Shortly after we moved to Israel, my brother received a letter from one of his many female friends back home, inquiring as to whether camels were our primary method of transportation.

Twenty-four years ago, today, my family and I left everything we knew, got on a plane and took off for a foreign land. I learned a new language, a new culture and how to shoot an Uzi (but not well).

When people ask me what brought me to Israel, I answer: My parents dragged me here, as I kicked and screamed (on the inside). But I whole-heartedly believe this country is one of the great miracles of our time, and more importantly, I believe it's where God placed me, and so here I remain.

In honour of this anniversary, I'm sharing my one of my favourite Aliyah jokes (which I actually find to be a little too close to the truth).

And it goes like this...

A man was about to die. He was allowed to take a tour of heaven and of hell, prior to his demise. First he visited heaven, a peaceful place where people lounged around in white clothes, playing the harp and singing beautiful songs.

Then he visited hell. Hell was hopping! The people there were enjoying a BBQ at the beach, playing volleyball, partying, dancing and generally speaking, just having a blast.

Soon it came time for the man to die. He arrived at the pearly gates and was questioned as to his choice: Heaven or Hell, man, what will it be? He answered, "Hell, of course!"

He was sent to hell, where he was instantly engulfed in flames and tormented by demons, surrounded by the shrieking screams of the people around him, all sufferers of the same fate.

He cried out, "What happened? When I visited hell before, it was a fun place!"

One of the demons replied:

"Before you were a tourist. Now you're an Oleh Hadash." ("New immigrant")