Making Aliyah. What is Aliyah?
Hebrew: מהי עלייה לארץ ישראל
Aliyah. What is Aliyah? The word Aliyah literally means to “go up”. It also refers to the process of immigration to Eretz Yisrael – The promised land of Israel.
The word “Aliyah” is also used in reference to Jewish prayer services, where a man is called and “goes up” to read and bless a portion of the Jewish law in the synagogue. We are not going to be discussing this aspect of Aliyah.
If you are reading this article, you are probably considering making Aliyah to Israel, or have just made aliyah to Israel, planning a visit or are just interested in the culture and Israeli life-style. No matter who you are and what your interest in Israel is, there are a number of aspects, concepts and terminology used when discussing Aliyah and living in Israel.
Aliyah is a process and it is used in conjunction with the Hebrew word “Klitah” or absorption. A successful Aliyah means that you have successfully been absorbed, and integrated, into Israeli society and life-style.
A person who makes Aliyah is called an “Oleh” – someone who goes up. It refers to a single person. Two or more people, a family or a group who have made Aliyah are called “Olim” – the plural of Oleh.
If you are a new immigrant, and have been in Israel for less than 5 - 10 years, you are generally referred to as an “Oleh Hadash” (Hadash meaning “new”). The concept behind this is that you are still in the learning process and finding your feet in Israel..
If you have been in for more than 10 years, and less than 15, you graduate and become an Oleh. You are no longer an Oleh Hadash.
If you have been in Israel for more than 15 years, you are called a “Vatik” – a veteran resident. If you are a Vatik it is accepted that you have a full understanding of how things work in Israel.
If you have been in Israel for more than 30 years (give or take a few), you are a “Vatik, vatik” – an old veteran resident. You are fully integrated, experienced and can teach the next generation a thing or two.
Hebrew is a complicated language, with feminine and masculine verbs and nouns. The word Oleh is masculine and if you are a woman, you are an Olah.
Oleh Hadash is the masculine and Olah Hadasha is the feminine. A family, a mixed group of male and female immigrants are referred to as “Olim Hadashim”.
Vatik is masculine and Vatika is feminine. The plural word for a mixed group is “Vatikim”
Vatik, vatik is masculine and of course if you are a woman, you would be called a Vatika, vatika. The plural, for a mixed group would therefore be “Vatikim, vatikim”.
When a new immigrant arrives in Israel, he/she is given a document called a “Teudat Oleh” – a document proving that you are an Oleh Hadash. As an Oleh Hadash, you have certain rights and are entitled to numerous benefits – these rights and benefits are called “Z’chu’yot Oleh”. Try to think of them as privileges rather than rights. For the most part these rights and benefits take the form of financial assistance and you will be receiving them through the good grace of millions of Israeli tax-payers and the Jewish community around the world.
Heaven forbid, spit 3 times, you decide, after making Aliyah, to leave Israel, you will be called a "Yored" and that process is called "Yerida" – going down.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the concept of Aliyah, and want to know more, navigate this website for tips and information that will make your Klitah easy.
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