What is a “Successful” Aliyah?

It’s no secret to those in the Aliyah community that there is a large number of failed Aliyot- olim chadashim who move back to their country of origin. This phenomenon is known as yeridah, lit. descent. It is difficult to know the exact statistics of this phenomenon, as neither the government of Israel nor the Jewish Agency for Israel conduct population studies to investigate failed Aliyot. Regardless, we know it’s a big problem.

Many prospective Aliyah applicants keep pushing back their Aliyah date out of fear that theirs may be a failed Aliyah. They reason that if they just have more time, they will be better prepared and more likely to have a successful Aliyah. All the while, they still live in exile. Never making that leap of faith. Many olim re-examine their decision to make Aliyah and question if it had all been worth it. The struggles, challenges, and hardships compared to their life in America (and elsewhere in the diaspora). They question whether or not they had a successful Aliyah or if theirs is yet another failed case. I’d like to help answer this question with a question of my own: What exactly is a successful Aliyah?

Is a successful Aliyah having the same type of lifestyle you had lived abroad?

Is it seeing your children speaking fluent Hebrew and succeeding in school?

Maybe it’s having served in the army,

Or maybe it’s having a job and understanding how to pay your bills.

It could be waking up in the morning, looking outside your window, and seeing Jerusalem,

Cultivating the land by planting olive trees or growing your own vineyard,

Even as simple as knowing your children and grandchildren will be proud Jews.

What if it’s none of these things… and all of them at once?

Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers on what exactly is a “successful” Aliyah.

In my opinion, it just means that you’re still here. That despite everything you’ve faced, things that make you think that maybe things were easier in the country you came from, you stay. You push forward. You persevere. Because you are Israeli now. And this is your home.

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