For many families across the United States, the onset of Covid-19 enabled a reset of sorts. As people spent more time at home, surrounded by family or discovered newfound independence, there began a recalibration and sudden internal introspection of what is important to them.
For some, that introspection made the dream of Aliyah seem as it was being pushed further away due to financial setbacks, bureaucratic obstacles and caring for sick family or friends which put their plans on the backburner. But for others – actually, many – Covid-19 opened their eyes to the possibility that, yes, making a life in Israel is far more realistic than they may have initially thought. With remote working becoming the norm, many potential Olim saw an opportunity to make a lateral move that would come with an enhanced quality of life.
Once one realizes that the major obstacles associated with living in Israel are surmountable it allows one to plan more realistically. Many people, for example, focus on the fact that it is expensive to live in Israel. While certain aspects like taxes or owning a car can be higher than overseas, there are many overall benefits that come with the package. Israel’s excellent universal healthcare system is very affordable (and is not contingent on your current employment), quality Jewish education is a fraction of the cost than in North America and for those who can now bring their jobs and their US salary along with them, realize they can make a very comfortable life for themselves in the Jewish State.
Aliyah is a major life decision and the more potential Olim empower themselves by learning and truly understanding what they are getting into, the more they are then able to navigate the system upon arrival. With the onset of Covid-19 Nefesh B’Nefesh pivoted to online programing, which created an endless database of information, with seminars, webinars and online meetings available to anyone at any time.
It is true, that there are some who are eager to return to the life they once knew but for others, they are reevaluating their lifestyle, realizing what truly makes them happy and what kind of life they want to lead.
This change in mindset is why Nefesh B’Nefesh is seeing a significant increase in interest in Aliyah. When we speak of Aliyah, many gush about their love of Israel and their Zionist upbringing. While that’s certainly a real catalyst for one’s Aliyah journey, I believe that, ultimately, people take this big leap of action when it finally makes practical sense.
As we begin to think about a post-Covid world, many have realized the importance of planning, the importance of family and the importance of being where you truly belong. It has created a true sense of the meaning, if not now, when?
Thousands of Olim are scheduled to start their new life in Israel this summer. It is a true blessing where Israel is today, and can continue to welcome home thousands of newcomers looking to fulfill their Zionist dream. There are still challenges along the road, and Aliyah isn’t always easy, but when the time comes, when the person realizes they have reached their “when” they will hopefully see that it was the greatest and most important decision they ever made.