Planning Your Aliyah?

PlanningWhat’s the most effective approach to planning your aliyah?

From the families that visit Ariel, to the people contacting us via email, one concern about the challenge of making aliyah is often expressed: “there are just too many variables, too much to consider, too much to plan”.

The question is, when we move towards our aliyah what should we be doing: should we be PLANNING our aliyah or should we be PREPARING for aliyah:

Planning aliyah is all about calculating our future. The term and the approach both indicate that life is, at least in some way, predictable – as long as you’ve planned properly. Essentially, the focus of planning is on the specifics: what, where and when.

Preparing for aliyah is quite different. It means that you’re taking the appropriate, practical steps to ensure the success of your aliyah. Still, it means that you’re also preparing for the unexpected, for the dynamics of life. In its essence, preparing for aliyah deals with developing an approach. The focus is not on designing and planning what will be, rather on how to approach the upcoming challenges that aliyah may present.

Both planning and preparing have their virtues. However, there is a significant, basic down-side to an over-focus on planning: it’s misleading. Not everything in life can be planned. In fact – if you think about it – nothing can really be planned from start to finish – certainly not a long term aproach to life . If someone expects life in general and life in Israel in particular to correspond to his own personal plans then what will he do when life takes a turn, when things change. Whether a new opportunity presents itself or a challenge stands in his way – will he know how to respond in kind. Will he emerge stronger, or, Heaven forbid, will the foundation that he has built for himself be too brittle to adjust.

As Americans, Canadians and people of the Western World we tend to imagine that life is predictable and that all that’s left for us to do is make our plans and execute them. In Israel things have never been like that. People live with uncertainty, they live with unpredictability. When will we get rain, what will be with the shekel and what will be with Jerusalem are but a small taste of the ongoing questions in the back of everyone’s mind. We can leave the sociological ramifications aside for now – the point is, from the big things to the small, life in Israel requires a certain degree of flexibility – an awareness of the fact that life is dynamic, and an ability to respond in kind.

Preparing for aliyah is an approach – it’s an attitude. It means that the only constant is that “I’m making aliyah”. As for the variables, the specific circumstances of life, the approach sounds something like: “I’ll do whatever I can to work through things”.

When your aliyah is your priority and the circumstances of your aliyah are secondary – then you have the winning approach to a successful aliyah. It means that you’ve decided that you and your family belong in Israel, and that your primary focus is on turning that decision into a reality. Beyond that, it means that no-matter what life may throw at you, you’ll be prepared to roll with it. If there’s a challenge- you’ll overcome it. If there’s an opportunity – you’ll seize it. You’ll be living life as you always wanted – being yourself, in your Land, with your People.   

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