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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why Aliyah Is Important For You?

by Michael Berezin

Wherever you might be right now there is one thing that is certain, you are a Jew. You might be a Jew living in New York, you might be a Jew living in London, you might even be an accountant. Its even possible that you might be looking for a whole new way to identify yourself, either way no matter what, you are a Jew first and a Jew last. It is important to clarify that because by speaking of Aliyah and its importance we need to understand what being a Jew and living in Israel has to do with each other. There are many countries and regions in the world filled with all kinds of people. There is but one country promised to one people, explicitly stated by G-d, and that is the land of Israel for the Jewish people...

We just read the Torah portion of Chayeh Sara which starts off with the acquisition of a plot of land. The reason explained for this seemingly unimportant monetary deal to be stated so explicitly is that it was in fact important. Avraham wanted it to be clear that this land purchused in Chevron was in fact acquired fair and square so that there could be no future claims on it. Despite Avraham's best intentions, Hevron is a place that is constantly under siege by an enemy surrounding it.

So what does that mean to you?

It means something incredible! You have an inheritance to claim! So heavy it gets two exclamation points.

Ok great, heard it all before, but I am happy where I am.

How does one argue with happiness?

The answer is that if you really think you are happy it might be that you are. Now imagine being even happier and being on the right side of History. Sure you can wake up in your comfortable suburban town. You might even be making decent money although these days probably not. One thing though is that you are missing out on being a part of connecting the dots to our past, present and promised future. Our destiny was not France as it was not Spain, England, Germany, or do I even dare say the United States Of America. The one thing that all the places where we once flourished have in common was that they either persecuted us or threw us out just when things seemed to be going so well.

History is not linear there are lessons to be learned and miricles to be realized. The modern state of Israel although far from perfect is our destiny. Why because it's about the land. The land that was promissed to our forefathers. there is no other reason to explain how after two thousand years of exile, would we have the wherewithall to vanquish our enemies time and time again when there numbers far outnumber ours as well as their resources.

Does anybody think the Jews of Berlin the most assimilated and progressive Jews of the world could have ever dreamt of a reality where they would be viewed as Jews first and dealt with accordingly?

We are on the cusp of a whole new realty with the threat of Iran and a Muslim population bent on world dominance, where are you gonna put your faith?

Don't wait for the wrong time, sieze the right time and the right time is now. Why? Because you are Jew and Israel is not just your destiny but a part of your identity. Aliyah- Just do it!


[I found the following text when I Googled "Why Aliyah is important for you?" -Yishai]

One of the profile questions on which I found on Pinchas' Blog is: "Below describe in you own words why Aliyah is important to you. If you already made Aliyah also talk about your experience making Aliyah:"

I got a bit carried away and here is my answer....

I came nearly 9 years ago for a Yeshiva "summer program" after my first (and subsequently last) year of college. I loved yeshiva, but I despised Israel, Israeli apartments, Israeli meat (or what tried to pass as such), Israeli attitude, fighting to the death with taxi drivers over 30 cents and most importantly the fact the milk comes in bags.

I anxiously left after around a year and counted down the days until I would go home for Pesach (I guess an "anti-omer" of sorts) and then learn for the next zman in the US.. The moment the plane took off I already regretted my decision, got this gnawing feeling in my kishkes and knew it would not be long before I was back...

6 Months later I was and I have been here since, and don't plan to leave (unless I am expelled from my house in the next few months by the shilton hakofrim/memsheles zadon).

Why Israel? Honestly I ask myself that question every day and have yet to come up with a satisfactory answer. It is certainly not the bad attitude, rudeness, poor hygiene, lack of amenities, high prices, even higher taxes, small cars, bad meat, pitiful salaries, 6 day workweeks, deathly bureaucracy, or the dreaded milk in bags. Certainly not the rashayim in the government and supreme court. Definitely not the threat of being shot or blown up every day for the crime of waking up that morning (or in my case, early afternoon).

I think when it comes down to it, I like the fact that in Israel, being Jewish is normal and the natural thing to do. In Israel you just ARE Jewish, period. The difference between a mildly assimilated American Jew and even the most secular Israeli is astounding. No one (ok fine, no one excluding a statistically insignificant fringe minority) would dream of not getting married under a chuppa, or giving their kids a bris. Almost everyone goes to shul on Yom Kippur, a majority fast, and upwards of 90% leave Egypt each year at a Pesach Seder. Every student (even in the most heretical anti-religious schools) must learn Tanakh and Jewish History. We speak Hebrew, we use Shekalim and everyone kvetches to their heart's content (as if there is such a thing). You have to go out of your way to find treife restaurants (even in Tel Aviv) and there is no city, town or neighborhood without a shul(an orthodox one at that). People stop for hitchhikers, invite perfect strangers to their homes for Shabbos and let their little kids roam around unsupervised in the streets (or send them to the store to buy milk in bags). Maybe it is the fact that I can read about certain events in the Chumash and the Gemara and get in the car and go there. Shabbos Chaaye Sarah in Chevron, Lag B'omer in Meron, Birchas Kohanim in Yerushalayim, and for a change Tu B'shevat actually matters. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I scoff at the walls of the Old City which are a mere 400 years old, on my way to Daven at one which was built over 2000 years ago. I remember as a wee youngin' being impressed when we went to visit a house on Long Island which was a whopping 300 years old, in Israel 300 year old artifacts are worth less than yesterday's election poll results.

In America I was a weirdo, a fanatic, a fossil, a relic from the past hanging on to his culture which became obsolete centuries if not millennia ago. Even in Schnorrer Park and Flatbush you are surrounded by people with customs and culture very different from ours and can't help be inundated and influenced by it. Even the shtarkest of Jews in America has a different attitude and way of life than his cousin in Bnai Brak or Beer Sheva. In the streets of The Old City, Meah Shearim or Hebron I am just another brick in the wall just some Harry trying to get to the mikeveh before it closes. Elsewhere I am a tourist attraction.

But I think what really spoke to me and still impresses me to this day is the level of living l'shaim shamayim and mesirus nefesh which is routinely displayed everywhere you look. Yidden who dedicate their lives to serving the Aibishter, have kids without cheshbon, live on hilltops without water or toilets and spend all day arguing about nuances in 2000 year old religious debates because "it is a mitzvah". The entire value system even when compared to worldwide frum communites is just different. Stores which open "after shachris" and close whenever the falafel runs out because the baal habayis has done his histadlus for the day. Everyone is in debt, live in overdraft but somehow manage to put food on the table and marry off their kids. There is no logical explanation for it and hashgocha pratis literally blows in the wind here. I am not saying that living L'shaim shamayim and mesirus nefesh are impossible to find in America, but in Israel you don't even have to look and certainly doesn't come as a surprise.

Sure we can make a list of all the things wrong with Israel (and Israelis) (take milk in bags for example) and still not be finished before the next appearance of Halley's Comet and there is clearly much room for improvement on many fronts, but when push comes to shove, if you are REALLY interested in "being Jewish" Israel is THE place to do it.

That said, I've been here for almost 10 years and it STILL bothers me to no end that milk comes in bags.....

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  • At 12:36 PM , Blogger Joachim Martillo said...

    In other words ethnic Ashkenazim have the right to steal Palestine from the native population because it makes them feel good.

    I am sure it was wonderful for whites to move to the Old South because they could own blacks and fully express racist supremacy.

    Jewish Shysters Without Borders

  • At 12:51 PM , Blogger Risa said...

    What's wrong with milk in bags?

  • At 1:32 PM , Anonymous Joachim's Boring Triteness without borders said...


    in other words, it was right to steal Shaquille O'Neal's haircut because it makes you feel good.

  • At 2:07 PM , Blogger Pinchas said...

    Please don't feed the troll.



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