Keith Brooks
International Business Executive Living and Working in Israel

Making Aliyah? Think About These Excuses

We moved to Israel six months ago today. It is the best thing we have done in years. We broke all the rules, advice, desires and plans everyone holds so dear that keeps them from coming on Aliyah.

Before you call me a rose tinted, aliyah bigot, think about this:

We pay more tuition money, now, than we have in the previous 2 years in the US. For our oldest, the younger two are in a public religious school. (We home schooled our kids two years ago and last year they were in a Hebrew language public charter school.

We came during a difficult time of rockets raining down all over the country.

This is a Shmita year that started on Rosh Hashana.

Who needs 8 days of chag? Evidently we did, for one more year. Even Pesach is 8 days this year, well 7 plus shabbat.

Our house in a “everyone wants to live there” part of the world, did not get sold until the first week of January.

I lost my job a few weeks before we moved. I also lost most of my side project work before we moved.

We brought our dog. She’s fine, she’s in dog ulpan run by the local cats.

Various family members that were in the US ended up in the hospital after we left, but thankfully everyone came out well in the end.

Our lift filled with whatever it was we thought we needed from the US, arrived after the kids started school and 2 days before Rosh Hashana. Planning is everything, but Hashem just laughs at us.

We moved to an apartment sight unseen, to a town, Rehovot, we had only ever spent a shabbat, and a few hours looking around. I have spent more time on job interviews.

Since technically I was the only one making Aliyah, all the headaches were mine and somehow the hardest part wasn’t here, but back in the US. And all BEFORE we left.

Our 12 year old 7th grader turned out to be the easier one in the transition. Contrary to what everyone, including ourselves, thought or expected.

The 5th grader turned 11 a few months after we arrived, he found kids to play ball with the first days we were in Rehovot and off he went.

The 2nd grader, all 7 years old of her, turned out to be coming the wrong year. Last year would have been a better time. Look, you have more than one kid, you take what you can get, two out of three isn’t bad.

Did I mention we moved in the summer? A time that was very hot and humid because when you move from Florida where everything is air conditioned, this turns out to be unexpected. But better than really cold icy and wet weather. Oh wait, that came along in winter. What is this winter thing anyway, it only lasts 2 weeks in Florida.

We came, during a war, we had no job, little money, in a Shmita filled 8 day chag of a year that also saw extreme temperatures on both ends of the scale with 3 kids a dog and a house still unsold back in the US.

Six months is not a long time in which to base the future but given we started at point zero, we figure it can only get better from here on.

Since making Aliyah we have found many new friends and many, many more old friends we had lost touch and found living here. Our kids started speaking more Hebrew, and understanding even more than I do already. The dog is in heaven with all the cats to chase.

Does it cost more to live here? Debatable. Our living expenses are one third to one half what they were in the US. We pay practically nothing for health insurance. Our annual auto insurance is the equivalent of what six months was costing us in Florida. Our car is half of what we paid in the US for a similar used car(price not size) per month. Our cell phone bill, for 4 of us, is not even 25% of what we paid per month for two of us.

I know making Aliyah is not for everyone. For those of us that do make Aliyah, it is like being in a cult.

We know the rest of you look at us and think we are crazy. But really, we just have that same gene you do.

Which gene is that? The one that says you love living in New York or London or Baltimore or Atlanta or Paris or Antwerp.

Ours just says we love to live in Israel because it is the only place we feel at home and at one with the world in a way no other place, and I have lived and visited many places, makes us feel.

About the Author
Keith Brooks made Aliyah in 2014 with his wife, 3 kids, and their dog. Keith writes about his Aliyah, Israel and Jewish life in general. Keith is CEO of B2B Whisperer, helping executives become better speakers and presenters. Keith advises B2B companies on their strategy as it relates to sales, pricing, marketing and competitive intelligence. Keith is a MassChallenge Israel mentor, an HCL Ambassador.
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