Aliyah is one of the most notable Jewish traditions. The word comes from a Hebrew verb meaning to ascend or going up. In context, it means the immigration of Jews, from various parts of the world, to the Land of Israel. One who performs this exercise is known as Oleh (in case of male) and Olah (in case of female). The plural form for those undergoing Aliyah is Olim for both males and females. If you are contemplating to undertake this journey, following text may prove to be of great help.
How to make Aliyah?
Israel is a developed country with a robust economy and good future prospects for almost all of its citizens. This forms the reason for many people wishing to immigrate to Israel. However, you should know that Israel issues Aliyah permits only to Jews by their birth right. This means that people born to Jewish parents alone have the right to undertake Aliyah. Therefore, you shall be required to demonstrate your Jewish ancestry. Many local Jewish organizations shall help you in this regard. Hence, you should contact any of such agencies and they shall guide you further in your journey. The good news is that in many countries, including US, there are many voluntary organizations present to assist you in this regard.
Do I need to be Religious for Aliyah?
Formally speaking, no. There is no formal requirement for being an observant Jew. However, there is quite a possibility that you are amongst the people who believe that making Aliyah makes them a better Jew given their residence in Israel and their knowledge of Hebrew. However, the reality is slightly different.
In fact, the case is that there are considerable numbers of people, even in Israel, who have a pro-Arab attitude and many even advocate abandoning of Jewish practices and making Israel a state for all its citizens-not only for Jews. You can find such people from leftist political parties to school teachers. Therefore, you may want your children to go to a Jewish school besides it may require you to maintain a Jewish lifestyle at home. Therefore, do not think that making Aliyah, or living in Israel, alone can make you a better Jew or make your children better Jews. Though, you can expect to find an encouraging atmosphere on this sacred part of Earth, but this shall not be sufficient per se to transform your lives into what the Torah wants out of you.
Immigrating to Israel is the dream of every Jew but there are various niceties involved in the whole process of immigration that make the whole process considerably hard to comprehend. The following is a brief overview of the process of immigrating to Israel by Aliyah and the steps involved in it.
Making Aliyah alone
The entire process of making Aliyah is directed to integration in the Jewish Israeli society. You will quickly make friends and Israeli jews are often very welcome to newcomers. You will probably learn to speak Hebrew in the Ulpan, where you will make many friends for the rest of your life.
1. Contacting Your Local Agency and filling out/submitting forms:
There are various local agencies working world over to facilitate people immigrating to Israel. Some of these are voluntary organizations whereas others may charge you for the service. Whatever their mode of working is, you should try to contact some of these agencies. This shall be helpful as they can provide you a sound advice and their assessment of the strength of your application after listening to your case. After you consult some of these agencies, you should select one of these to work with further on your case.
Afterwards, these agencies shall also be able to provide you help on getting all the relevant forms you would need for immigrating to Israel. You can fill out these forms and submit these forms. The agency consultants shall, of course, help you in case you feel confused about anything in the forms. To give you an idea, these forms shall include Aliyah Questionnaire, waiver of confidentiality, Health declaration, Birth/Marriage certificates, Entries into and Exits from Israel, etc.
After submitting all the relevant forms, you shall be called for an interview. In the interview, you shall be required to carry all the relevant documents with you as you shall be supposed to prove the genuineness of your intent for immigrating to Israel. Be prepared to answer questions relating to your Jewish background, Israeli past, family background, employment history for past some years, motivation for Aliyah, Aliyah and planning for absorption, etc.
3. Concluding steps:
After having gone through the interview, you shall be required to go through many other small steps. These include your Approval, absorption planning with your file manager and final briefing by your file manager. The final briefing holds special importance as your file manager shall give you a checklist, list of benefits you may be entitled to and how you can secure these, the Aliyah Ten Commandments, etc. Besides, he shall tell you of many other things that shall help you to get absorbed in the societal fabric of Israel. The process shall end with an ultimate source of help your agency shall provide you in form of your absorption follow up by providing you more guidance on how to get absorbed in the local Jewish culture after immigrating to Israel.