply visiting during the summer. So I packed up my life, jumped on a plane, and landed in Israel – in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Goldstein and another trainee at the training camp

I was sent straight into a mandatory 14 day quarantine in Jerusalem. Sitting alone, in a small Airbnb room, alone in Israel. I couldn’t be happier. Nothing, not even the craziness of the pandemic, could ruin my love and desire for Israel. And thus, after four days of sitting in quarantine, I decided that this place, this country, this nation was where I needed to be for the rest of my life.

I called up my family to give them the news of my decision, and to my surprise, I found out there had been a wager going. Every single family member had bet that I would make Aliyah; the wager was simply regarding how long it would take. My brother won with his bet of less than six weeks. The unconditional support of my family gave me the strength I needed to go online and fill out the Aliyah paperwork. 

On the Aliyah website it says “welcome home.” The first time I read that, I cried. It was too emotional not to. I am a Jew, descended from Jews who have been exiled from their homeland for thousands of years. To be the first one in my family to come back home to Israel is a very emotional feeling.

I am an unapologetic Zionist, and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life in Eretz Yisrael. I can’t believe it’s finally happening. I’ve spent 24 years living in the Diaspora, in exile, and I can finally say that I am returning home.

I am incredibly grateful to be here in Jerusalem. And one day soon, I will proudly call myself an Israeli. Am Yisrael Chai!

Lauren Isaacs was the most prominent young Zionist in the country last year, as the Toronto Director of Herut Canada. She has offered to chronicle her experiences for TheJ.ca as she transitions to her new life in Israel. 

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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