On July 18, I made aliyah (immigrating to Israel) from Milwaukee as part of a chartered Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah flight bringing 218 North Americans to Israel and I can say I have never been this excited about anything in my life. It’s truly amazing that I now have the opportunity to live in the land that my ancestors could only dream of going to. I can’t wrap my head around that aspect of it.
I was not the first in my family to make the dream of aliyah a reality; my older brother preceded me two years ago with his wife, as well as my cousin having made the move 12 years ago.
In the 1980s, my parents actually made aliyah to Israel. In that time, they started a family, having both of my older brothers and raising them in the Old City of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, due to family circumstances, they had to move back to the United States shortly before I was born, but throughout my childhood, my parents instilled their love and longing for Israel in my brothers and me. My father used to tell us stories about everything from singing in the Israeli Opera to the Great Synagogue on Yamim Nora’im. Ever since I was a kid I knew that this was something I always wanted to do.
He told us in his stories about how rich tradition is in Israel. My father sang on some Breslov Research Institute CDs that Ben Tzion Solomon, the American-born Israeli musician, put together in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. He told me how amazing it was that there was someone like Ben Tzion to find and record those songs. It’s such a rich part of Jewish history that is now forever imprinted in audio format, for future generations to be able to hear and sing. I think it’s such a beautiful thing that my father was able to take part in that project, and it has been an inspiration to me.
owadays, the Jewish people are stronger than ever. We have one of the most unbelievable armies in the entire world defending us; the care for every soldier and every civilian is truly a beacon of light for the world to follow in these dark times. In Israel, people aren’t escaping the harsh realities of life; they love and embrace life with all their might, no matter how hard things can get. Life in Israel is simply choosing to embrace life.
In a few months I plan on attending the Rimon School of Music in Ramat HaSharon, a suburb of Tel Aviv. I have always wanted to further my formal music education to maximize my potential, and very soon I will be living that dream as well as the dream of living in Israel. I will be studying piano, particularly focusing on jazz, which is something that as a classical musician I have wanted to formally study for many years. It’s truly so meaningful to me that I am lucky enough to live in a time where I can study my life’s’ passion and craft in the land of our forefathers, living my families’ and my own dream.
Ilan Eckhardt moved to Israel on July 18 on a Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight out of JFK Airport. The organization is responsible for removing or minimizing the financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles of immigration to Israel.
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About the Rimon School of Music in Israel
- From pop to rock to jazz, diverse musical styles are found at Rimon.
- Students pursue community outreach, including music therapy sessions and hospital visits.
- The Rimon community integrates into the nearby Tel Aviv music scene.
Source: Rimon School of Music