The best thing about throwing a party is that I can attend with the knowledge that I'll like all the people there, because I invited them!
It went really well last night. About 40 people came, all these really nice people whom I've gotten to know over the last year and/or hope to get to know better. Yael was kind enough to let me throw the shindig at her place, and was so great about helping me shop and set up; she even shlepped a watermelon and a full grocery bag up several flights of stairs for me. Now that's a good friend!
Noa gave a great dvar Torah about Jewish continuity and how Eretz Yisrael plays a big part in it (along with other things like family, leadership, halacha, and one other thing I don't remember), and how our having moved here puts us in the category of the daughters of Tzlafchad, who valued the land so much that they managed to get a law made just for them. Then, Elisheva H. from my ulpan class said a few stirring words about the importance of Aliyah. I don't remember what she said but I remember thinking it was really inspiring.
The best part of the party, for me, was after the divrei Torah, when RivkA M, who'd come with her kids, said that her oldest, Yaffa, had listened to the speeches and said "it makes me realize how lucky I am to have been born here, especially in Jerusalem." I saw my native-Israeli neighbor nod in agreement. Everyone else in the room was an immigrant from America, England, France, or Russia. A real ingathering of exiles! And we've all survived at least one year of being immigrants!
(Native-Israeli guy from the Shabbaton, the one on whom I'd crushed for several days, showed up later. More about him some other time - but don't hold your breath for any exciting news. The key word there is "Whatever!" with a capital W and me putting my thumbs together to make the W shape.)
At the end of the party, a few other guests, who have been here longer, thanked me for reminding them how exciting and important Aliyah is, since they'd pretty much forgotten.
It made me feel really good that people felt inspired by my party (!) even though I didn't do it for that purpose. It hadn't occured to me. I just wanted a chance to thank all those who helped my first year of "absorption" to be as smooth as it was: Sarah Beth and Ari, RivkA and Moshe, Beth and Simcha, Yael, Chava, Nefesh B'Nefesh, and of course Hashem. Plus I love it when my friends get to meet each other. So, knowing that it also turned out to be inspiring makes me feel really happy, like I gave something back to Israel.
(Also, a few people brought me presents! I love presents! Special mention to Sharonah R., who gave me a cactus plant so that I'll always have a real Sabra in my home.)