Aliyah (to go up) is a reference to moving to Israel, which every Jew, convert or born, is entitled to do. Many Jews living in the diaspora elect to move to Israel for a sense of closeness with their ancestry, to escape the problems of antisemitism, and/or to be amongst those of like spirituality. Some would rather move to the land of Israel without knowing Hebrew, knowing little about the areas of the country, and not even knowing anyone who lives there, rather than remaining in the Diaspora.

It is no surprise that many, even in America, have to face antisemitism, violence, degradation, and feelings of being alone, whereas this is not the case with Jews living in their homeland. Many of us feel a strong connection to Israel like it is a home we never really knew that is waiting for us to return to it. It becomes a calling, and at the end of the Passover seder, we say, “Next year in Jerusalem,” for just that reason. In Israel, we can be free to be Jewish without the issues faced in the Diaspora, without worry if our Kippah or Tzitzit will bring unwanted attention or make us a target. 

I don’t plan on moving to Israel in the near future, but my wife and I have discussed it and it is a strong possibility that we make Aliyah when we retire. Many Jews that don’t make Aliyah in their younger years visit there (as we plan on doing), and retire in our historic homeland to live out their remaining years in the land of milk and honey.