Day turns into night as you are all alone overlooking the Tel Aviv coastline and wonder why you ever made aliyah. Within months your hopes, expectations and dreams have been crushed before your eyes. All those songs you learned in Jewish summer camp seem so empty and pointless. All those stories you heard about the grand and great high tech loving Israeli society seem totally closed to you. Your Hebrew is barely understood. Your accent is a joke. And your naivete is so raw that con artists have ripped you off leaving you distraught and even penniless.
You just stare into the ocean and wonder, “Why did I come to a place where I have to learn to be Israeli?” “How can I leave?” ” How can I quit?” “Or maybe I should just walk right into the ocean and end my torment? No one would know anyhow.”
Until two years ago many olim had experienced similar feelings of utter hopelessness. Many returned home. Many committed suicide. And many became homeless.
But how could this happen in the Jewish State, a state created by olim for olim and about olim? It did not happen overnight. Like any new country immigration into a new culture is one of the most difficult transformations an individual can undertake.
One needs to leave the comforts of home. The bonds of friendship. The certainty of habit. The language of communication.
Suddenly skills never learned, knowledge never known, mental muscles never developed, and loneliness never felt all come into play, like a huge avalanche of challenges that you were never trained to handle or even were made aware of while in your native country. But what gets you even more despondent is that you are Jewish, half Jewish, quarter Jewish, converting to be Jewish, or just want to live in a Jewish society and you feel famililess (without family). You are not only an immigrant but an immigrant that expected the Promised Land and society you had seen in magazines, books and videos, but the Promise seems forever lost to you.
Then one day you log onto Facebook and you come across an olim group, Keep Olim In Israel Movement, and you become overwhelmed. Suddenly you see photos, posts and events that comprise the hearts, minds, souls, hopes, and experiences of 35,000 fellow olim. Suddenly you see that two wonderful guys, Liami Lawrence and Tzvika Graiver joined forces with other olim to create a post-aliya group that within two short years has revolutionized the Jewish State, reclaiming the motto of the early Zionist pioneers and the Palmach Warriors of 1948 – “Here We Don’t Leave a Friend”.
Within only two short years Keep Olim has created 11 task forces manned by olim and sabras, and is developing another 5 task forces. From Free Legal Aid to Keep Olim University to No Oleh Alone for the Holidays to Stand Up for Your Rights to Social Events and Parties to Low-Cost Mental Health programs Keep Olim is infusing the Law of Return with the Spirit of Return.
I highly recommend that every Jewish man, woman and child who truly wants to make Israel the Jewish Home of All Jews Responsible for Each Other -Kal Yisrael Erevim Za LaZa – to become a member of the KeepOlim facebook group and the website, www.keepolim.org and donate funds to maintain and inject this amazing movement of Jewish and Zionist volunteerism with all the financial fuel it needs to become the social powerhouse of love, brother and sisterhood and unity it has the potential to be.
To join or donate please visit www.keepolim.org