As a relatively new immigrant to Israel myself, and as a psychologist working with families of immigrants, I am often asked about the risks involved in making Aliyah, especially with children, and what can be done to maximize immigration success. Many people have ideas about this question, usually driven by their own experience. However, very little scientific data is available that can help us truly understand what makes for better adjustment after Aliyah.
In order to fill this gap, we recently launched The Center for Research on Aliyah (CRA), a research center housed in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Ariel University in Israel. The center is designed to study the variables that contribute to successful and adaptive immigration to Israel particularly for North American families.
One of the center’s most recent projects is the Aliyah Risk Calculator intended to measure individual and family risks and resources relating to moving to Israel. Like all major transitions, immigration to Israel entails challenges for a family. Based on the center’s research, specific pre-Aliyah features were identified that make it more likely that families will adjust well after Aliyah.
The calculator uses scientific measures to assess various pre-Aliyah aspects of a family’s circumstances including questions about social, financial, family, educational and individual life factors that have been shown to impact Aliyah success. The calculator assesses both risks and resources.
Once complete, the calculator produces a final score which combines both resources and risks with higher scores indicating that the individual is at an elevated risk of experiencing difficulties after moving to Israel. The score also places an individual in one of three categories of risk. For each risk zone the calculator provides a description of the individual’s risk circumstance and offers specific recommendations to address the risks and enhance the resources in order to maximize Aliyah success. The calculator can be found at www.aliyahresearch.com
The final score and interpretation should assist potential immigrants to Israel in making an informed decision about Aliyah and will help in developing a clear plan of action when moving to Israel.