I remember sitting in shul with my mom last year in Jamaica Estates, whispering "I feel like it was just Rosh Hashana!" She whispered back "Time only goes faster as you get older. Years go by in a blink." At the time, I had decided that I wanted to make aliyah sometime in the new year, an idea I hadn't yet broached with my family. I knew in my heart that this was possibly the last time I'd be sitting next to my mother and sisters in my childhood synagogue, praying where I had since I was eleven. I looked around my congregation at the faces of those I had memorized after so many years praying together, steeped in nostalgia for the High Holidays I had always known, while still anticipating the High Holidays to come.
And here we are, one "blink" later, standing on the eve of the Jewish New Year, 5775. Except this year didn't fly by for me. I think when your year is filled with so many events, so many changes, the days don't blend into one another and the year stretches a bit. When I think back to one year ago, it actually feels like a lifetime ago. I was truly another person. I was solely an American citizen, I was a speech therapist in a NYC public school, and I was just starting to attend "pre-Aliyah" meetings, sticking my toe in the water. Over the course of the year I: applied for aliyah, sent in 9,000 forms, racked up many hours of speech therapy, spent as much time as I could with friends and family, celebrated a bunch of holidays, packed up all my belongings and made my way over to the Holy Land to start a new life. In that time I saw friends get married, babies come into the world, my grandmother leave this world, and countless other changes and momentous occasions that have shaped my worldview forever. When you see each year not as just another year, but a capsule of important events that change who you are and what you have always believed, the world tends to slow down a bit. This year of huge changes taught me to focus on the days, the weeks and the months, rather than the year as a whole.
To think of where I'll be this Rosh Hashana, in the holy city of Jerusalem, as an Israeli citizen, is kind of mind-boggling. No longer will I look to my right and see my mom, devour my sister's delicious salads, gobble kisses from my niece and nephews or walk with my dad to tashlich. All those sentimental moments are now part of my rose-colored past. But I look forward to meals with good friends and family, finding the perfect synagogue for me in Jerusalem, and spending the holiday in a Jewish country where we are all lucky enough to be celebrating the New Year, together. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and sweet new year!