Hamas War

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Wonderful Aliyah Story, "From Big Whine to Big Grapes"

We bloggers do consider ourselves writers and journalists, but very few of us take the giant step into publishing actual books. Ruti (Mizrachi) Eastman has taken that great daring leap and published "From Big Whine to Big Grapes" not that long ago. It's a collection of blog posts supplemented by essays specially written for this book. Ruti blogs on two blogs, Ki Yachol Nuchal! and  Never Ruthless.

Ruti writes a lot about her and her family's aliyah, move to Israel. They came from the United States, and she's not shy about admitting that without the assistance of Nefesh B'Nefesh, they never could have afforded to make the move. At no point does Ruti ever complain. Ruti only sees the good. And good things do happen to the Eastman family, whether it's an amazingly helpful clerk, a ride in the middle of no-place to where they need to go or finding someone they know to lend them cash when the only nearby ATM is empty.

I have no doubt that one of the reasons that people are so nice to Ruti is that she greets them with a smile and is so friendly and upbeat. We do make our own luck. Ruti doesn't go into details, but she does mention that she and her husband chose to be Jewish. Yes, they are converts, and that whole story would no doubt make a very compelling book.

Because Ruti divided "From Big Whine to Big Grapes" into chapters of essays that are connected by content, there isn't a clear chronology to the narrative. It jumps around, which is both good and bad. For the reviewer, like myself, who needs to finish reading the entire book as quickly as possible, it got confusing at first. After reading a couple of chapters, I "got the rhythm." But I think that most readers will, davka, enjoy it, since you'll have the chance to savor various topics and choose what you're interested in, even skipping around the book and rereading when necessary. I'm sure that those dreaming of aliyah or actually planning it for real will really love "From Big Whine to Big Grapes." You can get some very good advice from reading it. And it's also a great book to give friends and relatives of olim, to make them feel better concerning the new lives chosen by their loved ones.  And even though my husband and I made aliyah decades before the Eastmans, I really enjoyed reading "From Big Whine to Big Grapes." Some things never change and others have changed enormously.

Those who claim that aliyah is too hard, frequently have money complaints. The Eastmans seem to to have made their Israeli life suit their finances and not attempt to reproduce their American life in Israel on an insufficient budget. They rent an apartment unit in a house and don't have a car. They are happy to be here in Israel and consider the "sacrifices" a good trade-off. The relations with the Hebrew-speaking landlords and hitchhiking adventures make great reading.

Ruti is still struggling to master the Hebrew language, which adds more humor to life here in Israel. Advice to potential olim, immigrants to Israel from Ruti, which I agree with completely, is to learn as much Hebrew as you can before you make aliyah.

You can purchase "From Big Whine to Big Grapes" from Amazon, Lulu, Book Depository or here in Israel, email rutimizrachi@gmail.com directly. Ruti has revealed that there's another book in the works, so stay tuned... I can't wait to read it.

I must confess that Ruti and I are friends. We have a lot of mutual friends, and we sometimes meet at IFL football games. But at the games we cheer for different teams. My son used to tackle her son, but now my son's opponent is Ruti's husband; they are both coaches. We both root for a fair and safe game, one without injured players. We want to see them play like "mensches." 

Ruti wants to "coach" me into writing a book (or books) from the material in my blogs. What do you think?


rutimizrachi said...

Thank you, my friend. I am so honored that you enjoyed the book. I do indeed look forward to sitting down with you and persuading you that three decades' worth of stories about your life in Israel will make a great and inspirational book -- and after hearing just a few of those stories, I look forward to reading it!

Batya said...

Gd willing, but it's almost half a century... since our aliyah

Mr. Cohen said...

Rabbi Lazer Brody has publicly taught that
to make successful aliyah [presumably
from America], a Jew must go down ten levels
in gashmiut [materialism] and go up
ten levels in ruchniut [spirituality].

Maybe I am wrong about this, but most people
I know would experience great difficulty
in going down ten levels in gashmiut,
and the same thing is true of going up
ten levels in ruchniut.

Was Daniel an Orthodox Jew?


Was Isaiah an Orthodox Jew?


Was Ezekiel an Orthodox Jew?


Was Jeremiah an Orthodox Jew?


Was Ezra an Orthodox Jew?


Was Nehemiah an Orthodox Jew?


Refuting the Fans of Vashti:


Batya said...

Many people live very well in the gashmy world here in Israel, but if you condition aliyah success on financial success you're on a very low ruchani level.

rutimizrachi said...

Well, it certainly has been easier, coming in with the attitude that we will do what we can to retain the privilege of living in this very holy land. America was nice... but I prefer our simple but more meaningful life here. And we keep meeting wonderful people, b"H!

Batya said...

Ruti, you do have the right attitude. The lives we live here in the Holy Land are the real ones, the ones that count. Out of Israel one can easily be blinded and tricked.

Netivotgirl said...

Bravo on an exquisite blog post dear Batya! I've not yet read Ruti's book, but it's on my "wish list." Indeed, Ruti is one of the most inspiring and upbeat women I've ever had the pleasure and honor of befriending, so I have no doubt that her book is superb! You've given me even more motivation to get myself a copy! Kudos to both of you, my dear friends!!!

Batya said...

NG, I have no doubt that you will not only enjoy Ruti's book, but you will be overjoyed to be able to recommend it to your students. It is so hard to find books for EFL students which are on a high moral level.

Erika D. said...

Thank you for this post, and thank you so much for hosting this month's Carnival!

Batya said...

Erika, thank you!