09 June 2020


18 Sivan 5780

NOTE:  This blog post is being pinned at the upper right corner of the page for ongoing aliyah discussion.  Serious questions and useful advice are welcome.  See the comments section below.


Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein is the founder of Ohr Yitzchak, Ateres Naava Seminary for Girls, and Ohr Naava Women's Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

View the lecture in full HERE.


  1. Israel with all it's imperfections can and will absorb the American Jews. The question is do you want to
    go there when it's easy to do so or when you have to run out of town to save your life from wild mobs?

    In LA and NY those mobs came very close to the Jewish communities. This
    could have turned into a pogrom in an

    Yes, we are at that point.
    We have to face that reality. It's not pleasant. America as we knew it is gone and it won't come back.
    The glory days are over.

    America was one of many stops in golus. A brief place to visit, now it's time to leave.

    This is a nice mussar shmooze.
    But if a nothing is done,
    then everything is theory.
    Theory won't save American Jewry.

    Yidden, make a plan. And if you have a plan, buy a ticket. And if you have a ticket then come to Israel. Do something to move the plan forward.

  2. I live in Los Angeles and I'm applying for aliyah for my family of 6 as we speak. Yidden, wake up!!!

  3. How's about bringing ppl in by increasing their love of the Land and Torah, rather than by using terrorist methods of fear-mongering? Conversions to Zionism evidently are not equal to conversions to Judaism: They are two overlapping, but different religions.

  4. Sholomk: Mazal tov! Hatzlachah rabah! The situation of the world is very fluid. Best get a file opened, start selling everything you can live without, start online Hebrew lessons, brainstorm ideas for turning a hobby or skill into an online business.

    At some point, the situation will get bad enough for emergency aliyah flights to begin and those already signed up will be the first ones out. The better prepared you are to leave, mentally, emotionally, the easier the transition will be.

  5. Ariel ben Yochanan: That's already been done for 72 years. That time is now passed and so is its reward.

    There is nothing "terroristic" about yelling to people asleep upstairs that the ground floor of their house is on fire.

  6. As I've already written, I think this "annexation" matter will be the next phase of troubles in the world (Tammuz-Av) and it will spark a new Arab-Israeli war which will leave Israel in control of even MORE of the land of Israel, particularly the "East" Bank of the Jordan River. The factions now warring with each other around the world will suddenly be united in their hatred of Israel which will undoubtedly be expressed in attacks on the local Jewish communities. We could see emergency aliyah rescue flights begin in August. A lot of "Palestinians" will be fleeing Israel at the same time as the doors of the Diaspora open wide for them and begin slamming on Jews.

    This is the best-case scenario. Those who worry about leaving loved ones behind, your family will no longer have a choice in the matter. Those who worry that they can't make it without a prearranged job and place to live will see with their own eyes how HKB"H provides because they will no longer have a choice in the matter. The Jews who survive the "plagues" will be expelled.

  7. Genuine online income: teach English to children in China. I don't know about the US but once in Israel the time difference equates to comfortable afternoon hours, not the middle of the night.

    Get rid of nearly all of your possessions. Take photos of large sentimental items for the memory. Put all your photos in digital format for the backup. For most people for the cost of a lift you can buy everything new in Israel, (also there are websites yad2 and agora where you can get things for free or for very cheap) and Israeli homes tend to be smaller than American homes so things you have probably aren't compatible size wise. Same too for pets. Probably going to have to find new homes for them.Do it sooner rather than later. I know people get attached to their animals, but this is the time to let go.

    Finances and papers in order, again make sure you have digital copies of everything important. Look into moving your money, or part of it to Israel. I don't know how you do this from outside of Israel. If anyone does please write about it.

    There are lots of different ways of settling in Israel. All out integration, never speak a word of English again, I know people like that. Myself, I have lived both as a completely integrated Israeli and in a community of English speakers. I think that for most people, it is easier and preferable to live with other English speakers, initially at least. It provides a lot of support and cushions the culture shock. On the other hand think outside the box, there may be better housing opportunities in the galil or the negev. Everyone according to their needs and priorities.

    Create your own "garinim". Groups of people who make aliya together, maybe to the same place, or at least who commit to being in virtual contact to provide support to each other. There will be challenges, plenty of them, and for this reason emotional and social support is vital. I'm not on social media, but for those who are create fb/whatsapp groups. Help each other brainstorm solutions to personal challenges. And also think about about Jews you know in vulnerable situations and how you can assist them in their aliya. For example, a young family with children could "adopt" an older lady on her own. She could provide them with babysitting and helping cook for shabbat and they could provide her with company and shabbat invites.

    Think positively and creatively and of course daven every step of the way. Always remember היפלא מד. דבר?
    Is anything too wondrous for Hashem to do?

    Be"D everything should go well and should be behatzlacha!

  8. ABY are you aware of what is happening in the world and in the US in particular? The external reality is scary. Describing that reality and giving good advice is not a "terrorist tactic" (highly inflammatory language btw) but a mitzvah.

  9. Does anyone know how to get in touch with Rav Wallerstein? I need his email (I'm not on fb/whatsapp). I have suggestions I would like to put to him. Amongst them, I think that he is the perfect person to start schools for olim children, or at least a "mechina programme" similar to the programmes that prepares olim for university. I envision a school mechina programme that allow olim children to study in a bilingual programme, doing part of their studies in English, learning Hebrew as a subject, and being eased into their studies in Hebrew, learning the vocabulary they need for specific subjects. So that after a year or two years depending on the child, they will be prepared to enter an Israeli school, with both the necessary linguistic skills and the scholastic level of a child of their age. Every child is different. One child will do this for three months and then be like a fish in water in an Israeli school, another child may need this support for two years. They will also need ongoing support for at least some studies in English. This is to avoid the pitfall that many olim children fall into, whereby they end up not being completely fluent in any language.

    I have other suggestions too. Would appreciate being put in contact with the rav.

  10. The learning of Tanach (especially Nach) has sensitized me to kedushas Eretz Yisrael and the centrality of the land to our nation. There's very little interest in these limudim here so it's no surprise that the majority of us are sound asleep. There needs to be more emphasis on learning Nach and Kodshim, not just on an academic level, but on an hashkafic level. Only then can we wake up. This of course is my opinion.

  11. Sholomk, first of all behatzlacha! It is so frustrating following the situation, knowing that the vast majority of Jews are so clueless, and thus heartening to hear about a ray of hope from a Jew like yourself. Please encourage your family, friends and community to do the same.

  12. Elisheva, to my knowledge, Rabbi Wallerstein's email address is rebbewallerstein@ohrnaava.com.

  13. Elisheva, I appreciate your enthusiasm in wanting to help Jews make aliyah, but try to avoid casting aspersions against others who aren't there yet.

    To all: In future, any comment which speaks negatively about Diaspora Jews or which does not stick to the topic at hand, will not be published. Thank you for your continued interest and participation.

  14. Thank you, Devash, for opening up this discussion.

    Here is an Israel Country Commercial Guide. This page has a short list of American-Israeli bank relationships, and in the left sidebar there are sections for doing business in Israel. It may give you some ideas.

    Bank Hapoalim still has branches in four cities in the US.

    Bank Leumi has branches in 5 US cities.

    Bank Mizrahi Tefahot international branches Only 1 in the US.

    Language: Duolingo has a pretty tight Hebrew section, with native-speaking Israeli moderators on the forums who communicate well in English, and is FREE. It's been pretty useful for me post-ulpan (I'm older and wasn't able to get Hebrew-speaking employment afterwards, so lost some for a while...and got all that back and more, on a wide range of topics, to an intermediate vocabulary level.). Persistence is key and if you can work at home you can do this from anywhere in the world. Starting now! I'm assuming you know the aleph-bet and can read and write (I had to learn all that from scratch before I left. No Hebrew school as a child, but 15 years in synagogue prior to aliyah. Most American Jews have better backgrounds than I do, I think.).

    I hope this helps.

  15. Hi.
    Originally from Los Angeles I came to E"Y almost 20 years ago, and over time have lived in various Chareidi communities in Eretz Yisroel.

    I have been working to promote/enable/educate about living in Eretz Yisroel. My focus is on the "Anglo"(English-speaking)-Chareidi community, also because that it what I am a part of, and also because I feel this community lacks much of the resources for this that may be available to other communities, whether technical, informational or educational.

    Some of the results of my work are on my site - AviraDEretzYisroel.org. I post many short articles (25 to date) of Anglo-Chareidim who have made the move, and a list of other useful resources.

    I would also recommend BringThemHome.org.il.

  16. Elisheva - I once contacted Rabbi Wallerstein this way - https://www.ohrnaava.com/contacton or can snail mail a letter -

    872 E 23rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11210

  17. I'm sorry that I wrote something you didn't like but to be honest not sure what you're referring to. If you don't want to post it here, is there a way to contact you so you can tell me what it was?

  18. Elisheva, you wrote "the vast majority of Jews are so clueless." I'm also guilty of saying things like this and reading it just pointed it out to me. So, I did publish it up above, but thought it best to tell you and by extension everyone else (including myself), that it's not nice and also a bit unfair as we've been in Eretz Yisrael so long we've forgotten how hard it is to see in the murky darkness that is chu"l. The very real danger to Jews around the world right now requires us to be extra cautious with our words while at the same time not giving up on warning and encouraging them to do the right thing.

  19. I agree that a lot of the problem is not being able to see one's way out of hu"l. I suffered that for several years before being led to the path out! An Israeli woman who was on shlihut who visited our synagogue was our first contact, and then after that there were a couple more (men).

    In addition, two years before my first visit, I had planned a visit I had to cancel because, shortly thereafter, I was being treated for severe illness.

    A tip people who read this might want to follow: After my first visit and return to where I lived, I asked haShem permission to come home. It took two years after that, but here I am and have been for more than 12.5 years.

    Thank You, haShem!!!

  20. Please see Aliyah just under the COVID-19 wire...

    “We’re here where we want to be. We believe it’s a good choice, especially for the kids. They have a future,” Gavin said.

    ...“I feel we’ve made the best decision and everything will be okay. Though we’re still trying to find our place, I would not go back if someone paid me. I literally felt as if God personally picked us up and placed us in this Holy Land.

    A very common sentiment among olim. This is the kind of aliyah HKB"H wants. Total faith and dependence on HIM.

  21. In general, Chaim V'Chessed is very good at providing timely and accurate information relevant for the English-speaking community here in Eretz Yisroel - that's part of their mission.

    I recommend saving their website address.

    Specifically, a quick visit to their site found that this currently relevant information - "Exceptional Circumstances for Entering Israel" - was published yesterday.

  22. Here's what may afford some protection -

    Quote from this phenomenal piece by Rav Zev Leff shlit"a

    "We must refrain from feeling settled and fulfilled as long as we are outside the Land. This attitude need not lead to melancholy but should instead actually enhance one's spiritual life. It affords direction in aspiring towards the proper values and lifestyle. Interestingly, it may also provide physical protection for the community in which one resides now, as illustrated by the following account from the Shearis Yisroel, in the name of Rav Yehoshua Falk, the author of the SMA.

    The city of Worms was devastated twice during the Crusades. Why did a city blessed with pious Torah scholars merit such a fate? When Ezra hasofer returned to Eretz Yisroel to begin his work on the second Beis HaMikdash, he sent letters to all the major kehillos of the time inviting them to return with him. The kehilla of Worms, which had been established since the destruction of the first Temple, responded: "Peace unto you, Ezra hasofer! May you be successful in establishing the grand Beis HaMikdash in the grand Yerushalayim. We, however, will remain here in our `small Yerushalayim' and with our mikdash meat, our small Temple." This attitude, tragically common even in our own day, spiritually blemished the city to such an extent that it was especially vulnerable to the attacks of the Crusaders many years later."