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Bad Reasons for Not Moving to Israel

April 30, 2017 | by Marnie Winston-Macauley

There may be some good reasons not to move to Israel. In honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, here are some bad ones.

Birnbaum, 76, who lived in an elite condo in Florida felt the death was near, so he asked his sons to take him to the Holy Land, to die there and be buried in Jerusalem.

His sons did as he asked, brought him to Jerusalem, put him in a hospital and waited. However, within three weeks, Birnbaum was in the pink. The doctor told him his blood pressure, heart? Perfect. When his sons came to visit he told them … “Quick! Take me back to Florida!”

His sons were puzzled. “But papa … why? You said you want to die in the Holy Land and be buried in Jerusalem!'

Said Birnbaum. “To die it's OK but to live here...!"

And so the old joke goes – in America. Despite huge pro-Israel groups, many stop short of making the ultimate commitment to live in the land God gave us.

There are many superb personal and religious reasons to make Aliyah. After discussing and debating with some of my Jewish friends … some of their reasons made some kind of sense (a fear of not knowing the language, for example) while others were so “creative” I had to share. The following is a poll I took. Only the names, places, and a few examples were changed to protect the not-so-innocent. But the excuses are real. Very real.


Note: Each respondent made a case in language Alan Dershowitz would envy. As a reporter, I felt it my duty to … clarify, interpret. So I added “short versions.”

1. Doris and Alvin Shlickstein: “Darling. As you know, we are major supporters of Israel! Ask the rabbi, who we see faithfully on Yom Kippur and Pesach. In every major Israeli war we’re committed to purchasing bonds, contributing to non-profits, and sent Yad Vashem a refurbished water fountain from Alvin’s office. The trees alone we’ve planted should by now be a forest. We’re also part of a Facebook group that sponsors needed R&R for the IDF – that includes beach towels. And not just any beach towels … organic 100% pile-woven, combed cotton – from Egypt. In fact, if my Alvin left Wall Street, we couldn’t afford to do such mitzvahs!”

SHORT VERSION: “I gave enough already.”
SHORT VERSION: “– and we never heard of SKYPE.”

2. Dr. Mendel Horowitz, D.O. specializing in thigh implants. In Las Vegas. “I would go in a second to our beloved homeland! However, after spending four years in The Icelandic Medical School, the Mississippi campus, and taken advanced certificates in thigh enhancement, my family and I feel God wouldn’t want me to have wasted all that education, especially as the Israelis would probably make me take additional classes to set up a practice. Another deep concern is failing to service my on-going patients who deeply depend upon my skills to enhance their well-being.”

SHORT VERSION: “With a score of 457 on my SATs, the Israelis will put me in a Jerusalem middle school for the Yiddishe kop challenged.”

3. Yitz Kleinman, retired businessman in New Jersey. “For years I told my late wife, may she rest in peace, ‘let’s go home – to Israel.’ This was during the Vietnam War where I paid some fortune to an agricultural college in Minnesota to keep our Myron out of the meshugas. Myron, his children and grand-children moved back in with me three years ago. If it was just me, I’d go in a second, but with the kids, my late wife, may she rest in peace, would make such a tumult up there, I can’t do it to her.”

SHORT VERSION: “It’s dangerous there! What am I crazy? I could be having coffee, and BOOM!”
SHORT VERSION: “... and the Israeli government will put my grandson, Lance, in the army. The boy’s mother wouldn’t let him use a butter knife until he was 12.”

4. Rebecca and Morris Feinberger. “It’s always been an impossible dream and first on our bucket list. The problem now? We bought a house, 5200 square feet, in Connecticut, which was also on our bucket list … when the market was up. Gorgeous. Backwash. A yard with trees, and the antiques we got? Don’t ask. Listen, my Morris worked hard for it! Anyway, with the crumbling house market … we’re losing, don’t ask. So … we discussed it and decided to wait until the prices not only come back up in Greenwich, Connecticut, but go higher, as we couldn’t duplicate in Tel Aviv for the same price – or move my big antiques, my grand-bubbe brought here when on the run from Russia.”

SHORT VERSION: “Give up my stuff to live worse for more gelt? I ask you is this Jewish?
SHORT VERSION: “... and it would be a sin to give up my legacy … the treasures my ancestors brought over while they were running from the Czar?!”

5. Ms. Ruth Mandelbaum, Jewish macher in her community where she’s adored for her intelligence. She also has a spot on the Jewish Weekend radio station, JCRP in Cincinnati. “We all have a duty to consider Aliyah! I have three cousins who made the monumental sacrifice and went. However, my highest duty is to provide comfort and insight to my local community in Cincinnati. Some of my proverbs are on T-shirts on my website. For example: ‘HOSPITALITY IS A FORM OF JEWISH WORSHIP. ALWAYS SERVE CAKE,’ ‘IF YOU’RE WISE IN WORDS, THE DEEDS WILL TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES’ and of course from the late, great Ellie Wiesel: ‘INDIFFERENCE TO ME IS ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING DON’T GET INVOLVED.” I’m self-publishing this fall in time for the Holidays. The timing is the real problem. ‘TIME ISN’T WHAT YOU MAKE IT, IT’S HOW YOU USE IT.’ That will be in the book too.”

SHORT VERSION: “I know nothing.”
SHORT VERSION: “… and In Israel
everyone’s smart. Oy. I need the competition?”

P.S. And yes, I’m seriously thinking about it.

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