Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reason #723 for Aliyah

[A post that's on my mind today: "Haredim are worse then crime and prostitution"]

During our trip to Israel this past summer, we spent a lot of time with friends who have made aliyah. All of them, of course, asked us about our own chances, discussing various issues in their own klitah.

One of them gave us her most-compelling reason for aliyah, and it was a bit unusual: Keeping the next generation together.

In a nutshell, the idea is this: People who live in North America tend to have kids who spread out, so that those kids’ children rarely see their first cousins, let alone second cousins. (This is not quite true in Toronto, where the great majority seem to settle down in this city, but the general point is valid.) Better to make aliyah, so that if the kids remain in Israel, they will all be within a couple of hours of each other.

The idea is funny, when compared with other reasons like Ahavas Eretz Yisrael, mitzvos of Eretz Yisrael, bringing Mashiach, living in a Jewish land, escaping virulent anti-Semitism and so on. Nonetheless, the point resonates.

We were at a family simcha recently, and because we live in Canada and our siblings are scattered around the American Northeast, our kids rarely see aunts and uncles and cousins. I saw siblings I haven’t seen since last Pesach, and that gap of 8 months is normal. Another branch of the family is spread between Baltimore, New York and Chicago; same problem, I expect. Granted that when we lived in Pennsylvania, much closer to New York, we still didn’t visit much, but we had more opportunites then than we do now. And knowing what I know now about life and about travel, I would take the opportunities now – but the opportunities are no longer present.

Of course, aliyah would make it less likely that my children would get to know their own non-Israeli first cousins – but the next generation would have that hope.


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