Our Secret of Aliyah Success
Eliezer Liberman’s story By: Gila Arnold
When we told our friends in our Lakewood community that we – I, my wife, and our six children, ages 10 to 1 -were making aliyah, reactions ranged from “Good for you! I’m so jealous!” to the (quite disconcerting) “Why?” (Huh? Why does a Jew want to live in Eretz Yisrael?)
But whatever the emotional response, inevitably, the questions followed.
“But what will you do for parnassah?”
“What about your children’s chinuch?”
“Do you have a support system there?”
“Have you spoken to a Rav about this?”
I understood that the questions were coming out of sincere concern for our welfare – but I suspect they were coming from a different place as well. From a mistaken impression that moving to Israel is so fraught with nearly insurmountable hardship that only a naïve idealist would consider the move.
And so, they felt it their duty to warn me. “But – parnassah! But – chinuch! But – Israelis!”
Typical Lakewood Family
Let me tell you a little about myself. My wife and I, both Philadelphia natives, started off our marriage learning in Eretz Yisrael and then moved to Lakewood, where we lived for ten years before making Aliyah just before last Lag Baomer. We were a typical Lakewood family; we lived in Coventry Square for six years, where I learned in the night kollel and davened by Rav Menachem Mintz, and then moved to Westgate, where I learned in the Westgate night kollel and davened by Rav Yosef Fund. My kids attended Even Yisrael and Nachalas Beis Yaakov.
Here’s something else you should know: My wife and I are very practical people. We do our research. We’re organized. Responsible. We have our heads on our shoulders. We are so practical that, even though we both fell in love with the land while living in Yerushalayim as newlyweds, we sadly determined at the time that we needed to return to the U.S. We didn’t have the financial means to stay. We didn’t have any family support. Practically, we knew it wouldn’t work.
But we never let go of our love for Eretz Yisrael, and our dream to one day make our home there. And so, we waited until we reached a point that making aliyah was not just an opportunity to fulfill a dream and to catapult our family’s ruchniyus level – it was also an eminently practical and sensible decision.
It’s All in the Planning
If you’ve thinking of or have ever considered moving to Eretz Yisrael, here’s something to hang on your fridge:
With proper advance planning, you can significantly reduce nearly all of the risks people associate with aliyah.
I can’t stress this enough, because I think that, unfortunately, this is what’s keeping too many people from making aliyah.
Here’s what the planning looked like in my case: a few years ago, I made a career shift into Network Engineering. Since this type of engineering is more high-tech based, I realized that I could take my profession basically anywhere in the world.
Then, my brother, who had lived near us, announced that he was making aliyah. My wife immediately turned to me and asked, “Why not us?”
We gave ourselves ten months to research properly – to decide where to live, what schools to send our kids to, and put a feeler out for job prospects. A friend in the neighborhood found an apartment for us in Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel. We narrowed down our school options for our children. And the responses from Israel-based companies to my job inquiries were encouraging.
Parnassah, check. Family support, check. Community, check. Schools, check. With all systems in place, we were ready and excited to go!
One Year Later
Baruch Hashem, we’ve been here already over a year, and we love it. I was surprised to see how quickly my children made friends and picked up the language – yes, even during this COVID year, when they barely had school! The chinuch here is excellent, and due to learning the language, the children have advanced in their learning much faster than they did in America. My Hebrew has improved to the point that I’ve even started speaking in Hebrew at my work meetings.
And, of course, the most important thing: we now have the zechus to build our lives in Eretz Yisrael. I’ll never forget our first trip to the Kosel after making aliyah. As we walked through the eerily empty Old City, devoid of tourists because of COVID, we felt ourselves becoming more and more emotional; by the time we reached the Kosel, we had tears in our eyes. We also traveled to Tzfas and the Dead Sea that first week. Everywhere we turned, we saw the breathtaking vistas of our land, to the point that one of my children commented, “In America, we have to go somewhere to find a nice view, but here, wherever
you are, the views are beautiful!”
That’s our story. No incredible miracles, no eye-popping hashgacha pratis incident involved – just the story of a Jewish family making the thought-out, planned-out, well-reasoned decision to move to the land that HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave us, the land that has kedusha emanating from every crack and crevice, imbued in every air molecule you breathe. The story of a Jewish family returning home after thousands of years.
Is there any bigger miracle than that?
This article is part of our Haaretz Hatovah series featuring Yidden living in, settling, and building up Eretz Yisroel. For more information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit naavakodesh.org/haaretz-hatovah
Reprinted with permission from Yated Ne’eman