Out-of-Town Living—A Boost for Aliyah?
We very much appreciated Rabbi Weil’s article “The Out-of-Town Advantage” (summer 2011). We did, however, want to comment on the note at the bottom that reads, “This article is intended for couples and families for whom aliyah is not currently an option.”
We believe, in fact, that out-of-town Jewish living is the best move for families who wish to make aliyah. This follows directly from the two arguments Rabbi Weil makes for living “out of town”—finances and idealism.
Financially, the cost savings of living out of town is key for a family’s preparation for aliyah. Furthermore, families most often make aliyah for idealistic reasons and moving out of town on their way to Israel can nurture that idealism and sense of shelichut. By simply being a member of an out-of-town community, they serve as role models and have a tangible impact on the community in which they live. Furthermore, those living in out-of-town communities tend to have more of a pioneering spirit, not unlike the first Jews who made aliyah.
Assisted by the guiding vision of the OU, communities such as ours in Overland Park, Kansas, are growing and becoming realistic options for Orthodox life outside the major metropolitan areas. Support from the OU has been a vital boost, especially programs such as the OU Emerging Jewish Communities Home and Job Relocation Fair, last held this past March, which introduced over one thousand people to the beauty of out-of-town Jewish living.
Supporting communities in Middle America does not stand in contradiction to the value of aliyah, but rather can support that goal as well. With hearts in the East, aliyah is a core value for so many of our families that can often find great support in a stopover in the Midwest.
Rabbi Daniel Rockoff
Congregation Beth Israel Abraham Voliner
Dr. Howard Rosenthal
OU national vice president
Overland Park, Kansas