Hoping to get rich quick? Make aliyah!
There are so many simple ways that making aliyah can make you rich – fast.
- Rich in money. Nope. Just kidding. Despite what you hear about Israel being a “start up nation” (Which is true! It’s awesome…they love high-tech here so much, it’s called “hi-tek” in Hebrew!), it’ll never happen. But read on… (this doesn’t count as one of the 13)
- Rich in new friends. Like ducks, we bonded with the first people who brought us food, on our very first night here, almost a year ago. And they introduced us to a few people, who introduced us to a few people. These friends are an important English-speaking refuge in a very foreign place.
- Rich in local colour. No matter where you end up living, you’ll probably have a shuk nearby, for a true taste of Middle Eastern life. I seriously thought it would be a desert here, all sandy-brown; no colour at all. I was wrong.
- Rich in problem solving. From sourcing familiar items to making do without and figuring out substitutions and workarounds. I’m thinking mainly in the kitchen, but really, this applies to everything.
- Rich in family. True, most of my family isn’t here. I’m very, very sad about that. But being here has underscored how much I love and appreciate them. My brief chance to go back to Toronto and see them last month… some of the most delicious times I have ever savoured with my family. And when they do come to visit, I look forward to having one-on-one time with each one that we would never have had back in Toronto.
- Rich in Hebrew vocabulary. Like “biyuv” – the Hebrew word for sewage. I might never have picked that one up if we’d stayed in Canada reading the Tanach.
- Rich in history. Yeah, there’s a million websites about this, not to mention books. History isn’t so much my thing, but when I read with my kids in our history book (Story of the World, Volume 2, by Susan Wise Bauer) about how Justinian conquered the entire Mediterranean region, it’s cool when my daughter asks, “Did he come here, to Kiryat Shmuel?” (Should have told her he stopped to eat Mama Schnitzel before moving on to conquer Algeria.)
- Rich in enemies. In case you feel like there aren’t enough antisemites around you in North America or wherever you’re currently living. Every country around here wants to wipe us out. Suddenly, living here, staking our claim to this land feels like both a blessed privilege and a very real physical obligation.
- Rich in purpose. To quote Jamie Geller, “a life that actually moves in a consistent direction.” For years, I felt like I was shoving against the grain of society. That proverbial square peg, round hole? That was me. Now, I usually feel like I’m swimming with society, instead of against it. (Note: this doesn’t mean we all agree. God forbid.)
- Rich in kosher food. Choices, choices. In Tel Aviv, I stood on a street corner complaining to my sister that “there’s no kosher food here.” She pointed out 3 kosher falafel places within spitting distance. And I was like, “well, I didn’t mean falafel.” Yeah, we get spoiled here.
- Rich in patriotism. Israeli patriotism, sure. But I have also become a prouder, stronger Canadian since moving here. It doesn’t hurt that the Canadian government has been the only one speaking out unequivocally in support of Israel. Canada, I love you more than ever.
- Rich in chummus. Here’s my post about the Israeli national dish. Read it; I’ve said enough already.
- Rich in companionship. It’s very hard to feel lonely here. People chatter at you wherever you go – from offhanded comments to in-depth questions about the political situation. They may even yell at you. I didn’t say it was always pleasant; I just said you wouldn’t feel lonely.
- Rich in Jewish possibilities. Best for last. If there’s something Jewish you’ve wanted to try – this is the place. Mikveh? Tefillin? Wearing a kippah? Mitzvos don’t have to be an all-or-nothing package deal around here. Do you feel squelched by mitzvah observance where you’re living now? Squashed into some kind of badly-fitting Ortho-box – or flailing for direction in its Reform or Conservative counterpart counterpart? Come on over. There are more kinds of Jews here than anywhere else in the world… and more Jews who will love and accept you, however you define your personal relationship with God.
They say if you it’s easy to end up a millionaire in Israel: come with two million. But I like to believe all these other forms of wealth add up to a whole lot more.
Sadly, our bank manager doesn’t agree… but then, see #9. It wouldn’t be Israel if we all agreed.
Possibly-helpful blog posts about the financial and lighter sides of aliyah:
- One year since aliyah, from Jamie Geller
- Paying the Price, from Bat Aliyah
- Top Ten Reasons People DON’T Make Aliyah, from Tamar Yonah
- Fifty reasons to make aliyah, from Tzvi Fishman
- Why make aliyah, from Aish.com
Has Israel made you rich? I’d love to hear about it!
Tzivia / צִיבְיָה