Yshai Amichai
Yshai AmichaiCourtesy

There are many reasons not to make Aliyah, especially for American Jews. Even for those Americans and Westerners who have finally taken the big step and moved to Israel, those reasons have brought many of them to retrace their steps back to the comforts of their self-imposed exile. Which is precisely the reason why these poor souls should make Aliyah, because exile is a choice they sadly make every day.

For thousands of years, exile has not been a choice for Jews, but an unbearable punishment. We cried our hearts out and prayed to God to be allowed to return to the Holy Land. And here we are today when the Holy Land is just a plane ticket away, a golden ticket that could be paid for by the Israeli government, but a momentous opportunity forsaken by many perfectly worthy Jews.

Are American Jews less worthy than their Russian, European, or Middle Eastern brothers who moved to Israel in their masses? Most of those Jews made Aliyah when Israel was a struggling and poor country. Today it is a successful and wealthy nation. The difference is that those Jews fled from death and persecution. American Jews have been shielded from such dire straits.

American Jews are not less worthy, they are merely more privileged and have not been forced to make such tough decisions, such as leaving behind their homes and their hometowns to face an uncertain future in a faraway land. They have nothing to run from in America and nothing better to run to in Israel, or so they think, but they are wrong.

America is a dead end for Jews. A place where they may live and die, but where they have no future to fulfill their national dreams and aspirations. They can live the American dream, with all the prestige and material comfort that they seek, but they will live and die in exile. They will live and die removed from God and Israel.

You might argue, justifiably, that America is no more removed from God than Israel, and that God surely Blesses America as America blesses Israel, so it’s all part of the same family of interests, but there is one fatal flaw in that argument: Serving America is not the same as serving God. Jews who remain in America are perpetuating a self-exile from God and from their very purpose in life as Jews. The Jews were always meant to serve God in Israel, and America is merely a comfortable distraction for them.

You might argue, justifiably, that Israel has many faults which need to be addressed, and I would be your willing advocate, except that I would place the blame at your feet. If your head is sound and your heart is wholesome, there is something inherently wrong with your feet that they refuse to move. Come to Israel and make it the country it was meant to be.

America is not the homeland of the Jews. You are merely honored guests there that have possibly overstayed their welcome. Americans and other friends of Israel have been instrumental in helping us to fulfil our national aspirations. We were homeless and they felt bad for us, helping us restore our national homeland. Why are you still living in their homes now?

May Jews always remain close friends of God-fearing Americans and welcome guests in America. By all means, visit America often and invest there, but plant your seeds in Israel. The future of all Jews is and will always be in Israel. Don’t cut yourself off from that future, embrace it! Come to Israel and hasten its redemption: Your redemption and the redemption of your children and your grandchildren!

Yshai Amichai made Aliyah from Los Angeles in 2001, settling in Israel, where he met his wife and where they raise their six children. He may be contacted at: [email protected]