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      by Tamar Yonah
      A biting & sometimes humorous analysis of current events, Israeli politics & the Jewish World.
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      Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.

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      Elul 22, 5767, 9/5/2007

      Top 10 Reasons Jews DON'T Make Aliyah

      by Tamar Yonah

      I've heard it all.  Excuses, excuses, excuses. But in fact, it is your, "I'll make aliyah only under MY conditions...  not G-d's." - THAT is what it comes down to.  Every Jew without exception should be yearning to come home.

      Today I went to cover the Nefesh B'nefesh flight that came into Israel's Ben Gurion Airport this morning.  It was carrying  210 new immigrants from the US and Canada. They broke through their fears and material desires to take their place in history and join the millions of Jews already here in our homeland.  They have chosen to BUILD the land and nation of Israel, not stay behind in the dying Exile. 

      Watch this 17 second video below.  Sorry about the quality, it was taken with my cell phone.

      Almost 100 of the 210 new immigrants on the flight today were singles.  I also came when I was single, but I didn't have the Nefesh B'nefesh fan fare, and my aliyah was a lot more difficult.  I'm not complaining though.  Our ancestors had it a lot harder than any of us Jews today.  Swamps, malaria, British rule, Turkish-Ottoman rule, food rationing, third world standard of living.... I can go down memory lane with you if you like, listing all the hardships we have had to suffer in the past, but that's not what I want to write on this blog entry. 

      Today, hundreds of Jews attained their goal of coming home, and planting themselves in the Holy Land of Israel.  I don't say they made a dream come true, because in order to dream, one has to be asleep. I am talking about people who were determined to make aliyah a conscious goal. They yearned for Israel, and they came.  What our brothers and sisters did today was realize the aspirations of our ancestors for the last two thousand years.  They have left the Exile and are now going to start a dynasty of their family right here in our homeland. Their grandchildren will say, "I'm an Israeli today because my grandfather (fill in your name) and my grandmother (fill in your name) left the 'Old Country' and came to Israel.  You will be remembered for generations for changing the destiny of your family line.  Your future seed will now be Israeli because of the goal you set for yourself.  And it is not always easy to make aliyah. Though it is luxurious to live in this Land and have virtually all your neighbors be Jewish, with the country celebrating Jewish holidays and every Friday before the Sabbath the air takes on a  different feeling, you are coming as someone from a different culture, one that is NOT Jewish.  Here, you will learn what it really means to be a Jew.

      I often hear a lot of excuses from our brothers and sisters in the Western Exile how they don't want to come to Israel because of X, Y, or Z.

      Here are just a few of the examples I have been given by Jews who make excuses why they can't or won't make aliyah...

      1)  The government is not to their liking.
      2)  They won't come until there is peace.
      3)  They don't believe they are obligated to live here until the Moshiach comes (I think that Tzvi Fishman has proven that wrong with the Torah sources given on his blog.)
      4)   They won't come unless they know they have a job in their field waiting for them.
      5)   Their kids are too old
      6)   Their kids are too young
      7)   They're waiting until they retire
      8)   They're waiting until they are dead and need to be buried
      9)  Their furniture won't fit in these small apts.  - Honest to goodness, this was an excuse.  One American woman looked at my parent's dining room when they were here touring Jerusalem on a pilot trip and the woman said, "I can't make aliyah, I see that my dining room table would never fit into an Israeli apt. that I can afford".
      10)  I have old sick parents or I am divorced and I can't take my kids with me.

      Of the above 10 reasons why most Jews don't make aliyah today....  only number ten has any merit at all.  I personally sympathize with divorcees that want to be in their children's lives, and cannot do so if they are forced to leave them in the Old Country.  I also understand how someone who feels they cannot come because they are caring for their elderly parent who cannot be moved or travel such a long distance.  However, even these two excuses can be argued.

      The fact is, that most of our Jewish brothers and sisters who don't want to make aliyah is because they are prisoners.
      They are prisoners of their fear and prisoners of the golden cages they have bult for themselves.  They are attached to their materialistic life styles and cannot escape.  They THINK that they are free, but they are slaves.  Slaves to the American dream, wealth, success, materialism, and their THINGS.  Nice house, nice car(s), nice shopping.  They are living in affluence and they can't extricate themselves.

      We KNOW this to be true.  I will prove this to you right now. 

      When one doesn't make aliyah for idealistic reasons, it is for one of two other reasons... 
      1)  Anti-Semitism,
      2)  Their host country's economic situation is very bad, and it is better in Israel.

      When we look and see why we had aliyah from the Soviet Union back in the 1970's, it was because they were living under an anti-Semitic and Communist regime.  A Jew could not practice Judaism there under the anti-Semitic USSR, they couldn't get jobs they deserved because they were Jewish, and so they applied to emigrate and come to Israel (or the USA).
      They are prisoners in their golden cages.


      Today, Jews from France are making aliyah. Many other French Jews are buying homes here in Israel in preparation for a near-future aliyah. They are leaving France to escape their unsympathetic French government in denial about anti-Semitism, and the rising anti-semitic attacks on Jews from France's immigrant Moslem population.  It has convinced Jews that they have no future in France anymore.

      In the early 90's, we had a massive aliyah from Russia after the Soviet Union broke up.  This time it was because the Russian economy was so bad.  Israel offered a much better lifestyle and standard of living, and so they made aliyah.  (And what a blessing that was for us here in Israel.  It is always a blessing for us here in Israel when Jews make aliyah.)

      Later, we had a large aliyah from Argentina.  The Economy in Argentina suffered a crisis of enormous proportions, and thousands of Jews from that country chose to come on aliyah. 

      The largest Jewish population in the Exile is in the USA, but they don't want to come for the ten reasons listed above.  They are too comfortable.  Most Jews in the USA are pretty much removed from Torah.  They are Jews who belong to a Conservative or Reform synagogue and do not know their own mother tongue - Hebrew.  Most have never learned Torah and many want to shrug off the 'burden' of being a Jew. I want to address the religious Jews who should know better, and should want better. 

      Jews are weighted down like a heavy bird in the golden cages of the Exile.

      We KNOW that G-d gave us this land as our homeland.
      We KNOW that the future of the Jewish People is going to be here, in Israel, and not in New York, Monsey, Los Angeles, or London.
      We KNOW that we cannot do all the mitzvoth (commandments) unless we are living in Israel.
      We KNOW that we were punished in the desert because of the spies who rejected the land of Israel.
      We KNOW that G-d wants us to live here and that even today, He is gathering us from the four corners of the earth in line with what our prophets predicted.

      And, we KNOW that if anti-Semitism rose to a level that was uncomfortable and too dangerous for Jews in the USA, they would leave America.
      And we KNOW that if the economy in America would crash, or that things would be very bad, that these same Jews who are crying out the above 'ten excuses not to make aliyah', would all be converging on the aliyah offices in America and trying to get here.
      If you are not yearning for Israel, there is something FUNDAMENTALLY wrong with your Judaism.
      If you are not yearning for Israel, there is something FUNDAMENTALLY wrong with your Judaism.

      So, to my Jewish brothers and sisters in the West who are belly-aching about this reason or that why they can't or won't or don't HAVE to come on aliyah and return home, --some tough love here for yuh....  if things got bad there where you are, you WOULD come.  Because the minute that Israel would offer you better than what you have now, you'd be scratching your heads and saying to your spouses, "maybe we should move to Israel.  I hear they have it easier over there." Jews would be flocking to Israel from the West like all the other mass emigrations and aliyahs in history.  America will be no different. 

      No, you won't have the perfect government.  You will have to come here and build the nation with us and vote in a better government.

      No, you may not come to a country that has 'peace', but America is under threat of massive mega-terror as well.  Better to be in a country where almost all the Jews have a gun, know how to use it, and can defend themselves.

      No, you will most likely not have a guaranteed job waiting for you, calling your name.  You will have to come and interview for jobs just like our own families do here in Israel.

      No, your kids aren't too young or too old. This is our home.  We are your family.  Your kids will adjust. They'll make friends, pick up the language and you'll be asking THEM to help you with your Hebrew.

      Don't wait until retirement or until you are dead.  You needn't die for Israel.  LIVE (here) FOR ISRAEL.

      Let go of the weight that keeps you in the Exile. Get out of your slavery to comfort and materialism.  Open your golden cages that you have imprisoned yourselves in and come home.
      If you consider yourself a Torah believing Jew, then you should AT LEAST be YEARNING to come to Israel.  Maybe you feel you can't because of your fear, or your family obligations for elderly parents or lack of custody for your kids, but a Jew should at LEAST be YEARNING to make aliyah and move to Israel. You should at least be saying, "I'd LOVE to come to Israel, but alas, I cannot, I have to care for my sick, elderly mother who can't be moved".    ...And if you are not yearning for Israel, if you are not dreaming of the day when you can come home, and instead are very happy in the cage you live in, there is something FUNDAMENTALLY wrong with your Judaism.