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18 Reasons for Making Aliyah

January 17, 2016 | by David Kilimnick

Reason number 7: Kosher Burger King!

The 2015 numbers are in from the Jewish Agency and apparently over 30,000 Jews made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 2015. That’s a ten percent increase over 2014 and the highest level since 2003. Way to go Israel! I’m always up for breaking records so I think we should make 2016 even better than 2015. I’m doing my part by making this list of 18 reasons why you should make Aliyah:

1. Move Somewhere Warm

I was from Rochester, New York. I love Rochester, but it is cold, and older American Jews move someplace warmer and change their name to Bernie. I figured, I could move to Jerusalem and live with Americans, or I could move down to South Florida and live with Israelis. I chose Jerusalem

At around 60 or so, my name will also be Bernie.

2. You Don’t have to Work

This beautiful country gives you money to make Aliyah. With some additional money from Nefesh B’Nefesh that can get you through a year or two in Israel. Enjoy that vacation. You deserve it. You moved.

After receiving some graduate degrees in America, I realized that people had expectations. As an immigrant, nobody has any expectations of me. My Hebrew is on par with my three year old Israeli niece.

I am an immigrant. That is an accomplishment right there.

3. Fear & Anti-Semitism

Rochester’s company, Kodak, hadn’t been doing well and I wanted to get out of there before they started blaming it on the Jews.

Many people from non-North American countries move to Israel because of fear. Does that mean that we are indebted to the anti-Semites of the world, who have helped more Jews in the Aliyah process than all of the Jewish Agencies and Nefesh BNefeshes combined?

4. The Need to sell Dead Sea Products to Americans

Hand creams can only be sold illegally in malls by non-American citizens.

5. Love of Jewish People

If you truly love Jewish people and want to complain about them, Israel is the best place to be.

6. Don’t Hide your Judaism

People don’t hate you for being Jewish in Israel. They hate you for being annoying.

You can wear a yarmulke on the highway. You do not have to wear a baseball hat. They already know that you are Jewish. You can’t hide it. And to those who wear the hat in America, they know you are Jewish too. Wearing a suit and a baseball hat kind of gives it away. Showing up to the movie opening up a can with a baseball hat on, smuggling in all those snacks – they know.

In Israel, the only people wearing baseball hats are the tourists from China.

7. Kosher Burger King

The first time I saw the sign I was in awe. ‘Whopper’ written in Hebrew. Hamburgers ready before I ordered them. I felt something special that day. I believe it was a prophetic calling telling me that the days of the Messiah are upon us.

8. You Hate your Family

That is why I respect the old Olim (immigrants to Israel) from the first modern Aliyah back in the 1800s. They took boats, they walked through barren wilderness, they never wanted to see their families again.

I am not suggesting that this is the best reason for Aliyah. But you will see them a lot less. That’s just a fact. For many, that’s a big plus.

9. You Feel that Silent Letters in English should be Pronounced

Make the move to Israel and pronounce the ‘i’ in Lincoln, the ‘k’ in know, and the ‘t’ in listen.

10. Land of our Ancestors

After I moved, my mom showed me our family tree. Perhaps, I should have moved to Brooklyn.

11. Torah

You care about being a Jew and practicing your religion. What, am I crazy for suggesting that as a reason?

12. You Love Jewish Holidays

Everything is a holiday in Israel. You have Yom HaAtzmaut, Yom Yerushalayim, Yom Revi’I (I want to thank my friend Matt for that Hebrew joke). I will translate it: You have Independence Day, Jerusalem Day, Wednesday. Maybe that sounds funnier in Hebrew. I know the English there does not work. If you do not understand the Hebrew, think of it translated into Hebrew and you might enjoy the process of not understanding it in another language. Point is, holidays are celebrated all the time. For whatever reason, nobody is working on Wednesday. Banks are closed at weird hours. Maybe they feel it is the Jewish Homeland, and nobody should have to work at home.

13. You want to Find the Tree that the Jewish National Fund Planted for you

The Jewish National Fund took money from me every Tu BShvat holiday, from the time I was in kindergarten and I never saw the tree with my name on it. I am on a mission to find it.

14. Love of Subtitles in Movies

In Israel, all movies are viewed with subtitles. Even better, after reading a movie you rarely hear conceited people say, ‘The book was better than the movie.’

15. You Have to Move out of your Parent’s House

The final realization that I had to move to Israel took place in my parents’ home at 3am. I was watching TV. My dad came down and asked, ‘David- why are you watching TV? It’s 3am?’ My immediate response was, ‘Because I can. I am 25 years old.’ I knew that it was 3am, because it was 3am. If I wanted to eat hamburgers at 3am, I had that right. So I made Aliyah. Burger King is kosher and I wanted to eat Whoopers at 3am.

16. Felonies

This is probably the number one reason to move away from your place of birth. If you got caught, running is the best option.

If making Aliyah for a felony or any kind of avoidance of payment, be sure you never have to visit again. Be sure to take all you will need for the next 40 years in your two bags the airlines allow for international flights. If you like Entenmann’s doughnuts, take as many boxes as you can. Maybe prepare a lift for yourself of doughnut holes. Do not set yourself up for any trips back to your native land for a hankering.

17. You like Shopping in an Aggressive Atmosphere

Nothing can take the place of somebody yelling the price at you. The only thing that can rival the passion of the souk salesman is a price tag. And even that, you do not see all the time.

18. Jewish Homeland

In Israel, love is expressed through reprimanding. For the feeling of intimacy, you need the right people yelling at you. I cannot express the gratitude I have for all the random Israeli strangers who have yelled at me, for reasons I do not know. I have not felt that kind of warmth since I stopped living in my parents’ house.

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