(excerpt from The Aliyah Manifesto- to be published in 2014 IY"H)
'You are an immigrant- accept it you yutz face'
I use 'face' as it makes the title statement stronger
You are an immigrant: Let me explain to you what that means. That means you are an immigrant. I am glad I can help you understand.
To explain immigrant further. That means you immigrated to another country. That means you will go through what immigrants go through. That means that you are not in your homeland. You are not in the land that you were educated to live in. You left the place where you know how to do stuff and understand the news. That means that as a person from a first world country, because you are reading English, you made a decision to not use your degrees or diplomas. You made a decision to be useless to society. You made a decision to not have any idea what is going on. You are an immigrant.
You thought everybody was so friendly and they were going to help you find a job as a non-English teacher or a non-telemarketer- because you hate them- when you first got here. Oh, they were so nice to you when talking to you about moving to Israel. Now you know, you got screwed. Once you make Aliyah you are by yourself. Nobody cares. The Sochnut, Nefesh BNefesh and every Israeli has done their job. They got you to give up your easy life. They made the sale. Now you are by yourself.
How do I know this? You ask. How do I know that they do not care about you once you have moved? Once you get off the plane, they do not set you up at the guest room in your cousin's house, which is their children's bedroom. Once you get off the plane, you done't even see your cousins anymore. You find out they are not even your cousins. They were a ploy to get you to move to Israel. They were nice people decoys to get you to think that Israel is one big family. True that may be, as I cannot rationalize the fact that random strangers yell at me because I might get a cold, because I am not wearing a jacket. Now you know that those people were trying to say, 'We are next to you,' on the bus. Next thing you know you are moving to Israel because you are all 'Krovim.'
Then you start to realize that you are by yourself. You get off the plane and they set you up in absorption center, with one of the old time Sochnut mattresses. The mattress is too small to sleep on, unless you are sleeping sideways all night. If you move on the mattress, you fall off. The mattress, or bed sheet (depending on how you see a 1cm thick mattress), feels good your first night of Aliyah. It is more comfortable than getting kicked by a toddler screaming on the plane. They are teaching you. It is their way of reminding you how hard acclimation to your new home will be.
Enjoy the mattress sheet, and live your new life. It is time for you to make your own way, and stop whining. Your first lesson in Aliyah is to do it yourself. They have Ikea too. A statement telling you that 'You have to build your own furniture. We are not going to help you.' Take that sochnut mattress and take another one. Double up the mattresses, and then find another base and put the two doubled up mattresses together; making for yourself a twin sized bed. Now you are living it up- Alone, on a twin sized bed sheet that is on a rigged metal lacing.
Always remember, in the late 1800s, the chalutzim did not even have the metal lacing bed base. They slep on a flat board, which did not dig into their spine. Whenever there is extreme discomfort, I remember that I am also a pioneer. And no pioneer has ever had enjoyed themselves. Pioneers enjoy the stories of hardship and plunder, and sleeping on non-tempurpedic mattresses.
Being a pioneer is not easy. What kind of pioneer would feel fulfilled if stuff made sense. Pioneers don't move to better countries. For the Aliyah to be meaningful it should be painful. And that is why we should thank the Sochnut and Nefesh BNefesh, for helping make the acclimation process severely traumatic. Yeah, there are roads in Israel that are beautifully paved, all of the electronics you would ever want, great phone deals, excellent schools and pleasant people. But we have to watch out for that stuff, which ruins our Aliyah experience. Thank you to the organizations who help us with Aliyah for not showing us the good phone deals.
As the pasuk (verse from the Torah) says, to quote my friend Cindy, something about settling the land being painful, or with difficulty. Exactly as the pasuk says.
Think back 10 years to when people used to not get payed for Aliyah. Think back to 10 years ago when Aliyah was meaningful and not the job you got when you made Aliyah.
If you leave Israel, you are a failure.
Failure is defined by leaving Israel. You gave up and everybody will know it. The rest of your easy life will be tainted with people constantly being reminded of your 'failed Aliyah.' They all will have won. They totally will have won and you know it and I know it. That is all that is going on in all of their minds back home. They are all thinking, 'Can David make it in Israel...he never past Chumish class growing up...he failed his Hebrew exam...' If you have to give your money back to the Oleh people, you are even a greater failure.
You made the move. Accept it. Be it. Be an immigrant. Enjoy it and fight through it. Fight through it like a refugee. A refugee of a land where the barbarians try to get you to 'Rock the Vote.' You cannot go back to your first world country. That would be failure and the acceptance of a full time job.
The only way to stay in Israel is to commit to it. If you start thinking you can get out, then you will. Obviously, you would go back. What idiot wouldn't? You are an immigrant in a horrible situation. Escape? Why did you make Aliyah to begin with you weak-of-hearted soul, if you have a soul? I am not asking the people that made it from outside of the British Commonwealth and the USA. If you are from a non-English speaking country, the answer is simple. You made Aliyah because they are tightening up boarder patrol in the US. As a ‘Westerner’ you made Aliyah because you wanted a harder life. You wanted to make your life a challenge. You wanted to be a pioneer. So be the pioneer and patriot who abandoned your land.
This is your challenge, so stop complaining and do something about it. Yell back.
Be happy that you are in Israel. That is what my mom always says, and that 'it doesn't cost more to marry rich.' My mom pays extra for every cab when she visits. She is an inspiration to us all. 'We are in Israel' is what she always says. She has the right outlook. She is not getting ripped off. She is supporting sociopaths.
That is the only way I can justify living in Israel; with happiness. That is what you got to say for Aliyah, ‘We are in Israel.’ That is what explains the new Jerusalem light rail, which I have not used yet and which has caused a backup of traffic since last year. ‘We are in Israel’ is the reason that I got cut in line, again, and then got knocked over into the bus. ‘We are in Israel,’ makes me feel better about getting screwed over. It corrects the wrongs.
And yes I fight back. I fight back on line and I fight back at the kotel, when they push me. I fight back, because I am committed to staying in this land. 'I knocked you down because I wasn't looking where I was going. We are in Israel my friend.' I don’t know if I am staying because it Israel or that I like not being comfortable. I just know it is my home, and in my home, people speak English. 'We are in Israel, speak English.'
I am going to be one of those Olim parents who gets angry at his children for speaking Hebrew. Because ‘We only speak English in this house, we didn’t move to Israel to speak Hebrew.’
Stop complaining already. Why are you still complaining? You made the decision to not want to work your way up the corporate ladder. You came to the Start Up Land of people who do not want a boss. When there are no people working for bosses, there is freedom. Other people can do what they want, and however they want. That is the beauty of your new home. Your new life with your neighbor who is a boss too, and she doesn’t feel like removing her garbage from in front of your door. We are in Israel, and you should be happy. You should not be bossing her around.
You didn’t flee the gulag. You fled your 6 bedroom home and backyard. Your decision. You messed up, so be happy. Be happy that you do not have to depend on your job as much as the people coming from poverty do. ‘Oh, I can’t afford the flat screen.’ The guy who made Aliyah from Iran can’t afford a flat toast. The guy that just came from Iran cannot afford a bed. Or a sheet for that matter. He is still sleeping on the Sochnut mattress sheet. His only job he can get, if lucky, is a security guard job, and even then you cannot sleep on the job. That is a hard job, trying to keep other people from Iran out of the malls, even if they call themselves Persian. They are trained to keep the malls safe from themselves. Try watching yourself on TV, checking yourself for explosives.
As an American immigrant you can go to the mall. So you can’t buy anything…WaWaWa (my impersonation of somebody crying). 'Oh, the shirts are so expensive.' Why are you buying a polyester flannel shirt anyways? The point is stop complaining. You moved for idealistic reasons, and Poverty is ideal.
Nothing will ever be the same. You are an immigrant. Take solace in the fact that you can return to your country without being shot at. Take solace in the fact that you do not have to wait 20 years to see the rest of your family. Take solace in the fact that you can leave Israel to make money and call it Shlichoot, or a 35 year mission on behalf of Israel to make money for yourself.
When things are down, never look at yourself and your mistakes, or how you can improve. That can only be detrimental. When things are down, look at how bad other people have it, from the third world countries. Not that they smell bad, but they have to smell their family members. Smelling bad isn't bad. Having to smell your friends that smell bad is. Unless you are the only kid in the class who smells bad. Enjoy that you have packaged soap. Enjoy that you do not have to be the kid in the class that nobody wants to talk to or invite over to their home; the kid who never played mercy or thumb wrestling, but always had to play catch. Enjoy the fact that other people have it so much worse than you. Look at them, laugh at them and enjoy how privileged you are. You always wondered why there were third world countries in this day of technology. That is why they are there. For you to feel better about yourself. For you and for whomever is running their country.
Love your move. Accept it, Love it, Cry about it, write a blog. And then move back to America.
I had to get that all out of the way. Now I shall complain.
I was a grownup in America. Now I am Chamud (cute little guy). As a New Oleh, I am not a Gever (macho Israeli man). I do not have the background. I do not meet Israeli women who want to go out with me. I do not meet Israeli women by smacking them. I haven’t learned the art of skipping the 'hello' and just grabbing a woman like a gever, without her permission. I don’t get dates, I get Israeli women who say, ‘B'Hatzlacha.’ They wish me luck. I get a blessing of farewell before I even start a conversation.
As a chamud, you need luck for a woman to take you seriously. An immigrant is chamud; speaks the language as a special person with disabilities. ‘How cute? See that, he has a PHD, he’s a CEO and he did that all with a Hebrew handicap…How cute? He just said Shalom. He thinks he said Shalom in Hebrew. Did you hear that?..How cute? He’s never going to get a job. I don’t think he understands what CEO means. He only speaks English. To be a CEO, you have to have a job. He wants something...Yeah, chamud. Shwarma? For you? 190 shekel. Only $53. Shwarma is very rare in Israel. How chamud? Are you disabled...I think he is disabled.’ I have accepted that I am chamud. And No, I am not disabled. I am American!
I have tried making it in Israel, but it is not easy. Even so, I do not give up. I get my deal on pastries. I know where to find the deals. I show up right before Supersol is closing and shabam, 50% off. In the shuk, same thing, they are closing, 50% off. But not shabam. Middle of the day, I argue. That is how I get deals in the middle of the day, arguing. I might be chamud, but I have learned that if you anger the salesman and bother them enough, they will pay you to leave. If you haggle enough, to the point that they do not like you and want to get rid of you, you get a deal. Getting a deal is making it.
You can’t give up. That is what is important; sticking with it. You give up, you are giving in. Then people like you, and you are paying full price.
If you understand early on that everybody is getting screwed over, not just you, you should feel comforted. There is a lot of comfort in knowing that a whole world is not being treated right. If you can accept that the whole world is wrong and that everybody is being taken advantage of. Take solace in the fact that everybody else's life also sucks. You can be comforted knowing that people are starving. That my friends brings happiness.
You are an immigrant you yutz face. So stop complaining. I am sick of hearing all your complaining. Remember, 'We are in Israel' and we are all surrounded by people who smell bad.