Making Aliyah Is Not A Job

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We’re about three minutes away from weekend, but I just want to take this opportunity to vent a little bit. Tablet is running an interesting article about people who have made aliyah, but continue to work 5 days a week in the US. Yes, they weekend in Israel.

On late Saturday nights at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, a handful of regulars on the El Al flight to New York gather and wave to each other in recognition. They make this trans-Atlantic journey every week, returning each Friday morning to be home with their families for Shabbat. They belong to a small but growing subculture of mostly Orthodox American men who have moved with their families to Israel but have kept their jobs in the United States.

This reminds me of a Shabbat meal I had a few months ago where this random guy came with one of my friends. I asked him what he did for a living, and he kind of hemmed and hawed for a while, and eventually said, “Well, I made aliyah a few years ago, but it didn’t work out and I came back. And I’m thinking of giving it another shot.”

I wanted to throw my bowl of soup at him. Buddy, making aliyah is not a JOB. Moving to another country isn’t a VOCATION. If you want to make aliyah, that sounds great, but you really need to have a plan for when you get there. A better plan than, “Be Israeli.”

Listen, everyone. If you want to make aliyah, I say more power to you. I love Israel, I enjoy whatever time I spend there, but in the same way that I wouldn’t move to, say, France if I needed to be at work in midtown Manhattan every weekday morning, you really shouldn’t move to Israel unless you can actually LIVE IN ISRAEL.

I also cannot even remotely imagine how the economics works out, but assuming it does, it’s still a stupid idea. If you care so much about the Jewish state that you want to live there, you should, you know, follow through. And if you can’t make that happen, summering in Israel is not, like, unheard of. Just saying.

Posted on July 9, 2010

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4 thoughts on “Making Aliyah Is Not A Job

  1. Cori

    Hey Tamar- I hear what you’re saying, definitely. Still, I think that for a lot of people, it’s about making an ideological statement. They’re willing to spend 24 hours per week on a plane so that their kids can grow up in the Jewish State. Also, a lot of people come here without a complete plan and their lives sort of evolve – I’m not sure that it’s such a huge travesty. I understand that it sounds strange, but if you’re heart and soul and ideology reside in one place and your profession in another- that might cause you to do some crazy things. Maybe keep more of an open mind…

  2. sarahleah

    BS”D In this world, there is nothing wrong with making your residence and your citizenship, etc where you want to educate your children, and be identified with. It is none of your business where and when these folks work. There are many folks here who work for US companies, and they telecommute. It is the state of the economy, period!

    Personally, I see no paradox in a Jew living in Israel and his parnosso coming from several places. Money is money. But home is different, and education is different. I more resent the folks who stay here full-time and are trying to convert little pockets of Israel into Hebrew-free zones with US materialistic attitudes all over the place – and that’s just in the orthodox sector (of which I’m one).

    You blog? You vented? Fine – but you’re wrong.

  3. Richard ben Serai

    My wife and I made the deliberate decision NOT to make aliyah because we didn’t want to become a burden as we are post-60 and I’m in poor health. Whilst we could exist in Israel on our Australian pensions, just, judging by the Israeli cost-of-living (we visited Israel lasy year and found it as expensive and more than in Oz), our medical and other costs would be a burden on the State of Israel. Instead, we have made aliyah of the heart by giving financial and other support to Israeli charities. This is our mitzvah of aliyah.
    Bless you, Tamar for raising this.

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