Three months ago, I moved to Israel. Since I’ve arrived, all Israelis ask me the same question: Why did you make Aliyah?
Why did I make Aliyah?
Why did I choose to move all the way across the globe to live in Israel? Why did I come from peaceful Canada, a country where others apologize if your foot was stepped on counter to Israel when you have to apologize when stepped on.
As I wait in the Israeli bank queue, while simultaneously being yelled at by the individuals both in front and behind me, I wonder what in the world I am doing here. When the government bureaucracy send me home for the 4th time telling me, I don’t have all my documents or when the bus drivers decides to drop me off in the middle of nowhere in the dead of the night or when I pay $23 dollars for a salad and get insulted for not speaking Hebrew properly, the question bounces back into consciousness with a louder splash.
So why did I make Aliyah? The answer is simple. It’s one I always give:
You do not choose the Aliyah. The Aliyah chooses you.
Ask any Olim that came here for ideological reasons the same question. This is the answer you will get every time. To us, Israel is not a choice. It is a responsibility.
Yes, life is hard here. Yes, you will not live a comfortable North American life. Fashion, luxury, makeup and materialistic goods are no longer something you can afford to have (or at least, not without compromise or sacrifice here and there). You will always be too hot or too cold. Too early or too late. Too tired or too busy.
But we made Aliyah for entirely different reasons. To be a part of a movement so much greater than ourselves. A movement the Jewish people have been fighting for since our birth as a nation. A movement that can’t be stopped or silenced. A movement that, simply put, fights for the Jewish right to live: our right to exist just as any other nation on earth.
We made Aliyah because; soldiers always take your bags down from the bus. We made Aliyah because when you can’t stand up for yourself, someone will. We made Aliyah because if you can’t parallel park, someone will get out of their car and do it for you. We made Aliyah because Israelis will give free meals and places to stay when they know you are alone. We made Aliyah because more than 3 stranger families have offered to be my personal adoptive family in less than a month. We made Aliyah because our teachers call us in the middle of the day to give us dating advice. We made Aliyah because police officers will come up to you if they see you cry. We made Aliyah because despite the trauma and loss of war, Israelis have a love and hunger for life; despite the pain in their eyes of the never-ending conflict, hope and enthusiasm for peace lives on stronger and with more ferocity than ever.
We made Aliyah because it is the final destination.
So yes, I think it’s worth the $23 salad. And it’s a damn good salad.