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Mothers who left Israel: do you regret it? (long)
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amother




Magenta
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 6:52 am
I write this with very mixed feelings.

I've been living in Eretz Yisrael for over 10 years. We initially moved because of my husband - for years, he'd wanted to make his home in EY, and I was willing to try to make it work (through I made it very clear while dating that I was not committing, and that we would move back if I wanted).
On the one hand, I feel privileged to live here - I know that every step I take on this ground has incalculable merit. I know there is no other place on Earth as conducive to holiness and G-dliness. I know that the yiras shamayim of the average person here on the street is probably significantly greater than in other communities. On the other hand, I've been feeling increasingly uncomfortable with many aspects of living here. The main issues for me are:

1- Chareidi society and the polarization of general society. While we self-identify here as "charedim" and would be considered "yeshivish but worldly" by most people, there are so many things about chareidi society that bother me tremendously (e.g. lack of secular education for boys, one-size-fits-all chinuch, lack of middos and poor bein adam l'chaveiro, schools that are run less than professionally, safety issues, attitude towards chilonim and soldiers).

2 - Missing family. I am the only one of my siblings here and both sets of grandparents live abroad. As the years go by I find myself getting increasingly emotional at the thought of my children not knowing their cousins well, not seeing their grandparents often etc. I thought it would get easier as my family grew but I think the opposite has happened. As I get older and wiser I am realizing just how significant family support and closeness is. The thought of my parents growing old without me to support them, the thought of missing so many family simchos, the thought of never being able to go to my parents for Shabbos when I've had such a tiring, trying week...all these things make me feel so sad.

I am seriously considering moving back to the States for these reasons. My main concern about the move is parnassah: here, my husband's freelance work (he's an IT professional) along with my part-time work is enough to support our family. In the states, it wouldn't. He'd have to get a lot more clients, fast, or else find a 9-5 job, which is really not suited to his personality. Poor parnassah can strain shalom bayis tremendously, and I'm worried about that. On the other hand, it would only get more difficult the longer I wait to make this big change. I don't want to feel "trapped" here after 20 years, and then stew in resentment.

My husband would be very sad to leave EY, but he would do it if I felt strongly. I'd have to be careful to find a community and setup where he'd be comfortable - I don't want him to feel resentful either.

My question is: if you moved from EY to the States, do you regret your move? Are you happy you made the move? What would you have done differently? What should I know before making such a critical decision? Am I naive, romanticizing the joy and value of living close to family? Will the drawbacks outweigh the benefits?

Imamothers in EY: please don't bash me for considering leaving EY. I love this land with all my heart - I wouldn't have been able to make it here 10 years if I didn't - but I'm just not sure that living here is the best decision for me and my family.

Thanks for reading this long post, and thanks in advance for your insights.
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amother




Brown
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 7:11 am
There's nothing to be done about missing family, but after we made aliyah, our parents retired here. Now it's the kids in the States who are missing out. Be sure to Skype etc. It's not the same, but it's something.

As for your other questions, maybe the problem is that you are living in a very closed charedi community. Some places are better than others. Or maybe you ought to consider a Torani dati leumi place. Your family is still young enough to adjust.

I certainly wouldn't move to the US without a decent job lined up. Life in large Jewish communities is very expensive. To uproot your family into poverty can't be a good idea.
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Tablepoetry




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 7:12 am
I totally get you.
I also think closeness to family is very very important. At least if you are close to your family to begin with. Not everyone is.
I can't really advise you, but you are right that now is the best time. I am assuming your oldest is under ten. It will be more difficult as the years go by, and you may find yourself with reluctant teens that refuse to move.
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amother




Turquoise
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 7:46 am
Tough.

Whenever someone with children thinks about moving the question best asked may be how happy are your children now. Socially. Academically.

In general, f your children, or majority, are happy basically then I would think twice about making any move.

If the answer is they are happy and spouse is happy and you are happy enough then I would work on being happier.

Every place has its stuff. That said, the family piece is very hard. But once one piece is changed the whole picture changes in ways that are not always possible to anticipate. And the financial piece also maybe best to simply appreciate and leave it alone.
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amother




Ruby
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 8:40 am
OP, I am not saying this to bash chareidim, just as a statement of fact. The issues of charedi society that bother you seem to exist outside of Israel also, so that doesn't have to be a factor in your decision.
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amother




Magenta
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:11 am
amother wrote:
OP, I am not saying this to bash chareidim, just as a statement of fact. The issues of charedi society that bother you seem to exist outside of Israel also, so that doesn't have to be a factor in your decision.


OP here. That's true, but not to the same extent. Certainly not in the communities that we'd consider to live in. (especially re secular education for boys, chinuch options, middos). Besides Lakewood and Williamsburg and the like, most communities are much more mixed and nuanced than those in EY. I know this as someone who grew up in one such community.
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amother




Silver
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:12 am
amother wrote:

yiras shamayim of the average person here on the street is probably significantly greater than in other communities.

1- Chareidi society and the polarization of general society.
2 - Missing family.

My husband would be very sad to leave EY, but he would do it if I felt strongly. I'd have to be careful to find a community and setup where he'd be comfortable - I don't want him to feel resentful either.

My question is: if you moved from EY to the States, do you regret your move?
Are you happy you made the move?
What would you have done differently?
What should I know before making such a critical decision?
Am I naive, romanticizing the joy and value of living close to family?
Will the drawbacks outweigh the benefits?


We lived in Yerushalayim and bought an apartment there, not expecting to ever leave. We mainly left because our child was abused by the abuse ring operating there now [if you haven't heard of that yet, ask around in the park and you will be running as fast as you can]. What we came out of from that experience was: we cannot trust the police, the government, the teachers, the community or the rabbis to make this stop now. The hefkairus that allowed this to happen is despicable. We tried everything to make it work there, but we realized it is not possible for our children to go to school anywhere there now, so we had to leave. [That is besides the point that the environment re-triggered my child every time we went outside]
Is yerushalayim holy and beautiful and amazing, YES. Does that mean I can stomach the chesronos and watch my children be ruined? NO.

After we left, we realized that we likely would have needed to leave anyway. My husband and I are both American/free spirited type people. It is very very hard to have integrated kid in Israeli society when the parents refuse to conform to dumb rules like "no long skirts" "no sports" "kids can't know science and if they do they shouldn't tell anyone" etc. As it is, with your husband having a JOB [gasp] your children will be looked at as second tier.

In addition, there is no way we would stand silent if the rebbe hit my kid in school or embarrassed him in public. Or left for 20 minutes for a coffee break, leaving 25 kids alone on a daily basis. And we weren't too happy with the strong smell of urine and lack of toilet paper in the bathrooms.

As for your specific concerns--charedi society is very very close minded, rigid, and expect your children to be tuff and independent from about age 3. The idea of fluffy, nice, individual attention, building self-esteem seemed to be a different language than the Charedi Israeli words.

As for missing family, for that alone I wouldn't do it. But that is just me.

You are very right that you need to find a community that your husband will be happy with. Don't leave until you are on the same page. Talk this out for how every long you need to.

I absolutely do not regret my move, it was the best decision we ever made. We are very very happy where we are. It is sad to think of the loss of assumed kedusha we would have had in Yerushalayim, but we will just have to make a strong home. No place is perfect, and we have to do the best we can with what we have. Abuse and extreme rigidity were not something I would choose over a little more exposure. It is very nice to live near family. It is a big deal to have involved grandparents and cousins. That would not be the deciding factor for me though.

Hatzlacha
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:18 am
Silver amother, I am not sure of you are he same person who posts about your experiences on EVERY topic with any remote connection to charedi society, Yerushalayim, etc. If so, it's really not appropriate.
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:22 am
amother wrote:
OP here. That's true, but not to the same extent. Certainly not in the communities that we'd consider to live in. (especially re secular education for boys, chinuch options, middos). Besides Lakewood and Williamsburg and the like, most communities are much more mixed and nuanced than those in EY. I know this as someone who grew up in one such community.

Hi OP. I have heard from other threads here in imamother that charedi society is much more narrow in scope here than in the US -- to the extent that the more "yeshivish" hashkafa doesn't really exist here to any large extent, and that persons following that hashkafa in the US must either conform to Israeli charedi standards or be ostracized when it comes to schools, shiduchim, etc. ((Just to clarify: I am not charedi; this is just something I have learned from these boards.)

You may be able to find a more suitable hashkafic circle in a more "American" charedi town or neighborhood in E"Y. Perhaps people here can make concrete suggestions?
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amother




Magenta
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:41 am
DrMom wrote:


You may be able to find a more suitable hashkafic circle in a more "American" charedi town or neighborhood in E"Y. Perhaps people here can make concrete suggestions?


thank you Dr. Mom.
Unfortunately we're already in a very American neighborhood, and it just doesn't seem to be enough for me. The schools and professionalism and safety standards are much better in the dati-leumi schools, but hashkafically we do not align with that lifestyle.
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amother




Magenta
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:44 am
amother wrote:

I absolutely do not regret my move, it was the best decision we ever made. We are very very happy where we are. It is sad to think of the loss of assumed kedusha we would have had in Yerushalayim, but we will just have to make a strong home. No place is perfect, and we have to do the best we can with what we have. Abuse and extreme rigidity were not something I would choose over a little more exposure. It is very nice to live near family. It is a big deal to have involved grandparents and cousins. That would not be the deciding factor for me though.

Hatzlacha


OP here. Silver amother, would you consider creating an email address so that I could contact you privately? I would really appreciate hearing more about your experience.
If not, some questions:
how old was your oldest when you moved?
how did your kids adjust?
did you have jobs lined up for you?

thanks
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amother




Aqua
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:48 am
amother wrote:
thank you Dr. Mom.
Unfortunately we're already in a very American neighborhood, and it just doesn't seem to be enough for me. The schools and professionalism and safety standards are much better in the dati-leumi schools, but hashkafically we do not align with that lifestyle.


Magenta,

I know a few people who returned to America because they didn't want to raise children in Israeli Charedi society, but are very happy back in America in Yeshivish society. (I am not in that category)
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allthingsblue




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:57 am
It's ironic. I came on imamother just now to post about how I feel like I'm selling myself and my family short by not living in Israel, but we can't move (for some of the reasons you listed, one of them being the extreme polarization). I don't need to start a thread now as I think I already got my answer- there is no utopia. Each place has its drawbacks. For me, America makes more sense, but "libi bamizrach."
If you want your husband to be happy, you should maybe try an out of town community. I think it's easier to hold onto some of the values in an out of town community (they main value being spirituality vs materialism, internal vs external).
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amother




Silver
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 11:02 am
amother wrote:

If not, some questions:
how old was your oldest when you moved?
how did your kids adjust?
did you have jobs lined up for you?
thanks


Oldest was 5
Easy adjustment because they were so little and the oldest was dying to leave
We did not have jobs set up because we were in emergency mode, but for anyone else, that's a smart thing to consider.
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amother




Magenta
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 11:06 am
allthingsblue wrote:
It's ironic. I came on imamother just now to post about how I feel like I'm selling myself and my family short by not living in Israel, but we can't move (for some of the reasons you listed, one of them being the extreme polarization). I don't need to start a thread now as I think I already got my answer- there is no utopia. Each place has its drawbacks. For me, America makes more sense, but "libi bamizrach."
If you want your husband to be happy, you should maybe try an out of town community. I think it's easier to hold onto some of the values in an out of town community (they main value being spirituality vs materialism, internal vs external).


OP here. You sound like you're a very spiritual, thinking person. I'm sure you will raise a strong family wherever you are.

What's funny is that my family is very accepted in our current community - no problem getting my kids into school, large circle of friends etc. In our community we don't have as much of those "dumb" rules (eg. all the women drive). It's more the schools - their approach to chinuch, the lack of professionalism, the questionable safety standards - that are driving me crazy.

We'd definitely consider an OOT community. After living in EY for 10 years, I don't think I could handle the materialism and standards in some of the more in-town places.
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SacN




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 12:46 pm
We live in Israel and have no plans to move back (but wouldn't not consider it, down the line, if circumstances changed). Just so you get where I'm coming from.

We live out of town by Israeli (charedi) standards, and while we do have some of the societal issues you mentioned (littering, butting in line), people have a very live and let live attitude that we think is the exception rather than the rule in Israel. We are American yeshivaish (my husband works), and we are respected here and haven't needed to change that much to fit in. The Bais Yaakov has literally all types (even some srugies and mothers who wear mitpachot with hair showing), and there's a boys school option that's mamlachti charedi, and has all the secular subjects. Not everyone sends there, it's true, but it's a respected option. Men wear back packs and grey pants, women wear sneakers (or sandals), long skirts, mitpachot, longer sheitels, whatever.

Yes, it's culturally different than American yeshivaish, certainly. Yes, we're far from family (but we personally like it that way, we're baalei techuva), yes, my kids Hebrew will be far better than their English probably and they will be much more Israeli than a Ramat eshkol or rbs kid.
But maybe just a more suitable location would be better? Inside of Israel? I'm not advertising my community specifically, unless you want me to, but just saying that maybe outside the box here works too...

The reasons we don't see leaving are financial, and the idea of starting fresh with building careers, etc just sounds so hard.
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cityofgold




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 1:21 pm
I'd love to hear where you live, SacN. I have a lot of similar dilammas as the OP, and I've wondered if it's better "out of town."
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 9:41 pm
We've been in Israel less than a year, so that that for what it's worth. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but honestly I've never been so happy in my life.

You sound like you've been thinking about this very hard and very logically, and are seriously considering all sides of the issues. IMHO, your kids should be your deciding factor.

School has been a rough adjustment for DD, and DH still commutes for work and travels often. We're OOT, in Nahariya. We have charedi values, but we are individualist enough to know that we'd suffocate in a conformist environment. Where we lived is very much as mixed as any OOT community in America, and we are extremely comfortable with the social situation. DD likes being in a dati/torani school, where she has a little wiggle room to grow and explore, without being shoved in a box. I like to be able to leave the house in a long dress and colorful tichel without feeling judged.

It's the little things that add up, and can either make you feel freer, or grind your down. All I can say is, daven for clarity, and daven HARD.
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amother




Cerulean
 

Post Mon, May 23 2016, 10:36 pm
amother wrote:
OP here. That's true, but not to the same extent. Certainly not in the communities that we'd consider to live in. (especially re secular education for boys, chinuch options, middos). Besides Lakewood and Williamsburg and the like, most communities are much more mixed and nuanced than those in EY. I know this as someone who grew up in one such community.

Unfortunately things in the main US towns not just Lakewood have become just as polarizing and all the other things you want to avoid.

I would love to move to israel to avoid all that and the materialism here.
My main concern is the schooling there especially Bc my kids are gentle souls.

There is no utopia although I'd love
To hear where the other poster lives. Good luck in your decision and thanks for sharing it's actually making me more want to make the dream true...
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SacN




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, May 24 2016, 1:18 am
Uh oh...
I don't mean to say where I live is utopian. It's very Israeli, which is hard for a lot of anglos. It's urban, so if you like a quiet clean sprawling neighborhood, it's not for you. The charedi community is smaller, within a general out of town neighborhood, and we see cars on shabbos, I have neighbors who use the elevator.
I have a good friend who is moving away soon, feeling that my neighborhood has been a big disappointment. We feel very blessed to have found it, and are happy/okay with some of the things that greatly bothered my friend and her husband.

I'm not saying anyone should move here, I was just suggesting that the op think about an Israeli out of town community, as we did, and are happy with.

Anyone who wants information about where I live is welcome to pm me, but I'm very cautious about presenting it as perfect. It's not. No place is. Right now, it's perfect for us.
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