May 20, 2024
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Can’t Make Aliyah? Here Are Five Things You Can Do

Every Jewish soul has a spark inside that yearns and beckons to return to the Holy Land. Due to a number of different practical considerations, it seems that most Torah observant Jews in America have not seriously considered aliyah as an option for themselves or their families. Among the most common concerns are uncertainty about being able to earn a living, finding appropriate schools for the children, anxiety about leaving family members behind, finding the right community and housing along with the general difficulties of adjusting to a new language and culture.

These are not imaginary barriers. They are real. Every Jew who has ever dreamed, even if only for a fleeting moment, about the possibility of living in Israel has been forced to either confront some of these challenges or walk away from the dream. As a default option, most Torah Jews in America have walked away.

The main reason most have walked away is that good Torah Jews follow their leaders. If Daas Torah are not encouraging aliyah, then what sense would there be in jumping through so many hoops and overcoming so many challenges if it isn’t even a mitzvah or encouraged by one’s rabbis?

This was a question that I asked myself for many years. Eventually I realized aliyah is something that by its very nature cannot be achieved because of someone else’s backing or support. The only way that a Jew can ever make it to Eretz Yisrael is either if it comes out of a deep personal desire from within or from a serious physical threat from without. Jews don’t make aliyah because the Finkelsteins did it or because they were convinced by a rabbi or an entertaining article.

Not everyone has that intense inner desire and not everyone is under intense physical threat. So what can or should a regular Jew in America do under these circumstances?

I asked this question to one of the gedolei hador in America who is not known as a Zionist, to put it lightly. I was surprised when he told me that every Jew should at least put in the effort to try to see if they could make it work in Eretz Yisrael.

How can one try?

Here are five concrete things you can do today to make it happen:

1) Get in touch with someone who has already made aliyah successfully and ask them questions. Take the opportunity to reconnect with an old neighbor, friend or family member and give them a call. Ask them specific questions about the issues that pose the biggest roadblocks for you. If you don’t know anyone who made aliyah, there are organizations out there like Nachliel.org. that can connect you to people

2) Talk about Eretz Yisrael at home. Listen to music from Eretz Yisrael, drink Eretz Yisrael wine, buy Eretz Yisrael products, discuss divrei Torah at the Shabbos table about Eretz Yisrael. Create an atmosphere in the home that is imbued with a love and appreciation for Eretz Yisrael.

3) Do some research within your field of work to see what opportunities you may have to be able to continue doing whatever you’re doing, but remotely. The business world has changed drastically since covid. People are moving further away from the big cities into far-out rural areas and bringing their jobs with them. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities that allow you to extend your job to Israel.

4) Plan to have your next vacation in Israel by saving up for it. Cheap flights come up occasionally, making a vacation to Israel more affordable. Look out for other ways to make your next vacation to Israel. Once you get there, don’t spend all of your time banana boating on the Kinneret. Check out communities. I don’t mean Ramat Eshkol. I mean places where real Americans who made aliyah live. Check out Beit Shemesh, Afula, Ramot, Beitar, Maale Amos, Karmiel, Rechovot. Go to these places for Shabbos and make appointments with realtors to see what apartments are like and how much they cost. Perhaps even check out a couple of schools and tell them you are seriously considering moving, even if you have no intention of moving immediately.

Lay the groundwork for the move even if it’s impossible right now. If you do so, you won’t miss opportunities when they appear.

5) Daven. In the same way that Jews pray for their health, for the success of their children, parnasa, etc., pray for the opportunity to be able to live in Eretz Yisrael. Do it daily. It’s already in the words of almost every tefillah so you shouldn’t have to overexert your imagination.

There are no guarantees of success even if you do all of these five things. But if you do them, you might realize along the way that this is actually what you really wanted all along and who knows, maybe opportunities will come up when you least expect them. Just keep your eyes open.


Avraham Shusteris is an accountant in Ramat Beit Shemesh. He made aliyah from Monsey with his family in 2018. He can be reached at nachliel.org

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