Monday, March 28, 2016

Is aliyah a bad idea?

Seth Frantzman is a little pessimistic about life in Israel for olim.

Despite having spent around 3 1/2 years in Israel in total, including aliyah, I don't live there now. Still, here are some initial thoughts.

Much of this is technically true. But the racism and intolerance pervades Orthodox life in CHU"L as well. My wife & I chose a particular Orthodox community in the US that is more open and liberal. There are such communities in Israel as well. Ultimately, you live most of your social life in your community, not in the larger society.

I suspect the bigger culture shock for olim is for those coming from non-Orthodox communities. For those happy with the racism, intolerance, and black/white thinking of many Orthodox communities in the US, Israel won't be so different. For those of us on the more liberal side of Orthodoxy, we're used to that nonsense, and we find a sub-community that fits us better. Same in Israel. We're also used to more expensive housing because we want to live in concentrated communities inside an eruv. And for any sort of kosher consumer in the US, we're used to high prices for food.

For example, #7. Yes, cheese might be expensive. But produce is amazing. Worlds better than the tasteless stuff we get here in the US. And cheese might be a little expensive, but the variety and freshness of kosher cheese is leaps and bounds better than kosher cheese in the US (which is also expensive)