My daughter Liat leaves tomorrow night for America.
I have so many mixed feelings about this.
The adjustment to our new home has been the most difficult for her. She has told me she loves Israel, but that she just wishes her friends had made Aliya with her. (Don't we all wish that?) I don't question how her love for Israel has grown over the past year. I see her interest in what's going on here; she reads the paper and looks at the websites. I listen and try to answer her questions about things like Sderot, or the Merkaz HaRav terrorist attack.
But she's a teenager. And she had a very tight knit group of friends and a life in America that she loved. She has made a couple of friends here, but does not have that social network that she left behind in America. Many Shabatot she stays home and reads or comes with me on visits to my friends. She has also been unhappy in the school she's in, feeling it's not the right environment for her.
I'm nervous that Liat will spend time with her friends in America and really feel like she's missing alot over there and be depressed about coming home.
We can't not send her. A little background: a few days after her bat-mitzvah, Liat was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. After four rounds of chemotherapy and 7 weeks of radiation, the disease went into remission. She also had another, more traumatic medical experience last year, which I don't have the strength to go into right now. Thank G-d, bah, she is healthy today. Because of her experiences, Liat is not your typical teenager. She is more serious and mature than your average 14-year-old. She has so much Emunah (faith) that I sometimes feel ashamed at my lack of it. After her diagnosis, our family got involved with Chai Lifeline, and Liat has spent the last two summers at Camp Simcha. This is an unbelievable organization who helped our family get through some very difficult times.
Liat is going back to Camp Simcha this summer and before camp starts, she will spend some time with family and friends.
I'm worried that maybe it's to soon for her to go back, since she doesn't have an established social circle here and will be depressed upon her return. But we could never deny her the weeks at Camp Simcha--they give her so much chizuk (emotional support).
But there is some hopeful news. She was very unhappy in the Ulpana that we had sent her to. It's a good school, but she wanted a more serious religious environment. So she found out about another school with an excellent reputation, and more religious. After much finagling (In Israel, I've learned "no" means try harder), the administration agreed to interview and test her and last week we were notified that she has been accepted. Liat has told me that she is excited to start in this new school.
At least she's coming back to something she's excited about.
And so, for better or worse, she is going. And I will miss her and worry about her every day. And hope and pray that she comes back okay, and that it will be a good year for her.
And that she doesn't spend all our money shopping...
(In many ways, she really is a typical teenager).
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