The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Dov Bear invited me to guest post a couple of weeks ago but I waited until I had something interesting to write that did not involve two wheels. When I tried to post this today it didn't go through. I have apparently been voted off DovBear Island before I even arrived.

Our older son and family will be making aliyah to Jerusalem next week on the last Nefesh B'Nefesh flight of the summer. What strikes me is how rare an event it is for a 20-something family to be taking that step. Whlie Nefesh B' Nefesh has done a wonderful job facilitating North American aliyah, the numbers are, really, dismally low.

Just think about this: Among the 120 or so kids collectively in our older son and daughter-in-law's high school classes, how many have made aliyah? How many are even planning on it? 5? Certainly not more than 10. Why is that?

One might have thought that with our kids going to schools where Zionism supposedly plays such a prominent role, and to shuls where the Tefilah for the Medinah is sacrosanct and the Rabbis' sermons are as likely to be about Israeli politics as Torah, it would make an impression on them? But no. It doesn't seem to be happening.

Indeed, the kids who do make aliyah overwhelmingly get the bug during the year or two they spend in yeshiva or seminary in Israel, certainly not from their environments in galus.

Does anyone else find this strange?



  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger DovBear said…

    You still have posting privlages on DovBear. The glitch is with blogger, I believe. Please try again.

  • At 9:19 PM, Blogger Joe Schick said…

    The numbers are not that low. It's not surprising that most people would be reluctant to move away from their family to a place where they may struggle economically.

  • At 9:51 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    Thanks, DB.

    Joe, I guess it's a matter of perception. I think the numbers are very low given all the supposed emphasis in the schools on the importance of the State of Israel and yishuv Eretz Yisrael.

    I think the real reason is that it's pretty much all talk and kids understand that.

  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger rescue said…

    Look at it this way. OOS grows up hearing he should move to E"Y and it's the best place to be yda yada yada, btu who does he hear this from? From all the people that live here, and do not seem to be so keen on moving there. IFE"Y is so important why is mochassid/Rabbi/teacher/etc. stil living here? How many successful lawyers/doctors/accountants/businessmen actually get up and move? It's easy to preach, but kids generally learn by example. Kids don't learn that it is important to daven with a minyan when they see daddy sleep till 7:30 and rush out to catch the 8:02 train. So to, all the speaches don't do much if there isn't any sincerity felt.

  • At 4:40 AM, Blogger Safranit said…

    Israel is a hard place to live...financially it can be a nightmare even for those of us who aren't materialistic.

    Imagine going from being a two car family with a 3 bedroom apartment/or home to a 2 bedroom apartment and no cars!

    It isn't easy, and with the materialism being the true religion in the US, it isn't suprising at all.

  • At 8:13 AM, Blogger Still Wonderin' said…

    In theory, it must be nice to make aliyah. But hearing the serious complications (parnassah, education, cultural dissonance, religious polarization, et al) of living in Israel, I think that for most people, all the ideology in the world can't trump practical reality.

    And for those who make the decision solely to escape their lives or to save money on yeshiva tuition, I firmly believe nothing good will come of it.

  • At 10:55 AM, Blogger Joe Schick said…

    When Nefesh B'Nefesh brings 2500 people to Israel each year, mostly religious people, the numbers can't be called low. In Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Raanana, and to a lesser extent Modiin, there are growing American communities.

    As more young families are unable to afford tuition and housing, aliyah will become more attractive. I would seriously consider it, but my wife won't for family and professional reasons.

  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    Those numbers include a very wide range of people including a lot of chareidim a lot of older people. The numbers are much better than they used to be but there is SO much room for improvement. I think you are right about tuition though.

    Isn't that ironic?

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