Rejoicing on Aliyah Day

Rejoicing on Aliyah Day

Credit:(Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)

I never thought that I would move to Israel. When my husband and I got married, moving half-way across the world was the furthest thing from my mind. I had grown in Chicago my entire life. I went to college in New York and we had chosen New Jersey as the place where we would make our home. But as we started to make plans for the future and thought about starting a family, something felt very wrong.

Out of nowhere it hit me: This was not where I belonged! My body might have been in the US but my soul was telling me that it belonged in Israel. Like God called to Abraham in Genesis 12, telling him to leave everything behind – his country, his home, his family, and his culture – I felt God calling me home to Israel. It was like God got a hold of my heart and would not let go.

God opened my eyes and I knew exactly what I had to do. I had prayed the same traditional prayers that my people have prayed for 2,000 years, ever since we were exiled from Israel. I prayed that God would return us to Jerusalem, to our homeland. And now, I was living in the generation that got to see it.

We are blessed to be able to live this prophecy. How could I turn my back on the prayers of my grandparents and great-grandparents? It was impossible for them to make aliyah (move to Israel), though they longed to with all their heart. How could I forfeit the opportunity?

Two weeks later, my husband and I boarded a plane headed for the Holy Land.

The days and hours leading up to our flight were a bit scary. How would I leave my friends and family? What would we do when we got there? There were a lot of unknowns. But once the plane touched down in Israel, I felt at ease immediately. I knew in my heart of hearts that I had made the right decision. I knew that I was home.

These days, when I see Jewish people come home on The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagles Freedom Flights, I know that this is God’s plan for all Jews. Just like Isaiah prophesized in the Bible, Christians are bringing Jews to Israel: “they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips” (Isaiah 49:22).

For thousands of years this prophecy seemed utterly impossible and now we are seeing the impossible become reality.

Not every Jewish person comes to Israel like I did – as a choice, as the fulfillment of a dream. As I witness through The Fellowship’s work, so many Jews come from countries where life is no longer safe for them. They come from Arab countries where they fear for their life, from Ukraine where they are plagued by poverty, and from so many other countries where anti-Semitism is dangerously on the rise.

I thank God that together, we are able to bring these Jews home. When they get here, they are welcomed with open arms. Israel is the only country in the world that celebrates its immigrants.

This week, synagogues around the world will read the Torah portion that speaks of Abraham’s journey to Israel. We will celebrate Aliyah Day on October 15th in recognition of the millions of Jews who have made their own journey to Israel. Because when Jewish people come home to Israel, it’s not just immigration; it’s the fulfillment of prophecy and the fruition of a long awaited dream.


More From Yael's Holy Land Reflections

Yael's Holy Land Reflections

Finding the Forgotten

With tens of thousands of elderly Holocaust survivors alone and in need of help, we will never stop searching and caring for these forgotten Jews who mean the world to us.

Yael's Holy Land Reflections

Father’s Day Without My Father

I was blessed to have a father like Rabbi Eckstein, and I pray that I can follow his example as an effective leader, humble servant of God, and loving parent. But this Father’s Day I will also give thanks for our heavenly Father, who loves us with an everlasting love for all of eternity.

Yael's Holy Land Reflections

Celebrating Our Common Ground

As the Jewish people celebrate Shavuot — also known as Pentecost — and God’s gift of His Word, Yael also thanks Him for the millions of Christians who both cherish the Bible and stand with the Jewish people.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.