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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