Thursday, May 17, 2012

Aliyah, Moving to Israel, Unusual or Normal/Logical/Common for Jews?

Great Neck North
Recently, I found myself emailing with a couple of members of my high school graduating class who probably never once spoke to me when we were students together.  Email and many decades are the great equalizer. 

They're trying to organize a big reunion in their part of the world, about half a world's distance from where I am in Israel.  I had replied to their query/announcement saying I'd love to meet anyone from our class who comes to Israel, but I can't make the reunion.  There were a few hundred Jews in our graduating class, but I'm the only one here in Israel.  One of them wrote that she considered my being here the most "unusual" of all the stories she knows.  I find that strange.

I live in a world full of Jews who have made aliyah from all corners of the world, all different backgrounds.  I talk aliyah  with people contemplating it.  Just last night I got a call from a total stranger.  Her aunt is a friend who gave her my number so I could tell her about Shiloh.

From our perspective here in Shiloh, it seems like a great tsunami of olim  is in the future.  Read about it in the new site Aliyah Magazine.

Many of my favorite jblogs are by olim and those planning aliyah.  If it weren't for my many relatives who, not only don't have aliyah on their minds but have never even been to Israel, I'd think that all Jews have at least toyed with the idea.  My perspective, like that of my former classmates, is very inaccurate.  We're both wrong.

Here in Shiloh, where we have such a broad representation of international Jewry it seems that no Jew in the world is immune from the "aliyah bug." 

When my husband and I first made aliyah in 1970, the only people our parents knew who had children in Israel were each other, but within a short time, they found themselves part of a growing group of middle-aged American Jews with children and grandchildren in Israel.  They were active in the PNAI-Parents of North Americans in Israel, going to meetings not only in New York but when they were visiting my sister in Arizona.  The meetings were both like a "support group" and also like a "badge of honor." 

But there are Jewish families that although dispersed all over the world, don't have any representatives in the Jewish Holy Land.  I wasn't raised with any awareness of Zionism, but I'm here in Israel.  So, who knows where those families will be found in another generation...


Anonymous said...

yeah, i find myself in a similar position. from where i sit in jlem it seems like everyone is making aliyah. and then when i am stateside it seems as if im the only crazy one.

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

Sometimes I'm pulled up short. I am consciously surrounded by people for whom Israel is, if not an immediate reality, a central spot where Jews ought to find themselves. So when I was out of town a couple of weeks ago, I got a shock when folks actually shuddered when I talked about making aliyah. Someone actually said, "why would you want to do THAT?" I try to surround myself with people and messages that are positive. Phil Chernofsky has been an incredible influence and any religious Jew who is not convinced should be strapped down and made to listen to Torah Tidbits audio until the message sinks in. :-)))

Batya said...

a, I guess we're a very schizo people
Jennifer, Phil's lead article in the Yom Ha'atzma'ut TT was fantastic. I'm glad that (my NCSY) Rabbi Wasserman countered Rabbi Lef's complaint about it.

Moriah said...

Four Jews from our small Orthodox community went to Israel.. and Europe. When they came back they griped about Israel being dirty and cheating cab drivers. They aren't connected to Israel. They almost hired a leftist " Orthodox" rabbi who accused a rabbi in Israel who advised Jews not to rent or sell to Arabs "racist" They don't want to go there anymore than they want to go to Mars. So I don't even talk about how much I want to make aliyah

Batya said...

Moriah, I think that seeing the good here in Israel sometimes is like being able to remember that the sun is still out and shining even when it's raining.

Most Israelis live pretty well; some are richer and some pretty poor. The trick is learn the system. The Russian immigrants are brilliant at it and we anglos are the worst

You must be realistic and stick to a budget. There are tricks. You shouldn't live and think like an American. Remember that the American economy is sinking, so I wouldn't consider the American way so smart.