Lizrael Update… and then some.

Life resumed today, like a slap in the face. Actually, that’s harsh; it wasn’t a slap in the face, but more like a friendly pat on the cheek. I have it so good here: Solid, likable job. Affordable, yet comfy, apartment. Married to an Australian… Oh, I’m not supposed to focus on the Australia bit before I’m even over jet lag, right?

It’s just that, lately, I’ve been wondering what I could be doing ‘out there’. Because Australia isn’t a place where I grew up, it was totally new and it got me thinking about how big the world is and how short life is. How much I could be doing and how I’m supposed to prioritize.

Both of us came back to work saying how much we enjoyed Australia, and all of a sudden people on both ends made yerida jokes, only, they may not have been jokes; I couldn’t really tell. Why can’t you love a place besides Israel? Or as much as Israel? Or maybe even more?

At a barbecue yesterday, someone asked how Australia was. I said it was amazing. He said: “But not as amazing as Israel right? Sure, it’s pretty, but it’s not as great Israel?” And I said, “Actually, Israel is a pretty fucked-up place. It can be great, but it needs work.” I wasn’t going to push it after he gave me a bit of a disgusted look.

I guess I’m a bit frustrated and a little claustrophobic. It was comfortable to flirt with a different setting for a month. Harmless flirting, right? Australia was so big and vast and utopian. What’s wrong with falling in love with that?






  1. Marni Avatar

    It’s interesting to hear you describe it that way. I don’t think anyone- Sabra, Australian, or Oleh- has the right to judge you for where you feel you are the most comfortable.

    Maybe one’s love for Israel is sort of like the love for a spouse. You are sort of blind to their faults in the beginning because you are so in love with who you think that person is. Then the love becomes more real and comfortable once you get to really know them; you see their faults, but you choose to continue the journey with that person regardless. And after years with them, you still love them, but you don’t have the same rose-colored glasses you once had.

    So now you have a choice. You can continue on with your partner through all the faults, flaws and obstacles, or you can move on in search of someone that you think can bring you more happiness. Not that I am advocating leaving one’s spouse for a lover, but obviously it happens, and it has been known to work out.

    Everyone who makes aliyah has a different set of priorities. I know people who move there and are very educated only to settle for a semi-professional job and sort of put their careers on the backburner for the sake of what they find to be a “more spiritually fufilling life.” I am not religiously observant, but I am definitely a Zionist. However, I know that my aliyah will be harder than that of a religiously observant person because I do want a career. I am not a corporate slave, but I really don’t see myself working at a makolet the rest of my life because doing it in Israel is more rewarding.

    Only you can know what’s right for you. At least you have a partner who, as a fellow oleh, seems in many ways to understand the harsh reality of making aliyah. Although the ability to pick up and move more easily than a sabra can might make the choice to remain in Israel all the more difficult.

    I love the idea of really living in Israel and eventually raising a family there. I just don’t want to have to remind myself that I am “doing this for my grandkids” every time someone cuts me in line at the bank, or rips me off at the grocery store because I am a “rich American.”

    Best of luck!

  2. Avraham Avatar

    Marni gave a very good metaphor.

    But just like not everyone is looking for the same things in a marriage, not everyone is looking for the same things in Israel.

    If one is looking for self-indulgence, pleasure or an easy life in a marriage, if he finds a partner that can fulfill it better, he will sure do it. But if one is looking giving himself to the spouse, making a difference in ones life or raising educated children, he will live with the spouse’s faults, or even learn to love it too…

    The same thing goes for living in Israel, I’m sure that some places can give more financial security, more career opportunities, etc… It even can give better education for the children including better Jewish education in some cases. It can even proportionate more time for the parents to be with their children (working 40 hrs/week instead of the Israeli 45). But if you are in Israel, for instance, because you believe Jews should have their own place on Earth so you won’t exchange your 3 bedroom apartment in an old building in Jerusalem for a penthouse with a view of Manhattan….

Whadya got: