Friday, August 17, 2012
“If I’m going to be poor, I might as well be poor in Israel”
Whenever the financial challenges of the American Orthodox Community are discussed, there is always a choir singing, "make aliyah."
Personally, it is a choir that I find frustrating and dismissive. Frustrating because the opportunity to make aliyah is not unknown. It is not a well kept secret. Many larger communities even have regular aliyah workshops hosted by Nefesh B'Nefesh and are hosted by local Orthodox institutions and Federations. If you live in a major Jewish center, you probably even know many families who have made aliyah, are making aliyah, or just landed on the most recent flight. And dismissive because there are few magic bullets, the solution might not be a magic bullet at all, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons to stay in the country of your origin.
Oceans of Joy has a post "If I'm going to be poor, I might as well be poor in Israel" , in honor of her family's one year aliyah anniversary. I believe this post is a fantastic analysis of aliyah as a "fresh start" financially with a plan to be poor. I'm sure most my readers have heard the joke, "How do you make a small fortune in Israel? Arrive with a large fortune." Avivah has noted that many recent olim are coming to Israel with a plan to be poor and to them she offers the advice, "seriously consider staying in the US."
She writes: "If you're struggling in the US, ask yourself why your're struggling. Sometimes a change in location will open up new opportunities and possibilities that will help you shift your financial situation for the better. But more often, the reasons you struggled in the US will come along with you. Making aliyah will not make you or your spouse into a motivated go-getter, provide you with education or work experience in a given field, or give you a good work ethic. It will not improve your marriage or your communication about tough subjects like money, or make it easier to be financially responsible and live within your means. But if you can be honest about what got you to where you were and address these underlying issues that cause the problems for you in the past, there's every reason to think that you can have a more positive experience in Israel."
I don't want to steal the blogger's thunder, so head on over there for the full post and the comments.