On "making it" in israel
According to a recent survey, commissioned by the Jewish Agency, and conducted by Dahaf - Public Opinion Research Institute, found that more than 90 percent of North Americans who immigrated to Israel between 3 and 16 months ago are "very satisfied" or "quite satisfied" with their absorption into Israel.
Here are some other points of interest from the survey (for a copy of the full survey, click here):
• The main factor explaining the variation in the level of satisfaction is employment (about 50% of those working in their field are very satisfied as compared to 41% of those not working in their field and 27% of those who are unemployed), while among the unemployed, the main factor influencing the level of satisfaction is the assistance received from organizations in Israel (52% as compared to 12%).
• About three quarters (74%) said that if asked, they would recommend Aliyah to Israel. 7% stated explicitly that they would not recommend Aliyah. The main factors explaining the variation are employment and religious affiliation (secular individuals tend to recommend Aliyah less than religious, ultra-Orthodox and traditional individuals).
• 80% of the olim received substantial assistance or a great deal of assistance from one organization or another (government ministries, the Jewish Agency , Nefesh B'Nefesh).
• A large majority of the olim have relatives or friends near to where they are living (76%).
Granted, I have been here longer than 16 months (going on 3 years now), but I must say that I am one of the very satisfied (and my friend Natan is amongst them, as well). To be totally honest, I don't know of anyone, on a personal level, who isn't happy with their Aliyah. Now, that is not to say that there aren't any hiccups or speed bumps along the way, and perhaps I generally associate myself with overly idealistic, passionate and proud Jews, but I do believe that the vast majority of those who choose to make Aliyah are more than satisfied with their decision to do so.
A popular mantra from many Jews in America is that they do in fact want to make Aliyah, but they are waiting until they can (circle all that apply):
* save up enough money
* get married
* finish college / graduate school
* gain work experience
* all of the above
Now, this survey did not go into the financial situation of the olim who responded, whether they came with savings, and if so how much, and how they are managing financially here in Israel. However, I do not imagine that all of the olim who are included in the 93% who expressed satisfaction with their Aliyah, or the 74% who would recommend Aliyah to others are all rolling in the money or spent years saving up a ton of money.
I believe that there is more to a successful Aliyah and overall happiness in Israel than the almighty Shekel.
Thankfully, today, there exist organizations like Nefesh B'Nefesh to help with the financial side of Aliyah, Israel's Student Authority that offers olim either a free 1st or 2nd degree, as well as plenty of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes so that no oleh / olah chadas(ah) need worry about finding their (English speaking) soul mate.
The bottom line, as I see it, is that for any Jew who truly believes that Israel is where the Jewish People are meant to be, there is no reason why they must sacrifice their happiness to live the Jewish Dream that has no become a reality for so many.
Make Aliyah now, beat the Mashiach rush!