I am planning to make Aliyah with my family in the near future, I"Y"H. At this point, however, I have not determined where to live or what to do when we get there. I have been Shomer Torah Mitzvot ("baal teshuva") for ten years but still cannot learn in Loshon Kodesh independantly. I also have three small children who depend on me. Although I have a Rav here in the U.S., I am afraid to ask his for his ruling on this matter as he may tell me to stay in Chutz L’Aretz. My questions are: 1. How should I decide where to live? 2. Should I pursue learning for a period of time to improve my skills or immediately begin working?
Shalom and Birkat HaShem, The answer to the question where to live is, of course, Yerushalayim. She is the city to which all Jews "make Aliyah," and our aspiration is to reach the highest level possible of Kedusha. However, it is not possible for everyone to live in Yerushalayim. This is due to the great expense of living in Yerushalayim and the need to be comfortable socially. After Yerushalayim, the next consideration is to try to do everything in your power to benefit of Am Yisrael. Therefore, you must decide how your Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael will have the greatest influence. There's a very good possibility that one of the settlements in Yehuda or the Shomron (Judea and Sumaria) is a suitable place. Choosing a place that will cause your Aliyah to have a positive influence on Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael as a whole will give your Aliyah an additional merit. Concerning learning before beginning work: it is my opinion that we should favor following the Torah's guidance and divide time between work and learning. Therefore, you should find a place to learn for a few hours during the day or at night, thereby strengthening your spiritual level while working to strengthen the settlement of Eretz Yisrael. We wish you a smooth and easy Aliyah and hope that you will overcome the difficulties with ease, and that your Aliyah will be the best possible. Sincerely, HaRav Yehuda HaLevi Amihai We recommend that you look at the websites of Amana, an organization which provides information about housing in settlements, and Tehila, a religious English-speaking organization that assists olim in a variety of ways.