Aliyah: A Response Through Strength and Unity

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October 7th, a day of the greatest of tragedies, brought forth the greatest of unity. After months of divisive protests regarding judicial reform, Israelis came together to support a common goal, one that usurps any political motifs: survival. Within an instance, all the division, arguing, and hostility halted. Putting their differences aside, both the political right and the left rallied around the mantra ביחד ננצח and embodied the vitality of helping and providing assistance to others in a time of crisis.

In the days and weeks following Simchat Torah, Israel witnessed some of the most awe-inspiring moments in recent memory. The lines at the Magen David Adom center in Jerusalem for blood donations stretched for hours. Efforts to gather supplies for soldiers and assist evacuated families from the South were packed with volunteers. Around the clock, people prayed, studied Torah, and recited Tehillim, each contributing to Israel’s resilience and its efforts to prevail in the war. The enemy’s goal was to divide, demoralize, and ultimately break us. However, their flaw lay in misunderstanding Am Yisrael. Am Yisrael, despite any theoretically dissonance, is a nation dictated by camaraderie and a deep bond rooted in Jewish history. The trials and tribulations we endure as a nation over time only serve to fortify this kinship.   

Similar to the Independence War, Six-Day War, and Yom Kippur War preceding it, the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas will undoubtedly leave a lasting mark in the history of a nation that has seen more wars than it has experienced decades of existence. After Israel prevailed from its previous wars, the response was one of grieving for those who were lost, and understanding the need to move forward. Following this tragedy, however, every Jew found themselves grappling with the ensuing question: What am I going to do to contribute to the response of Am Yisrael? The uniform reaction of lamenting, demonstrating disdain, and moving on would not suffice. This time demanded a departure from the standard. It became a pressing necessity, not just for me alone, but for the entire Am Yisrael, to refuse complacency amidst an absence of peace. A necessity to ensure that at the end of the day, Am Yisrael doesn’t regress to its pre-war state, but rather emerges as a nation that is more unified and resilient than ever before. Although not beingx in a position to physically fight for the protection and security of the Jewish People, there was one thing I could do: Make Aliyah to Israel and join the unity. 

Growing Up in the Bnei Akiva world, the reality of living in Israel was always a question of “when”, never of “if”. As a chanich [camper] in Moshava IO it was understood from a young age that Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people. Although I knew Aliyah was something I needed to do, the thought of living in Israel was one that floated around in the back of my mind, only generating traction in distinctive moments. Those moments provided clarity into a decision I knew was correct but was always difficult to actualize. 

The aforementioned unity that was displayed, and is still being displayed, during the war was effectively the catalyst to me making Aliyah. In a fight for unity, it was evident that this needed to be my response. A response that could demonstrate strength to others by embracing it באמצע מלחמה, and convey to the world: this is our homeland, where we belong; we refuse to cower in the wake of terror, but instead, we will rise and rebuild.

About the Author
Max Korenman is a student at Machon Lev (Jerusalem College of Technology) studying Business management and data analytics. He made Aliyah in November 2023 from NYC.
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