Sunday, May 24, 2009

S A for Olim Hadashim
by: Schvach Yid

I just read a post by Ruti Mizrachi; it can be accessed at:

It’s about the essay she submitted in satisfaction of the requirement for making aliyah via the aegis of Nefesh B’Nefesh. I previously posted about Nefesh B’Nefesh in the past, criticizing their small success in attracting new olim.

This organization requires all applicants to submit an essay explaining their decision to make aliya. Well, suppose I applied for aliyah via Nefesh B’Nefesh, but refused to submit an essay. What then?

Suppose I decided to be compliant and submit one. What would I write in the essay?
I want to live in Israel. Why? Because! Because I’m Jewish. Because being Jewish in Israel is normative. Because in Israel, Jewish holidays/holydays are official National holidays. Because in Israel, as a Jew, I wouldn’t be considered a freak. Because there I could daven anywhere I wished and not be harassed or abused (baloney). Because there kashrut is common and relatively easy to keep. Because in Israel, as a Jew, I wouldn’t be considered a source of antagonism to the non-Jews in my workplace.

Suppose I decided to protest the essay requirement. Easy, do aliyah without Nefesh B’Nefesh. Why an essay; am I a convert? Do I need to appeal to a beit din for permission to live in Israel as a citizen? Am I a child in school? Has it occurred to the people who organize and manage Nefesh B’Nefesh that if they stopped dealing with their applicants as school children they might have better results in attracting new olim? ‘Eeeehhhh…., but we only want young people and families with young children’. I hope that’s not the case. Maybe they want letters of recommendation to boot. ‘Are you, a Jew, good enough to make aliyah? We take only the best, you know’.

On the other hand, the essay may be a requirement imposed by the Israeli government. One can’t ‘run’ the Jewish State stating that the Jewish State will practice exclusion in its
immigration and absorption practices as applied to Jews. That’s a wee bit dumb.

I think I'll stay here.


rutimizrachi said...

Hi, Friend. Thanks for the link. My inclusion of the essay wasn't intended to antagonize. It really was about wanting to see if I still felt the same way about my dreams and goals as I had two years ago. It was nice to see that little had changed -- and that I don't feel that aliyah has failed to fulfill my hopes.

First of all, we are not "young people... with young children." We are exceedingly long in the tooth; and the "children" we brought with us are getting married and having babies or struggling with being teenagers.

I can't get inside the mind or bureaucracy of NBN or the Jewish Agency. In the aliyah process -- which for us was quite lengthy, as it took a long time to "pull the trigger" -- I met a lot of aliyah hopefuls. Some of them were and are amazing people. Some of them were not Jewish. (I met one who was desirous of coming to Israel to convert the Jews.) Some had a grudge and were hoping to to vent it. Some were just scary. My suspicion is that the essay is part of the "weeding out" process that any club is allowed to do. I think I can sympathize with a government trying its best not to bring to its shores as citizens people who, by their own admission, hope to undermine or cannot thrive in its country. I have never been a "wide open boarders" kind of American. I want to know that the people who wish to be citizens of the US really want to add good things to the US, and not just be a threat to her other citizens, or a financial drain on an over-burdened welfare system.

Think of it as a filtering system on a blog comments page, Shtark. You and I can choose not to let every single comment get through -- however well-intended.

Schvach said...

Thanks for your comment Ruti. I have all sorts of difficulties with Israeli bureaucracy (not to mention Israeli society in general). The existence of Israel's Jewish Right of Return, coupled with Israel's unending campaign to convince all Jews to settle in the Jewish homeland, coupled with Judaism's idea of the 'ingathering of the exiles', makes the requirement of an
'admissions essay' seem absurd. Sorry, no offense to you was intended, but in light of Israel's Law of Return, what will Israel do, tell a Jew he/she can't settle in the Jewish State because the Sachnut or NBN doesn't like the applicant's essay? How absurd! Exclusion of prospective Jewish immigrants applied to Israel's Right of Return Law defeats the whole purpose of that law.
Also, where aliya is concerned, teenagers qualify as young people.

Mazel tov you Ruti, your husband and children on your successful Aliyah - I mean it. One year on a kibbutz in Israel, as a non-oleh, drove me nuts - for real. I returned to the States angry and physically violent. As I have written in my post, I think I'll remain here.