My Second Aliyah

by Guy Spigelman

Officially I made Aliyah on the 4th of April, 1994 – that’s almost 19 years ago (in case you were wondering I’m about to turn 41), and frankly, at the time, I was exhausted with being “Jewish.”

I just wanted to “be”, and thought that the simple fact of living in Israel, voting, paying taxes, doing the army, having a family would surely be enough.

Before I made Aliyah the first time, I spent almost every waking hour at Habo (that’s Habonim Dror in Australian), planning camps, madrichim meetings, education programming, sending groups to Israel, meetings of the State Zionist Council, Israel advocacy and on and on and on … Aliyah seemed like the only way to escape.

So living in Israel, starting a family, making new friends, working in cool companies, enjoying the weather and the food was going just great for a few years. That is until the bug struck.

You know, that bug.

The ‘things aren’t really perfect in Israel and the world, and I probably should be doing something about it’ bug.

And so I started to volunteer for some organizations and became politcally active, but this was all something I did on the side. My main thing was still business and family.

Then I turned 40 and started to think. Is this what I what I want my life to be about?

I am writing this blog post from Sydney, the place I was born and raised. The soundtrack I have chosen is Arik Einstein’s classic “Sitting in San Francisco on the Water” – but it may as well be Sydney Harbor. I am having a great time showing my 3 daughters where I went to school, the amazing natural beauty of Sydney’s beaches and water ways, the Opera House, meeting up with old friends and their children, imagining what life would have been like had we chosen to stay here in Australia. The kids also are also asking us, why exactly did we move from such an idyllic place?

The truth is that I never imagined a future in Sydney, and in fact my time in Sydney was always about building a better future for Israel, the Jewish people and the world.

And so now, exactly 5 days before I take on my position as CEO of PresenTense in Israel, I feel like I am making Aliyah again, going to Israel from Australia, only this time to dedicate my time and my efforts to building a better future for all Israelis via the amazing platform that is PresenTense.

It is the start of a new journey for me, one that feels right, one that fulfills the ideals I held way back then, in Sydney on the beautiful harbor.

Thanks to those that have given me this opportunity. As we used to say back in Habo: “Aleh Vehagshem, Alo Na’aleh.”