Amichai’s 5th birthday is this week. I think, for the rest of my life, that his birthday will be a benchmark for our Aliyah. I arrived in Israel with Nefesh B’Nefesh five months pregnant with Amichai. I look back on that experience and marvel at how daring we were (at least in my opinion) when we arrived. I needed, quite quickly, to find a doctor, a hospital, and a doula. I also needed to become familiar with the different ways that delivery and recovery are done here and the Israeli mentality in the recovery ward. It was all quite an experience – but, I must say, it ended up being a fantastic one at Hadassah, Ein Kerem in Jerusalem. And, I might add, it was my fastest and calmest delivery.

So, today I am reflecting on Amichai’s cute little life and on our Aliyah. When we named Amichai, we wanted a real Israeli name – and an “Aliyah” name, as we referred to it. An Aliyah name is one that reflects how you feel about picking up and moving around the world, and one that indicates a bit about why you’ve moved.

So, we decided on Amichai (My Nation Lives). But…we didn’t just stop with Amichai. We went for the gusto by naming him Amichai Oz (My Nation Lives IN STRENGTH). I remember, at his bris, thinking “Wow – that is a lot of name to give to one little guy.” And it is.

At the same time, his name reflects so much about why we all make Aliyah and about what our children mean to us in this process. While we certainly love our children to the end of the Earth – they aren’t entirely “our” children when we come here. They belong to us, certainly, but they also belong to Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) and to Am Yisrael (the nation of Israel). We will, after all, be sending each of these beautiful boys into the Israeli army. While Amichai is our little guy, he’s also a representation of our Aliyah, of a nation that is alive and well and growing in strength everyday, and of a hope for the future here.

May Amichai continue to grow and develop in strength, and may our Am (our nation) continue to do so as well.

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