The Aliyah Manifesto: Why Did I Leave
‘The Life I left Behind in America’ the next chapter in the book
I am in Israel- I love it. Now I will complain more
As much as Nefesh BNefesh might convince you otherwise, Aliyah is not easy.
Why would somebody make Aliyah? A question they only ask you once you have moved to Israel. Usually asked by Israelis, in the past tense: ‘Why did you move here?’ They never bring it up before you come. They want to sucker you into it. This way, from the time you make the move to Israel, you are a fryer. The homegrown Israelis know that it is the Jewish homeland. That is why they can’t figure out why Jews would move to it. They don’t warn you before you do it. They don’t tell you while you are signing the Aliyah papers, ‘You are moving to the Middle East…everybody else is trying to get out…you might also want to move to Europe.’ You have to figure that out by yourself. It is kind of like marriage. Everybody wants you to do it, so they tell you how great it is. Afterwards, everybody is asking, ‘Why the hell did you do it? Why did you give up your freedom? Now you are broke.’ Now you are stuck in a relationship and somebody wants to take everything that is yours.
They treat you soo nicely, until you move. They even plan for you to get some funding. Then, you move and you meet the people at the municipality, you meet the people at the ministry of interior, the people who drive the cabs, they teach you a language and tell you that English is not the language of the land, they give you a sochnut mattress from the 1950s and nine years later you are living in a one room apartment, asking yourself ‘Why did I move here?’
Nobody reads about the history. People get shocked when they show up and all the sudden hear that their neighbors that they never met before want to throw them into the sea. What does throwing into the sea mean? Why do they want to jump waves with me? They don’t even know me. The guy at the shuk, whom I never met before, called me ‘my friend.’ These people really like fun and selling me stuff.
I didn’t even think about what I was giving up. I was just moving to Israel. I didn’t think for a second that people wouldn’t want to hire a guy who doesn’t speak the native language. If you don’t speak the native language in a country you are living in, you are disabled. A warning would have been nice. When I made Aliyah, the sochnut and Nefesh BNefesh did not stress that being dumb in the native tongue is a job deterrent. I would have already paid off my home mortgage by now in the US. Now, I have no home and no mortgage. I want a mortgage. I don’t need a home. I want to sound like a grownup. I also want to be able to say ‘I am refinancing.’
I have regressed. My years of Aliyah are my years of maturity. I am around 10 years old right now, and I am the child that got held back 4 grades. I started shaving way before kindergarten and I am still tracing my gimmel (that is a Hebrew letter- at least I know that). I do not have the house I would have had if I stayed in America, but I love Legos and me and my new friends have a great time building with the jumbo size Legos. I want to thank the teachers for making sure I do not swallow the toys.
I visited America recently, to go shopping. To save money, I flew back to America to pick up a shirt at Marshall’s. I picked up the shirt and flew back to Israel. With the flight I saved $90. I am a smuggler. I smuggle because I found that if you cheat the system you don’t have to pay the 250% tax for enjoying stuff in Israel. If I bring in something enjoyable, the government does not get to enjoy it too. I understand the importance of taxes and I respect it. They didn’t make the product. They did make the law that they get 2 and a half times what the product is worth for not making it. I needed a shirt that fit, and I could only find that at Marshall’s. Ikea doesn’t have shirts that fit me, and I can tell you that I do not want to pick up the new style Once Size is Tight on All at Castro. I needed a shirt and I am sure that Bibi has a whole slew of shirts he picked up in the $9.99 bin that he is not sharing with me.
I need an Ipad I can afford, and I can only find that in America. So I smuggle, and I don’t even think I am bad for that. I live in Israel. I am going to use that a lot. That is my excuse for turning into a thief. And you immigrant friends, oh please! As if you visit America for family. Visiting family in the US is just an excuse to not have to pay for the hotel room while you are shopping. You also go for the electronics. You alcoholic, smuggling in liters of whiskey, using your children to carry your alcohol for you. ‘I can only bring in a liter…my child is bringing in a liter for himself.’ Yes, I burn movies. I don’t usually download, so I am not that bad; I am not the first one stealing. I am the tape deck level thief. Stuff is too expensive and that is how you survive as an immigrant. You steal and start gangs.
I gave a good life away. I have the right to commit low level crimes. Call me wrong, but I don’t pay my TV tax. If you do, than you are an idiot. I don’t know where that money comes from. I don’t know why I have to pay for a channel I don’t get. I don’t know why I have to pay for a channel I don’t understand. I don’t speak Hebrew well. I am an Israeli immigrant and I live in Jerusalem. If the Israeli channel was FOX or NBC, then OK. That would at least make sense. Then, at least the people living in Jerusalem would understand. If the channel that I am paying for is Al HaragatYisrael, the station I do receive, then OK. But I do not understand Arabic. I do think it is good that the main Israeli channels are in Arabic. I once saw a show in Hebrew and I was very bothered that I understood it. When I watch a show in Arabic, I cannot understand how bad it is, and I like that.
I gave up the 999 channels of American television. I even stopped watching American TV shows. I miss the laugh track and people coaching me when to laugh. Now I have to figure out what is funny for myself, and that takes too much thinking. I miss flipping through channels. Now I have to watch a whole show. They didn’t tell me I would have to download or stream every decent show I wanted to watch. I gave away good mass production. I can find shirts for cheaper than $9.99 in Israel, but I don’t like the disposable- one time use only- 2 thread count.
Why did I make Aliyah? This is going to be a really long answer. Probably a couple of volumes.