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Friday, June 08, 2007

Just in time for Parshat Shelach

Hi Yishai,

My wife and I have been discussing Aliyah for a while now, and I think we are beginning to get serious about making a plan. We do have some serious questions, though, that we need to address. I am hoping that you and Malkah can give us some good pointers as you did for the listeners on Thursday's Aliyah Revolution radio show. Here are some of our more significant circumstances. I am a recent convert and my wife is a recent Ba'al Teshuvah. We have a son who is almost 15 and a daughter who is 12. While we are among the most observant in our tiny community, we are very conscious of how much we have to learn in living an Orthodox life. We are quite stringent in kashrus and we are shomer Shabbos. We have been learning from two Chabad rabbis (and the rebbetzins, of course), so our thinking tends to the Chareidi part of the spectrum. Other parts of our observance have been slow to develop, though. We have concerns about being accepted in a Chareidi community and/or a Chareidi shul.

Another factor is that we are struggling financially. It will be difficult for us to come on a pilot trip, but we are trying to save money to that end. Because our resources are limited so we think it would be best to live in a city where we do not need a car and would have easy access to areas for potential employment. I have been employed as a home automation and audio video system programmer (not traditional computer programming) for the last six years and my wife has been trying (with limited success) to start a home based kosher baking business. I am very willing and able to learn new skills for employment and I have diverse kinds of experience and education on my resume (including a BA in English and experience as a nuclear power plant electrician in the US Navy).

A final factor that I will bring up is that we have mixed levels of motivation in our family. My daughter is very excited about the idea of making Aliyah (as only a pre-teen girl can be) and my wife is motivated, but cautious. My son is hesitant about making Aliyah, though. His hesitance probably derives from all the instability we have experience over the last five years (we left an evangelical xian church, spent about a year in a messianic group, rejected JC as messiah and/or deity, and became orthodox Jews). We all lost a lot of so-called friends in the transition. I think my son is feeling more than a little burnt by the whole experience. What I'm looking for here is suggestions on how I can encourage my son's interest in Israel, and allay the concerns he has about making another big change.


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  • At 2:26 AM , Anonymous John Zomer said...


    I would like to say welcome back to Judaism! That's great.

    All I can say is, that we Jews pray for each other and that's what I will do.

    May HaShem strenghten you and bring you back home, to Israel.

    John Zomer

  • At 7:13 AM , Anonymous Ellen said...

    Hi, Asher,

    First of all, I want to say that I think your comments about your son are very insightful.

    Second, as a ba'al teshuvah of 26 years duration I think you have to be kind to yourself. It's such a long slow process.

    You were obviously in process when you passed through those other spiritual dimensions. For myself, I became B.T. during the height of the New Age Movement, so I encountered all sortsa interesting levels of spirituality and in a matter of 6 months had gone through them all. No kids at the time, though.

    I humbly suggest giving your son time and room. You are all in the same family but it doesn't mean you are all moving at the same speed.

    A very helpful book was "Teshuvah" by Adin Steinsaltz. I have read and reread it on an "as needed" basis. It talks about one's search, one's disorientation, what one does when one backslides (I certainly did that), and many other levels -- even the change in friends.

    Warmest of wishes for your success. Oh, in my meditative days, I had a message about all this: "Do it with Love or don't do it at all." So, I still stand by the "do it with love" part.

    Experience has taught me that the world is not perfect but Torah Judaism is a good way for humans to live, imperfections and all.

    Ellen in Brooklyn


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