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Moving to Israel

Moving to Israel


Dear Rachel,
I met a wonderful man and we are engaged to be married. We are so happy together. The one issue is that we very much want to live in Israel, but my mother is totally against the idea... She feels it isn't safe, is too far, she wont get to know her grandchildren, etc. She's putting a lot of guilt on us. I feel really torn. I want to respect my mother, but I also want to start a new life with my husband. Can you offer any guidance?

Heart Torn in Zion

Dear Heart Torn in Zion,

First of all, Mazal Tov on your engagement! It is wonderful to hear that you are so happy and have found someone to share your life and your dreams with. Marriage is the beginning of a new life; that is what we celebrate, the birth of a husband and wife. And while you are by no means disconnecting from the family life that you previously had, you are literally starting a new life together with your husband.

Your new life will invariably lead you down paths that you may never have considered as a single woman. But, when you commit to a partner, you commit to decision making together. Choosing where to live is a very big decision, and one that belongs to you and your husband alone. While input and different perspectives are important to consider, ultimately, this is about what is best for you and your new little family.

This will not be the only time in your life when you are faced with a making a difficult decision… life is full of them, that is how we grow. But you must understand that for a parent, no matter how Zionistic and supportive they may truly be, the idea of their child leaving to live in another country is nothing short of painful. Although you may see yourself as a grown and independent woman, remember that to your mother you are still her "little girl." So, whatever you and your husband decide, just remember to have some compassion with her. Disagreeing with your mother doesn't have to be an act of defiance, but simply a difference of opinion. You must always honor your parents, there is no question there, but your priority now, in terms of life-decision-making is to your husband.

There is a story told of one of the Chabad Rebbes who needed to travel overseas away from his Chassidim for a time. The Chassidim were heartbroken to be away from their Rebbe. He comforted them with the following thought, "The oceans that lay between us don't separate us; they connect us." I encourage you to share this thought with your mother, perhaps it will be a comfort to her.

In terms of your mother's feelings about the safety of living in Israel, unfortunately, all one has to do is open a newspaper to see that the concept of "safety" is totally relative. Living in Israel is a mitzvah. It is a beautiful and wonderful and holy goal. Our safety is never guaranteed, anywhere, it is all in G‑d's hands. We need to trust that He guides us where we need to be.

And in terms of her very real distress about not seeing her grandchildren, that is painful any way you slice it. But, who knows, maybe your mother would one day consider living in Israel too? Maybe you could be the one to help give her that push? In the meantime, thank G‑d, there are some amazing technological advancements that make it a little easier to be away. Although nothing replaces the feel or the smell of being physically together, a web cam, digital photography and voice over IP lines do make it much easier and cheaper to stay connected.

Wherever you and your husband decide to live, I am confident that you will make a blessed decision together. And please G‑d, your marriage will bring us one step closer to the time of our redemption where there will be no more separation between families – only one big Jewish family, all together in Israel.

Blessings to you,

“Dear Rachel” is a biweekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sarah Zadok.

Sarah Zadok is a childbirth educator, doula and freelance writer. She lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel, with her husband and four children.

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Anonymous houston, tx via October 18, 2012

Try it before you buy it HI.

I made Aliyah after a couple of short visits. I would really advise trying longer visits before moving everything and closing the doors here. Your Shaliach will never tell you everything you need to know about Israel.

It is so unbelievably expensive! If you are going to also work, day care is expensive and so is everything else associated with living.

It is a hard hard life there. People will not treat you well most of the time either. Everyone is pushy and aggressive.

Medical care is Middle Eastern, unlike America where there are so many laws and regulations.

Once you are there, you will have big big bills, and very little comfort. You will also not be able to leave if you are in debt of any kind, even a late electric bill will stop you from being able to leave.

It is a blessed place, but you can be Jewish here too with out losing anything.

Make sure to be realistic and Visit for long periods before deciding!!!!! Reply

Anonymous bet shemesh, israel May 28, 2011

making aliya mom is wrong i had the same problem and it took FIFTY yrs for us to make aliya
the planes fly both ways and we have three of four kids in the states and grndchildren as well
we do have one child here,grandchildren and a gr grnddtr what better nachat could we have? we miss the others terribly, but had we come earlier our whole family would b here
its your life living here is home and wonderful not any more dangerous than the states in many ways safer
go to nefesh b nefesh or ur local shaliach and get started Mazal Tov! Reply

Lauren Tel Aviv, Israel December 17, 2007

Time to fly the nest! I get so annoyed when I hear the argument about how dangerous Israel is. No matter where you live in the US (or Israel) your chances of being killed in a car accident are overwhelmingly higher than your chances of being killed in a terror attack here. In many US cities, you are much more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than being hurt in Israel by a terrorist.
What you need to be realistic about are two things:
1. What do you REALLY want out of life?
2. Can you make the separation from what your parents want?

I made Aliyah 5 years ago with parents who were and are still having a very hard time with it. It is the hardest yet most wonderful thing I have ever done. Israel has so much to offer you, but it is a country that also requires a lot more from you than a place like America and you need to be ready for that. Personally, I would rather take the road less traveled, even if it means not being as comfortable in life. Now that I'm a mom, I am especially glad to be here. You must look in YOUR heart. That's the only way you'll know where you truly belong. What others want - even others who are important and dear to us can't guide us on our journey.
My best wishes!

Lisa Providence, RI August 5, 2007

Moving To Israel Your mother is right to be concerned about your safety - she thinks Israel is "too dangerous" of a place to live, because you and your family could be killed by the dangers Israel faces being surrounded on all sides by enemy territory. If you want to live in Israel, you need to learn how to stay safe - Israeli Style. It's more difficult than in the United States.

Aside from that, your life is your decision, NOT your mother's. Israel is the birthplace of Judaism, and you can lead a completely Jewish life. Israel is also English-Friendly, but Hebrew is the country's official language, and you need to learn to speak the language to survive living there.


Anonymous August 1, 2007

The oceans that lay between us don't separate us; they connect us.

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY July 30, 2007

You have to do what is best for your family- When one becomes engaged to marry the allegiance switches to the new spouse and away from one's parents- it does not mean not to longer honor them, but the marriage is the above all special relationship to be revered and preserved: Genesis of the Torah states this empathically in Rashi. When one's parents controls one or both spouses the marriage is compromised. You must do what is right for you and your groom, not to live your life for your parents. Mazel Tov and may G-d Bless you both and keep you safe to build an everlasting edifice! Reply

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