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Aliyah: Personal Takes

By:
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Dear Rachel,

Several columns ago you ran a letter from a woman calling herself Tzittering and Tzutumult on account of her husband insisting they make aliyah. Aside from the big leap and all that such a move entails, this woman dreaded leaving close family and friends behind.

Unfortunately, I am in a position to empathize with this lady. All of our family – except for one daughter – live here. We are heartbroken over the situation that has her living so far away from us, and not by her choice.

When her shidduch was being redt and we were told that the boy had a desire to live in Eretz Yisrael, we immediately informed the shadchan that our daughter was not interested in moving there and the shidduch was therefore not suitable for us.

Some weeks later the shadchan called to tell us that the boy conceded he could learn here just as well as he could learn there, and the shidduch was reactivated. Fast forward, our daughter and this young man got engaged and were married, and all was well until a few months into the marriage, when our son-in-law announced out of the blue that they would be moving to Israel.

My husband and I were aghast. We knew that this was not our daughter’s wish and, moreover, her husband was going back on his word. When they left for Israel I told myself that they would most likely be returning after a couple of years, as many young couples do after the men have learned there for a while. Our mechutanim, however, ensured that this wouldn’t be happening – when they purchased a home for their son and his young family in Israel.

Our daughter is the soft-spoken and submissive type; she defers to her husband’s wishes regardless of her own feelings. She has many times confided to us that she is lonely and homesick for her family but is helpless to do anything about it. This fiasco has furthermore splintered our family, since my husband is so hurt by his son-in-law’s backstabbing that he refuses to talk to him.

We’ve been had

Dear Rachel,

Several years ago, when we were a young couple with one baby, we decided to fulfill our dream of settling in the Holy Land. While our parents shed copious tears over our moving so far away, we were very excited about the prospect of making aliyah. Little did we dream of the headaches we would encounter, particularly in the area of government bureaucracy. (You’d think they would make it easy on new olim, but from what we hear, things haven’t changed much in all these years.)

In any case, after many hassles following our arrival in Eretz Yisrael we finally purchased a decent apartment there and settled in. My husband eventually landed a job in his field, but just when we thought things were going our way he was suddenly laid off. The reason? He wouldn’t work the Shabbos shift! We were left devastated and broke. Jobs weren’t easy to come by and life was hard. We began to feel that maybe we took on more than we could handle.

When my youngest sister was about to be married, my father financed our trip back to New York for the wedding. We packed our bags, made use of the one-way ticket and decided we wouldn’t spring for a return ticket back to Israel. Turned out to be the best thing we could have done since my father-in-law took ill a couple of years later and passed away at a relatively young age. My husband would have never forgiven himself had he not been here to spend those precious few remaining years with his father.

You were right in pointing out that there are relevant issues to take into consideration when contemplating aliyah, not least among them parnassah. I also firmly believe that Hashem doesn’t have the same plans for all of us and there is definitely a reason for our being in golus. By the way, we have close friends in Israel as well as in the States and no one offers up criticisms for our personal choices.

We still dream of one day retiring to the Holy Land. Hopefully things will be easier without our having to worry about supporting a growing family.

Relieved at having returned

Dear Readers,

Thank you for sharing your personal experiences, which clearly demonstrate Yad Hashem. The shidduch that was meant to be could not be circumvented, and it was obviously bashert for a son to be actively involved in his father’s remaining years on this earth. (In no way does any of this exonerate the son-in-law’s deceitfulness or pardon the Israeli employer’s total disregard for the sanctity of Shabbos.)

I must add that your poignant messages and lucid articulation stand in stark contrast to the tone of a smattering of emails received by this column.

One foaming-at-the-mouth critic accuses this columnist of unleashing a “sycophanting [sic] attack on Israel,” while another reader denounces my “anti Israel tirade” and charges me with “drinking the poisonous Kool-Aid of the Lakewood/Satmar medina bashers.”

Yet another livid reader takes me to task for “encouraging Yidden to stay away from Eretz Hakdosha” and fumes that “it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to give your point of view any legitimization.”

In case my memory was chas v’sholom failing me, I re-read the column to see how my “point of view” could have triggered such vitriol. I even ran it by some neutral-minded acquaintances who hadn’t yet seen it, for their honest and objective opinion. To my relief, they too were mystified by the extreme reaction to a rather non-judgmental, analytical response that merely presented the wide-ranging views of scores of Jews across the globe.

In all sincerity, and in the spirit of ve’ahavta lere’acha kamocha (love your friend as yourself), I harbor no grudge against the readers behind the scathing remarks and unmerited censure. Essentially, we all share the same desire – and ahavas Yisroel is, after all, a vital component in realizing our dream of having the Beis HaMikdash rebuilt in our day.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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