Evangelizing aliyah doesn't work...

My sister is back in America (right? Please call or e-mail! :) and we had a great visit. We didn't do anything spectacularly touristy while she was here-- it's nice to have a guest who lived here for 9 months already and got most of that out of the way. It was wonderful just to slip back into being sisters again. We both keep changing, yet the moment we get together we renew our language of shared experiences, sarcastic humor, and bad habits (like trailing off at the end of a sentence and speaking too quickly).

It's hard to move to far away from my family, but being close to my sister has nothing to do with geography. In a weird way, it was almost hard to value our time together because it just felt so normal. I miss her already, though!

Sadly, my attempts to brainwash my sister into making aliyah were largely unsuccessful. I'm not sure why. Certainly, it had nothing to do with the "incentives" my husband and I offered:
  • If she makes aliyah, she can babysit our hypothetical future children ALL the TIME!! (Hmm. Are we self-serving much?)
  • If she makes aliyah, she gets aliyah benefits, so surely she can put off getting a real job after college graduation.
  • If she makes aliyah, she can watch American TV shows WITHOUT ADS!
  • If she makes aliyah, she gets much better-tasting fruit and vegetables. (That one almost convinced her.)
  • If she makes aliyah, she too can buy baggy pants with built-in fake underwear from FOX!
  • If she makes aliyah, we'll let her stay with us for a whole two weeks before we make her move out and find her own place.
  • If she makes aliyah, she can buy cute little cars unavailable in the US, like the Madza 2 (you just thought there was a Mazda 3, didn't you?) and our Hyundai Getz:
(Ok, so that's not OUR Hyundai Getz. Ours is... well...
a lot more dusty and dented. But it's the same idea.)

  • If she makes aliyah, she can get a scooter license! (She took one sample scooter lesson while she was here, so she's already on the way. What? They have scooters in Boston, too?)
  • If she makes aliyah, she can... umm.... wait, it's coming to me...
Seriously, I would love it if someone from my family or my husband's immediate family would make aliyah, and obviously there are better reasons than those. You know-- the whole living-in-the-Jewish-homeland thing. The fact that this is a beautiful nation with warm people, rich history, and almost any experience you want within driving distance. The fact that life here is vibrant and real. And even my selfish reasons for wanting family nearby have nothing to do with free babysitting-- I would love to have sisters and brothers in the area without a time limit, to share holidays and weekends with them and have it all be no big deal.

But this did make me realize that ultimately, you can't evangelize aliyah. You can't entice family and friends to leap into a different culture, different language, different life. Something about desire to make this crazy journey bubbles from within. And my family is there for me-- even if "there" is across an ocean.

Original content: http://howtobeisraeli.blogspot.com


  1. When we were first discussing aliya, we went to an NBN "aliya fair". One of the portions of the evening focuses on a speach by the consul general in Toronto at that time.

    He was talking about reasons to make aliya, and started talking about what makes an "Israeli". That Israel is made up of lots and lots of little tribes, but what is it that brings it all together. "First" he said, "Israeli's are survivors". Yeah, that was not goign to work on a crowd who were mostly of Eastern European decent.

    He went on to discuss "Fusion" as being what makes Israel special. He gave 2 examples- 1) seeing people belly dance to chalutz syle music being played by the Israeli symphony orchestra and 2) sushi felafel.

    My husband and I looked at each other and wondered if we should reconsider. On our list of top 10,000 reasons for making aliya- well, lets just say neither one of those were top selling points!

  2. Sushi falofel-- come to think of it, I've eaten that here! Definitely not at the top of my list either, though. :)


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