Eretz Chemdah: An Inside View

9

Various Perspectives and Experiences of English speakers Living in Eretz Yisroel

From Lakewood to Beit Shemesh

We came to Eretz Yisroel in the summer of 2014 after living in Lakewood for almost seven years. Being “in-towners” originally from Monsey and Flatbush, moving to Eretz Yisroel wasn’t really the “in” thing to do, so why did we?

We always had a soft spot for Eretz Yisroel, but, like most people, we didn’t think it was realistic for us to live here long-term, so we settled in Lakewood, New Jersey like everyone else. After being inspired by a friend, I started to research the significance of living in Eretz Yisroel and how it has recently become exponentially more practical. At some point it dawned on me that Eretz Yisroel today is actually a most-amazing opportunity presented by Hashem, and I wanted to be a part of this project that was bringing us to Klal Yisroel’s ultimate destiny.

Before we immigrated to Eretz Yisroel, we went to get a bracha from Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit”a. He clearly stressed the importance of making sure that my wife would be happy there. It also seemed very important to him that we had a plan for parnassah, which we were indeed confident about. At that time, I was working for a tech company that would let me take my job with me, so we didn’t have any excuse not to go. Working American hours in Eretz Yisroel meant that the mornings would be utilized for learning (what a better way to start a day), shopping and other errands, and this is something that many others are doing in our community in Eretz Yisroel.

Although my family would miss us, they respected the idea and were very supportive. My wife had two brothers already living in Eretz Yisroel, which made it much easier. WhatsApp and Skype can’t replace the real thing, so our parents now come visit about once a year, and we go once every few years for the summer.

We settled in Ramat Beit Shemesh, which has many nice American Yeshiva-style communities like where we came from. There are tens of shuls which range from yeshivish to balebatish to heimish. Some are into integrating with Israelis, while others work to create an entirely American environment. We have found American immigrants who have been successful coming with children of all ages, but they generally live in the more American neighborhoods that seem more appropriate for such a move. It is of course easier to integrate when the kids are younger.

Most people in my community are those who have stayed on for long-term after coming to Eretz Yisroel for yeshiva, and mostly originated in out-of-town communities; though I do know other people, besides myself, who have come here directly from in-town places like Lakewood and Monsey.

As our oldest child was turning six when we came here, chinuch was already at the forefront of our minds. People had warned us that things are different in Eretz Yisroel and there aren’t any schools that have the variety and balance that you’ll find in the U.S. When doing our research, a very different picture emerged, and when we arrived, we were glad to see that our fears about chinuch were unfounded. B”H, there are many schools that cater to Americans like us, some geared to kollel families, others with a working parent body, and then some more that are in between. In general, the schools with higher percentages of Americans seem to be more balebatish, and the ones more kollel-oriented seem to have a higher percentage of Israelis, though there are exceptions.

I think that we frum Yidden coming from America have what to contribute to society in Eretz Yisroel. For one, many of us bring a can-do attitude—we won’t just take situations as a given but will try to improve them. Another is the fact that we are proud and content to be hard-working and self-supporting ehrlicher Yidden. For us, after five or ten years of learning, this is just a new and different phase of our avodas Hashem—not a failure. Of course, there is much for us Americans to learn as well from the surrounding Israeli Chareidi society, including a much-less focus on materialism.

Living here has brought our lives to a different plane of existence, which has manifested in several different aspects. One thing that really stands out is the diversity. Even though in any specific neighborhood there might be just one kind of group, it takes only a three-minute drive to reach any public area—shopping, leisure, etc.—and all the walls fall apart and all types of Jews are interacting and getting along. It’s beautiful to see so many different colors and flavors of Yidden living side by side in harmony.

Our Very Own “Mountains”

Like in the U.S., we have our very own “upstate”—except that it’s Tzfas and Meron. The actual mountains seem to always be singing. Looking for Miami? No need to fly. Within a car ride of just an hour or so you can be taking in the sun-washed shores of Netanya. Of course, the greatest of them all is being able to type “The Kotel” or “Kever Rachel” into Waze and it tells me “you are forty-five minutes away.”

– Tzvi Moshe Arnstein, Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel

This article is part of Matzav.com’s Eretz Chemdah series featuring English speakers, living in, settling, and building up Eretz Yisroel. For more info please contact yoel@naavakodesh.org or visit naavakodesh.org/eretz-chemdah

{Matzav.com}

9 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting.
    When you’re younger and your kids are young, it’s more feasible. For those of us that are a bit older and started marrying off children, it is not practical. I wish the writer Hatzlacha.

    • The reality is that it’s never easy. Just ask anyone who went through it. Eretz Yisrael kona al yede yissurin. With that said, we have to keep wanting it, hoping to get there and davening to make it because ultimately this is our home and there’s no place like home.
      It is worth going throught extremely difficult hardhsips to make it in eretz hakodesh!
      I’m talking from experience

  2. This is a very important topic and kudos to the writer and this worthy organization. I fear and I hope that I am wrong but there will be two types of Yiddin who will make Aliya, those who went with planning in advance and went like a mentsch, and the rest of us, will be forced to go with 1 or 2 shopping bags….

    • Not sure what you’re referring to when you say we’ll be forced to go with 2 shopping bags. Are you talking about once Moshiach comes? Incorrect. There will always be Yidden living in chutz la’aretz. By both of the first 2 batie mikdash, Yidden lived in chutz la’aretz. Why do think there is a mitzvah to be oleh regel? Oleh regel from where? From Har Nof? No. From chutz la’aretz. Boro Park and Toms River.

      • In fact, the obligation of Oleh Regel does not apply to Yiden living in Chutz La’aretz, only to Yiden living in Eretz Yisroel.
        Those Yiden who lived in Babel in the times of the Beis Hamikdash, didn’t make it to Yerushalalyim 3 times a year.

  3. Beautifully written! what a wonderful articel and initiative! May all the Yidden of Chut Laeretz be zoche to join the rest of Klal Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel speedily in our days, Amen!

  4. Not so. The only reason why Jews remained in Chul during the first and second Battei Mikdoshos was because those geulos were not complete. The third and FINAL one will be complete, it should happen in our time, and not only will ALL Jews remaining in the Diaspora return to Eretz Yisroel, they’ll WANT to. But as Rashi points out in Devarim, some will be so reluctant to leave that God will have to take them by the hand. According to the Arizal, not a good thing, especially since there will be differences in the way events unfold for Jews who made aliyah BEFORE Moshiach comes, and those who will do it after. See Sefer Tuv HaAretz for more details.

  5. Hi,
    First and foremost thank you for sharing your experience with us, it serves as a great Chizuk to those of us who are unfortunately still in Chu”L and are aspiring to follow in your brave footsteps. We are a Chassidish family living in Monsey and considering making Aliya. We would ideally like a community that has an Anglo presence, a Chareidi presence, and a non Chareidi presence. RBS seems to fit that description. Does RBS Gimel have Chassidish’e Mosdos?

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