Monday, May 17, 2010

The Yin and Yang of Making Aliyah

There are two sides to making aliyah and they flip back and forth in my mind constantly.  And, based on a conversation that's going on right now on the Baltimore Chug Aliyah listserv that I moderate, I'm not the only mind occupied with these two sides. 

On the one hand, there's the anticipated glory of Israel.  Living a fuller Jewish life.  Responding to Hashem's call.  Being part of the largest miracle in Jewish history.  Being part of the story.  Crying during HaTikva.  Growing spiritually and connecting to one's soul in a deeper, more meaningful, more lasting way than would ever be possible outside the Land.  Learning more Torah.  Living with emunah, mamash.  All that.

Then there's the anticipated pain of living in Israel.  The language barrier.  Middle-Eastern bureaucracy.  A whole new breed of worries about making a living.  Figuring out how to get proper health care.  Having your kids adjust to school.  Smaller living spaces.   Trying to buy enough of the right consumer goods (Q-Tips, deodorant, sunscreen and the New Balance sneakers I've been wearing for years) to last until a friend or family member can replenish our stock.  Fear of poverty.  Lack of money.  Flimsy plastic cups and poor-quality paper goods.  Getting ripped off by a fill-in-the-blank system you don't understand.  No more WalMart. The raw fear of the unknown.

Did I mention fear of economic insecurity?

This is the yin and yang of making aliyah... and it never stops.

No wonder I'm not sleeping well.

3 comments:

Isobel Phillips said...

I made aliyah alone at the end of 2009. When I left the UK, people said I was "so brave" to do this but I never felt in the least bit brave - or that I was even doing something that needed courage.

Sure, it hasn't been "perfect" all the time. But I found amazing landlords who actually care that I'm ok, friends who are going through the same experiences so we can support each other, friendly taxi drivers, great ulpan teachers and helpful shop assistants.

Step out in faith (and I don't even mean religious faith), expect happiness and it will find you - I promise :)

AZ said...

Oy Rivkah!

Too much money on the brain! Not a good sign! I have long maintained that for the minority of us who actually might consider living here, the vast majority of this minority is overly consumed with money stuff. Sadly, you are an example! Let it go! You'll feel much better.

AZ
Jerusalem

Barbara R. said...

If q-tips, deodorant and sunscreen were not available here, how would Israelis make it?? This is the best place in the world to live, with or without American products!! It seems to me that one learns to adjust or winds up going back to the States. I am not going back. I agree with lots of things you say/write, but this post is, in my opinion, a little off the mark.