I received this anonymous comment on my post Paying the Price about compromising in the material world to receive spiritual benefits of life in Israel. It's such a powerful comment that I wanted to let it stand on its own. Please read it and then I'll say more about it afterwards.
I think I must have been totally naive to come here 5 years ago. I brought my family because of my religious zealotry. We have no family here and no rich relatives in the states to call when we need help. My family has literally starved , begged in the shuk, and we get frequent calls from the bank telling us we need to make more money. I have cleaned houses for the last 3 years. We have not been able to provide properly for our family. And my daughters school has threatened to take us to the bet din because we can't pay her school bill. No, education is not free it's 250 shek a month each kid. When hubby makes 40 shek an hour it's impossible. Gan is higher, Yes I know its cheaper than what we paid in the states but food is at least 2000 a month and rent is around 4000. Not any left over when you make 7000 a month. If you are well off, then come. If not ask yourself some hard questions. We are headed back to the u.s. as soon as we can get the airfare. We love the land but the system is harder than hard. There are no food stamps here no way can you go back to college here. No student loans. My husband made 50,000 in the states. Here, the companies don't pay sometimes for 3 months. Can you afford that? We will never be able to afford a car, much less a home. I have to ask myself do I want to be renting and taking buses in my old age? The NBN money only lasts about a year. Your cashed in 401 k the next year. If Momma's not helping you and you don't speak Ivrit you won't be able to work the system. If you are fired, there is no unemployment for 6 months. Can you survive that long? It's not fun to have your phone and internet cut off, to have to borrow to keep the electricity on. To have the landlord call cause the check bounced. Imagine all of this while the rabbi's tell you to daven harder and have more emuna. We gave one organization 250 a month while living in the states. When we needed money for Pesach that same organization couldn't help us becuse my husband works and isn't in kollel. The peole pushing for Aliyah on their blogs are rich! You have never been poor till you are poor here. Oleh Beware! I used to give Tzedekah now I have to take it. Not for long, Yeah I want to go back, I can help others there I can't even help my kids here. Please people stop criticizing those who can't come. I have no more pride. Hashem has broken me. You can all say I am a loser but my sorry tale is true. I never wanted any handouts, just an opportunity to live in the land. I am not sorry I came. Just regret I stayed too long.Let me start by saying that my deepest reaction is to feel sad that this woman and her family tried so hard and couldn't make it here. I have heard, we have all heard, of families and individuals who have made aliyah more than once because they just weren't successful the first time for whatever reason. It's often financial, but it's sometimes due to family dynamics and the needs of a child or one of the adult partners. It's not at all unheard of.
I have no idea why Hashem helps some people be successful in their aliyah and others have to struggle so. I know lots of American olim and the majority, the vast majority, are reasonably successful, meaning they are able to put food on the table and live a respectable lifestyle, not constantly dashing creditors and begging in the shuk. Sadly, that wasn't this woman's experience. I believe every word she wrote, that it really was that hard and she really is that desperate. I have no idea why Hashem is testing her family in such a dramatic way.
However, I would emphasize that her experience, tragic though it is (and it is), is far from typical. There are people who fail at every human endeavor. Should we not send our children to school because some kids drop out before graduating? Should we not attempt to train for a marathon because some people's marathon hopes are dashed long before the finish line? Should we not reach for a big goal because others have failed to achieve it?
She's bitter. That's utterly understandable. Who could read her pained words and not feel a deep sense of compassion? May Hashem bless this family with adequate parnassa, restore their dignity and help them return to the Land successfully when the time is right.
In the meantime, will I stop advocating aliyah, stop urging Jews to answer Hashem's call, stop making American Jews uncomfortable enough to question their motives for staying in chutz l'aretz at this time in Jewish history, because sometimes it doesn't work out?
Not on your life.