Aliyah: An Un-Orthodox Demand?

Is Religious Zionism's emphasis on Aliyah harmful to the U.S. singles community? An intense e-conversation on this charge is underway in the Jewish Orthodox blogosphere.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 15:13

Entitled Is Religious Zionism Destructive For Orthodox Singles?, the discussion was initiated by a man who felt that a prospective soulmate's insistence on Aliyah [immigration to Israel] as a possible option was destructive. "I can't believe," he writes, "you [the woman whose profile on a singles' site included Aliyah as an important condition] would give up on our future, our potentially amazing compatibility, just because of that one line! Just because you have a love for the Holy Land, does it necessitate giving up on a possible soulmate because you are convinced that you must live in Israel?"

The man wrote that though he loves Israel, and feels "the siren song of its holiness, the heavy and intoxicating weight of our history embedded in every square foot of the land," he cannot consider Aliyah: "The notion of moving away from friends and family, our [Torah classes] and rabbis, from our hard fought and well established careers and livelihoods, from our community and [kindness projects] involvements, and most of all not being able to see our darling nephews and nieces grow and blossom, is counterproductive to the kind of lives we seek."

The posting elicited a wave of responses, largely opposed to his view. "Living in Israel is not [merely] a 'spiritual indulgence,'" one wrote. "It is essential to our survival as individuals and as a people... The way I see this, you are taking a long, hard and cold look at a mitzvah [Torah precept] that's unpleasant to you and you are not only declaring that you will not follow it, but you are sniping testily at those around you who strive honestly to do so."

Another person wrote, "I think you're off base. How is this different than any other extremely important goal a person may have in life which they are committed to?"

Shoshana, on the other hand, agreed with the original writer: "I feel that, in relation to dating, it is important to keep an open mind about many things rather than counting potential dates out because of certain aspects or disagreements in viewpoint."

Another reader wrote: "Your whole premise about marriage disregards one main motivating factor of marriage - Children! That beautiful woman wants to have her children grow up in Israel, in the Jewish land, speaking Hebrew, going up to Yerushalayim - living the dream! Teaneck-living is not for her offspring - she wants a FULL Jewish life for them... and she wants a husband who will give her that life... I have seen it over and over again - Olim [new immigrant] couples are beautiful. It's so exciting for singles with a common background and language to meet here in Israel, or to make Aliyah together. It's realizing a dream, overcoming odds, growing together through a joint endeavor... The Aliyah movement is going to get only bigger - this very conversation testifies to that new reality."