Thursday, November 24, 2016


When the privacy of my home is invaded by some stranger using the telephone to ask questions for a survey I always refuse to participate. Recently, however, I made an exception, except it wasn’t really an exception because the caller wasn’t a stranger. He was my third grade grandchild.  

“Right, we just finished learning the Torah portion of Lech Lecha?” he opened the conversation.

I agreed and he continued.

“Avram and Sarai were the first to make aliyah and I need to interview someone who made aliyah for my homework. Will you answer my questions?”

“Of course!” This time I was thrilled to be asked.

He went down his list one by one. Some of the answers he already knew but he asked them anyway.

The final question: Was Aliyah hard?

“Yes and no,” I answered truthfully. “Do you want to know why yes and why no.”

“Nah,” he wanted to finish up his homework and go on to better things like his bicycle, basketball, or the computer.

Had he wanted to hear my explanation I would have told him that it was quite an effort to learn a new language and acclimate to a whole set of different norms. On the other hand, though, living in Israel is a commandment from the Torah and from the moment our plane landed here I was full of euphoria, an elation that I feel until this day, thirty years later.

Now in America there are a number of American Jews disgruntled with the results of their country’s elections. Only time will tell if those predicting Trump to be another, G-d forbid, Hitler are whacked out voices of doom or truly seers of the future. I pray it’s the former.

If, again G-d forbid, it’s not then American Jews need to remember we’re not living in the thirties with America’s quota system, Britain’s White Paper, and all sorts of other closed door policies for Jews.  For sixty-eight years Israel has been an independent nation waiting for all the Jews to come home. New immigrants aren’t just tolerated here. They’re welcomed with open arms and all sorts of financial benefits.

Someone needs to take a survey of the Americans who have moved to Israel. I would even agree to participate in that one. And I bet the results would show that the vast majority are happy they came.

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