From Momo Lifshitz
You might remember me from your Birthright trip to Israel, but I’m not going to remember you. I shook the hands of over 60,000 young adults from around the world coming for Taglit-Birthright. I shook your hand, looked you in the eye and said: ”Welcome home”. For me, and I hope for you, it’s true. Israel is and will always be a home of the Jews.
But coming home to visit is not like moving home. When you come home, you get the best parts: the parties, the highlights, best food and most fun. When you move home, it’s about the luggage, where you’ll be sleeping, and whose turn it is to do the dishes. Making Aliyah is similar.
Lots, and I mean lots of young Olim are coming to Israel, settling in Tel-Aviv, the Pick-up city. They come expecting the fun of Taglit, the shopping, the nightlife, the beaches. It’s there, but it’s not free anymore.
The cost of renting an apartment in Tel-Aviv are extremely high, beer in a bar here can cost 30 shekels, and the cost difference between buying food in the city compared to discount superstores is huge! Top that with a highly competitive market in ‘Silicon Wadi’, where wages are low and job opportunities for employees who don’t know the Israeli work culture are few. Olim give up. After 6 months, if they don’t have a job that covers the high-life, found love, or found non-English speakers who can explain what’s common sense here, the dream is shattered and they leave.
You wanted to make Alyiah, Kol Hakavod! I applaud you. Israel wants and needs young Olim.
To keep you here, know what to expect. You’re not going to be on holiday forever. If you come here to live, know that life is just tough as anywhere else. Learn to ‘Lishtader’ – which translates to get by or become organized.
Live in Tel-Aviv, enjoy the fun, then move out to suburbia where you’ll leave the English-speaker bubble. Study in Israel so you can meet other students and create a network for yourself. If you came here to be an Israeli, BE AN ISRAELI! Surround yourself in Hebrew, find a spouse, raise your kids as Israelis, make Israel your home. It is the home of the Jews; you should feel welcomed at home!
Mr. Shlomo Lifshitz, widely known as Momo, founded and managed Oranim Educational Initiatives for 25 years, bringing 150,000 young adults and teens to Israel on various trips, including Taglit-Birthright! He is currently the CEO of Lirom Global Education, a company dedicated to helping Israel become a center of global education, by encouraging overseas students to come and study in Israel in English.