A Week In Jerusalem

letter-447577_1280

My wife and I have just spent a magnificent week in Jerusalem. It was, as always, spiritually uplifting to visit the Old City, daven at the Kotel, absorb the incredible atmosphere of the eternal locus of Jewish physical and spiritual life, all the while sampling a degree of religious intensity that one can easily forget exists.

This time, we were also inspired by the growth of the new city: it was tremendous to see the huge number of building projects, the expansion of residential areas, the streets filled with young people. We were overwhelmed with a sense that without any question, the Jewish future lies in Israel, not elsewhere.

And, we have decided that Israel is the best place in the world for kosher restaurants. While we assiduously avoided mehadrin buses, we had the pleasure of dining at some really great mehadrin restaurants. They offer superb cuisine from across the globe at reasonable prices (by London standards, anyway) and despite what everyone says about Israelis, excellent service. (Click here for a version of this article that includes a list.)

With all this to recommend, my wife and I asked ourselves several times during our trip: why exactly do we still live in the UK?

You may also like...

15 Responses

  1. Janet Friedman says:

    By all means, come live here! Yes, there are lots of obstacles to overcome, but that’s what obstacles are for: to overcome!
    I came to Israel 36 years ago as a teenager. I came like a teenager, with my parents’ money and blessings, and only vague ideas of what exactly I wanted to achieve, beyond living here. I define a successful aliyah as one in which the oleh STAYS IN ISRAEL and is NOT SORRY that he/she did! Everything else is extra. By that definition my aliyah has been extremely successful. I continue to insist that you don’t have to be some kind of superman to make aliyah. All it takes is determination, to make it a priority. G-d gave this mitzvah to ALL the Jewish people, “to live by them”, meaning that it is do-able.
    A middle-aged family man, a rabbi of a community, obviously has to plan his aliyah differently than I did at 18! But it CAN be done! You could plan to retire here, if you really can’t work in Israel, buying a home now, when the prices are lower than they will be soon, after the messiah comes and the rush is on. You could go back and forth, working in the UK and spending vacations here using your own home instead of expensive hotels. You can make friends here and communicate with them over the internet, even having cyber-hevrusos. Your wife can attend Haddassa meetings here (or whatever) and also make friends. Maybe, if you’re sufficiently charismatic, you can even bring some of your congregation over here with you. Speak to Rabbi Shlomo Riskin about how he did that. Get study materials of spoken Hebrew, and use them. When you retire, ask the folks to make you an Aliya Party, instead of the traditional “gold watch” (who wants a stupid old gold watch anyway?!) and send you off for continued adventure and spiritual growth. When you land, you won’t look like I did, a spaced-out kid, bewildered about her life and future. You’ll have friends waiting for you, a home and a life prepared, because YOU will have prepared it!
    You will be sending a powerful message to your community, a tremendous kiddush haShem: that G-d gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people, not England. And that you have the courage to say “yes” to G-d, by coming home.
    Many Jews came here as refugees. We who were born in countries where life is comfortable and nobody is threatening us (yet) have the opportunity to make voluntary aliyah. We can do it at our own pace and on our own terms; but we can only do it if we decide that it is a priority and work at it. Good luck, and I hope to see you soon!

  2. dr. william gewirtz says:

    Shiras Schmidt, Your construct: Why A? Is it x or y? requires among other things that x and y be exhaustive. In this case, there is an obvious third alternative z: when travelling with a significant other, staying together may be prefered.

    Rabbi Belovski, I also just spent a weekend in jerusalem amidst business travel. I am finding that central Jerusalem is taking on more of the charachter of a spiritual Disneyland than a real city. I walked down ahad haam where my family spent a summer 20+ years ago and the contrast was obvious. Even the minyanim at the Kotel are different. Nonetheless the restaurants are better, the history is unchanged and the spirituality is tangible. For reality, gush etzion, ranaana, zichron yaacov, etc. etc. are inspiring.

  3. cvmay says:

    Shira,
    When husbands and wives travel together, it is convenient to spend the time sitting, talking and catching up on life’s adventures in seats in close proximity, rather than one in the front of the bus and one in the back. (nothing to do with opposition or bad experience).

  4. Shiras Schmidt says:

    21 bHeshvan
    You wrote– “While we assiduously avoided mehadrin buses, we had the pleasure of dining at some really great mehadrin restaurants.”

    Why did the Belovskis assiduously avoid mehadrin buses? Because you oppose them in theory or you had a bad experience?

  5. Chareidi Leumi says:

    Rav Kook once pointed out that before Klal Israel could enter the land of Israel, they had to kill Melech CHESBON.

  6. sima irkodesh says:

    Mr Loberstein,
    Lucky for klal yisroel that Avrom Aveinu did not make all your chesbones when he was told to leave Charan to go to Eretz Caanan. Easy, what is easy! Decisions, that is part of fulfilling the mitzvah of embracing hashems holy land.

  7. LOberstein says:

    I love visiting Israel and have 3 married children and 2 single children there. However, living in Israel is a major life style change and many past olim have returned because of the difficulties. They can all be overcome, but it is no simple thing to adapt to a very different mentality, especially the contentious religious cauldron. Here I can send one child to a cheder, one to a moderately frum school and another to a co-ed high school if that is what each needs. Try that in Israel.
    Here I can eat anywhere because we have one hashgocho,Star K. In Israel there are so many competing kashrus organizations and one denies the other’s validity. There is much to love and I do love Israel,but living there is a major life changing committment and not everyone is prepared to make the changes necessary.

  8. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Dovid, my point wasn’t that Rabbi Harvey Belovski shouldn’t move to Israel. My point was just that spending two months there would be better evaluation than a week long vacation.

    The same is true for any international or long distance move. I lived in the US for three month prior to making the decision to leave Israel.

  9. dovid says:

    “become annoying when you’re somewhere for a long time and have to get things done.”

    And you never had this problem in Texas?

  10. Jewish Observer says:

    “When one sits in Chutz Laaretz and reads lots of blog entries about all the problems, it is very discouraging”

    – it is like people’s tolerance for criticiusm of Charedi frumkeit. Some people refuse to admit there are issues, as if such an admission would be a sign of denial of the whole system. Others are willing to be critical, DAVKA BECAUSE they understand the overall value, a la the exception that proves the rule.

  11. cvmay says:

    Dear Reb Harvey,
    You are doing your duty and speaking ‘tov’ continously about our holyland. You are fulfilling the pasuk of “Reah B’tuv Yerushayalim”, and encouraging others to see and speak positively of Hashems homestead.

  12. Ori Pomerantz says:

    May I suggest you spend a couple of months working in Jerusalem and then decide if you want to move? Things that are charming and quaint during a week long vacation can become annoying when you’re somewhere for a long time and have to get things done.

    Also, it’s none of my business, but how old are your children? Would you object to any of them being drafted to military service?

  13. Gershon Josephs says:

    “With all this to recommend, my wife and I asked ourselves several times during our trip: why exactly do we still live in the UK?”

    Because no shul in Israel would pay you anything like what you earn in Golders Green?

  14. G Man says:

    With respect, those of us, including me, who are focussed on restaraunts are not likely to pick up and move to Israel anytime soon.

  15. Michoel says:

    My wife and I ask ourselves the US version of that question all the time. When one sits in Chutz Laaretz and reads lots of blog entries about all the problems, it is very discouraging. When one takes a trip there, you realize just what a treasure EY is.