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ברוכים הבאים הביתה - Welcome Home

Approximately 34 hours ago something amazing happened. I made Aliyah! I became an official Israeli!

When I look back on my life it is so crazy to think this is where I'd end up. Who knew that little Amy, growing up in a mixed faith, mixed cultural and ethnic family in Sacramento, CA would someday be Israeli? I didn't even know what it meant to be Jewish until I was already double digits and post Bat Mitzvah age. Well, look at me now! I'm living in the Holy Land, the only Jewish country in the world.

It's obviously a difficult thing, moving to a new country all by yourself, but I never feel alone. I am so lucky to have the support of so many, both near and far. I have to say thank you to everyone for all of the supportive phone calls, messages, facebook posts, tweets, instagrams, etc. They really mean so much to me.

I have to say thank you to my family, both Jewish and not. You all have made me who I am today and each have played a special role in me ending up here. I realize I just put myself thousands of miles from you all, but our love is a strong connection (and it is made all the easier by the internet, thank Gd). I'll come visit you often and hope that you'll all get the chance to come visit me.

I have to thank the Jewish community of Portland. Thank you Greater Portland Hillel for showing me where to find friends and supporting me in finding my voice as both a Jew and an Israel advocate. Thank you to the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland for showing me what a Jewish community does for each other. Thank you to Congregation Shaarie Torah for welcoming me in with open arms and teaching me about being Jewish. You were my first Jewish community, you were where I discovered my intense love for Israel, and I hope that you can continue to be that for others.

I have to thank my friends, both in the US and Israel. To my American friends: thank you for accepting and supporting the transformation I've gone through in the last few years. I know not all of you can fully understand it, but you've always let me be me. To my Israelis: thank you for showing me what Israel is. I am so proud and excited to be one of you now!

And of course I have to thank Gd, but he and I talk a lot so he knows all that I have to say.

Here's to an exciting future as an Israeli! I'm not sure what the future holds but I feel good about it. I know I'll face many new challenges during this process but I look forward to building my new life.

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