I was an American immigrant in Israel from 1983 to 1989.  I left Israel, but Israel never completely left me.  When I lived there,  I was in my energetic 40’s.  Now I am in my “Whatever will happen next?” years.  It’s time for me to update my relationship to Israel.

I started thinking slowly about what confluence of events would make a visit possible.  Being practical about needing to rent out my home to hopefully have enough money to travel, I selected the winter months to entice  snowbirds to come to southern California.  Winter months in Israel can be cool and rainy, but not drastically so.  And Israel’s summers are too hot for me.

The renting rules in our retirement community now have a 90 day minimum.  Three months sounded like a reasonable amount of time.  Next, I thought specifically about where to go and what to do with my time there.  Not having been there for about 30 years, I wanted to do something useful and interesting.  But I had looked into volunteering in Israel some years back, and discovered seniors were considered too old for certain volunteer jobs.

I had been in Israel during the secret airlifts of thousands of Ethiopian Jews in 1984 and had been a housemother in a boarding school to newly arrived Ethiopian Jewish teen boys.  It wasn’t easy, but it was exciting and extremely challenging to be a part of their early integration into Israel.

But I knew from newspaper articles a friend has sent me over the years that the Ethiopian Jews have had a rough time living in Israel.  I wanted to get to know the Ethiopian Jewish kids of today, 30 years later.  So, I’ll be heading for Netanya which has an Ethiopian community called Hefzibah.  They need volunteer English teachers, and that’s something I can do where age won’t be a problem.

So, then I had January, February, and March as my time to go, found renters that were looking forward to being close to their relative in my retirement village, and had a volunteer job lined up.  Next, where to live?  Thus began my very long, tiring uphill climb to learn technology that will accompany me on my trip.  I am not new to independent travel, but I am very new to today’s technology required to do so.  The old traveler’s checks that took me around the world so many years are, well, obsolete.  I already miss them.

And thus began my roller coaster ride of learning today’s requirements and pitfalls for registering with Airbnb, using ATM machines, debit cards, credit cards, online banking, and what’s required to protect all of them from being hacked and stolen.  Whew!  Wish me luck.

Finally, there are now only a few weeks left before I get on the plane for my 14 hour journey.  Although it was very hard to do, the house is mostly ready for the renters.  I am taking three notebooks that attempt to keep all the technology instructions I’ll need for the trip. And, keeping a promise I made to myself not to take too much luggage, I have only a carry-on that I’ll check into baggage, and a light backpack.  Oh, and a walking stick just in case my weak knee needs help getting around.


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