Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Are you keeping your options open?



Today marks the one year anniversary of my Aliyah, my move to Israel. On this date exactly one year ago I stepped on a plane at JFK airport. It was an event that would dramatically alter the course my life forever. After many years – yes, years - of research I knew all too well what I was getting myself into. I knew about all the hitches and challenges, about all the drawbacks and snags, and about all the shortcomings and hardships involved in completely changing my life. And I also know they were all more than worth it for so many reasons!

And the one I have always considered to be the single most important reason is actually quite simple. I don’t want to raise a family in Chutz L’aretz (outside our Homeland). For thousands of years we literally had no choice. Now we do. Honestly, there was not a single obstacle preventing me from making Aliyah. Excuses? Oh, there were plenty of excuses! We hear about those everyday. And I’m sure I could have tried to clear my conscience by picking and choosing from any one of those like so many of my friends are doing today.

Now this piece is not about reasons for making Aliyah. Nor it is about obstacles and excuses preventing so many of our fellow Jews from coming Home. Indeed I have already written about all of that many times in the past. Instead I write of a phenomenon I have witnessed before I came, and something still occurring today and more than ever before.

Three years ago I founded a little endeavor called Project SingOlim. Our mission statement declares: “The goal of Project SingOlim is to prove that there is NO NEED to 'compromise' on either Aliyah or on getting married. Whether you have a pioneer spirit or would prefer to share this common goal with someone special, Aliyah can be the most powerful experience in the world!” I found this project to be necessary because all too often I would hear people say things like “well, she’s willing to make Aliyah.” Or “she’d love to live in Israel, but you know, she has to keep her options open.” Aliyah is reduced to a mere preference or worse – a compromise!

Making Aliyah is not like moving from Flatbush to Teaneck. It’s a different country, with a different language and a different culture. It is something that has to be done very carefully to do it right. And it is something that has to be done unconditionally. If you decide Aliyah is for you – and I believe it is right for all Jews - you have to hold your breath and just do it. That does not mean do it blindly. Indeed there is plenty of homework you can do to prepare responsibly and no shortage of people to help you make your Aliyah a success. But you do have to set your mind on the goal.

I know so many people that are still shidduch dating in New York because they feel Aliyah will “hurt their chances.” With that mindset one may never realize the goal of making Aliyah. Besides there is no shortage at all of single olim and not to mention English speaking Israelis to date here in Israel. (And by the way there are also Hebrew speaking Israelis.)

Personally I was a bit surprised because not only have I been getting just as many or more dates than I did in New York but I’m having better dates. I am meeting more and more like minded people that are just as committed to Aliyah and living in Israel as I am, since after all, they also “took the plunge” and did not let any excuses get in their way.

So if you are still hesitating to make Aliyah for some reason or another please ask yourself one simple question.

Are you keeping your options open or are you keeping your dreams closed?

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