Inside Israel 11:41 AM 4/17/2014
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The Jay Shapiro Hour
Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
This post is inspired by a poll on Arutz 7. The answer I wanted to give isn't one of the choices. I think that most people fear change.
"...most people fear change." And to make aliyah successfully, you have to change more than your address
That's the key, and everything else is just an excuse. The next biggest difficulty is conquering Hebrew, the fear of making mistakes, sounding stupid.
Poll: What's the biggest obstacle to Aliyah?
1. Finding a good job
2. Leaving family behind
3. Security concerns
4. Not knowing Hebrew
With good Hebrew, you can get a good job, not one limited to those for "English speakers." With good Hebrew, you can become part of Israeli society and not restricted to being friends with fellow anglo (English speaking) olim, immigrants.
There is no intellectual linguistic reason to think that learning Hebrew, or any other language, is impossible. Immigrants from all different countries to all different countries manage to learn the new language and function.
And for those Jews who have graduated from a life time of Jewish schooling, it's criminal that they're not totally fluent in Hebrew. Jews were once, until the mid-twentieth century, known as multilingual experts. That's why there were Jews on the ships which sailed to the new land, America. The same students whose parents would tell me that their family is incapable of learning English would later admit that their grandparents were fluent in three or four languages.
What changed was expectations. It used to be that immigrants expected, demanded from themselves a few months to immerse themselves in the new language and culture and then be as fluent as anyone else. Today this is harder. Immigrants come with their old language DVD's, ipods filled with their old music and quickly set up cable or a dish to receive television from the old country.
As I've already written, "...most people fear change." And to make aliyah successfully, you have to change more than your address.