Aliyah? So tell me why then...
Updated: Dec 31, 2018
Here's what it says at the top of my 'Reasons to make Aliyah' list:
For real. I actually wrote myself a list of reasons why we should make Aliyah - because sometimes I think it's something we absolutely need to do - and then......
All of the reasons why we shouldn't make Aliyah start nagging at me.
"Seriously - you're going to move half way around the world? Who does that?"
"But you dont even speak the language! What are you thinking!?"
"But what about your family?"
"Can you imagine the kind of high stress job you have...in another language and in another culture?! Talk about triple stress!"
"You wont have access to all of the things you do here...no Walmart. You hate Walmart, but its convenient. And then the toys..where are you going to get toys for your children?" (That was actually one of concerns I had. I'm serious. Ask M)
"It will look and feel different. It's a different culture."
"You wont know anyone there."
So this is why I needed the list. Making Aliyah seems like a brilliant idea one day, and then Mr. Worry comes along and ruins the whole thing. What a jerk.
I think for the vast majority of people, the thought of making Aliyah is pretty scary. For those that have family there, and/or already speak the language, it's probably not as much of a big deal. For a convert?
I would suggest that for most people thinking of making Aliyah - making a list of the reasons why you wanted to make Aliyah in the first place is a good idea. It can help in those moments when you can't recall why you made this decision in the first place, because let's face it - this is a major life change we're talking about here, and there will be good days and bad days.
I pretty much copy and pasted the below with a few modifications.
Purpose: To create a list of reasons for making Aliyah for later reference
Religious reasons to move to Israel
It is a mitzvah to even walk in the land of Israel
Religious communities in North America are declining/degrading in observance
Intermarriage is increasing
Apathy is increasing
Assimilation is becoming harder to fight against, as the vast majority of Jews are integrating into society
We're constantly fighting against the tide here in North America - non-Jewish ideals are pervasive and finding a way into our home through care takers and others (and even religious schools)
Financial reasons to move to Israel
Cost of Jewish Education Presently calculated to be approximately $1 million dollars over 16 years for 4 children. At the peak we would pay approximately $80k/year which would financially crush us
Taxes are increasing & will need to go up as baby boomers retire and take more out of the healthcare system and other services. Debt servicing levels are going to increase with interest rates - and Canada is saddled in huge amounts of debt at both the Federal, Provincial and personal levels
Cost of housing. Average house cost is around $1 million to live in a Jewish area. We have a limited choice of where we can live in Canada due to needing to be close to an Orthodox community and the services provided
Cost of living is increasingly rapidly. Cost of fuel is up (more expensive than Israel - but may decline a bit), cost of electricity is very high, cost of groceries is increasing, interest rates are climbing, just about every expense is significantly on the rise
A possible lower cost of living in Israel (assumed due to the change in cost of education, and lowered housing costs due to living in a remote community) would reduce the amount that we need to earn
Other reasons to move to Israel
For the love of the land. It is a beautiful land
Access to healthcare - Canadian Healthcare is declining and likely to get worse with the increased debt load in the country and aging baby boomers who pay the majority of the taxes, who will also be retiring soon/unable to work. As they age they will also drain more from the health care system
Jewish education in Canada appears problematic. Choice of religious schools seems to be limited - some don't meet the requirements of the secular system, which limits options, and most other 'Orthodox' schools are becoming less religious
Work/Jobs Availability - in 2018 wages are declining, and the number of 'good jobs' is decreasing. More import of cheap labor is happening in tech sectors, which will depress wages further
Antisemitism is on the rise. Not only in Canada, but also in the United States. I don't even know what to say about the UK - because that could go into a very bad direction if the Labour party wins the election (which is likely). Germany also has had a significant increase in Antisemitism. It's everywhere
My wife and I were speaking with another Jewish mother who happened to be a professional. While she is not planning to make Aliyah - she asked a question that resonated with me.
"What am I leaving my children here in Canada? It doesn't seem like there is much left."
We agree. We feel like Canada, and North America in general is teetering on the edge of significant change that we don't want to be around for.
My wife recently spoke with a relative of hers who also has 3 little ones. She asked her what her plan was, or what they were going to do about the increased costs of living, the cost of Hebrew school etc - and she responded that they didn't have a plan. She didn't know what they were going to do. She knew it was a problem, but for now, they were going to take on more debt and hope it gets better.
And that's where I think a lot of Jews are at, even the observant ones. Hope.It.Gets.Better.
The reasoning I think is something along the following lines:
"There have been problems before, and it turned out ok."
Except, let's be honest; It hasn't been like this before. It's time to start to think differently. It's time to end galut.