When Trip'n Daddy and I were looking for a community for our first year in Israel, we knew one thing:
- We were not interested in living over the "Green Line." After Gush Katif, we were nervous. You invest so much in building a home and one day the government can just take it away. There had been so much instability in our life already and Aliyah was another upheaval. When we put down roots, we wanted to feel 1000% secure. (Ironically, some of the communities we were considering are well within missile range of Gaza. Their kids have been out of school for days due to the latest escalation and have even been brought here to the Gush to get away from the tension. See: Gush Etzion Welcomes Children from South)
- We wanted time to learn more about yishuv life before we chose one, if we chose to live on one at all. As a couple, we tended to be homebodies and somewhat private. The close living and the tight-knit communities that make up most yishuvim made us nervous. Certainly, we were going to try to find one that felt less like a bungalow colony and more like a small town.
- We wanted to choose a community that really represented us and our values. If we were going to live on a yishuv, it had to be the right yishuv for us. The only way for us to really learn that would be by doing research from within Israel. We knew we had to take our time to really feel comfortable with a commitment on that level.
- We loved AM and UM to death, and would theoretically follow them to the ends of the earth, but Israel was far enough. They were living in Neve Daniel for 5 years already. When we lived in the same communities as them in the US, we always felt that we were living in their shadow. They had children first and kids are a major inroad to making friends in any community. I have spent my whole life being "UM's sister." Also, AM is one of those people who knows everyone and has a lot of friends. They were so established in Neve Daniel, we felt we couldn't establish ourselves, as ourselves.
- Where were my kids going to have the support system they needed? Where would there be many loving adults to make up for the one who was gone?
- Where was I going to have the support I needed? What if I can't be home in time for the kids? Need a night out? A Mommy Getaway?
- Without a father to help teach them our values and how to live a Torah lifestyle, I now needed a community of men who will watch out for them and be examples to them.
- Most of all, being close to AM and UM was no longer a question, it was imperative. Forget living in their shadow. I needed them just to be able to live.