ARZA, Reform Jews, Reform JBCs and Aliyah

I have so much to say after attending the ARZA event at my shul last night, but little to no time to say it in.

1. I got a good response when I asked about the problem/challenge of second home aliyah creating ghost towns in areas of Jerusalem.

A. Rabbi Stanley Davids, and his wife Resa, agreed that ghost towns created by second homes in Israel is a problem. However, they hope that the newly passed “flex aliyah” will make it possible for people to spend more time in Israel. Big decider for many people is health care and access to insurance. Flex Aliyah will make it possible to get medical care in Israel, without having to commit to 12 months.

B. Resa mentioned seeing a blog post about second home owners renting out their places at low-cost to students, to keep the neighborhoods active and alive while owner isn’t in Israel. I feel like that was a post on Jewlicious, but I can’t remember. I know it is a conversation I had with people when I was there. Anyone recall?

2. I got two good perspectives on getting an orthodox conversion before making aliyah.

A. Let the establishment of the Reform movement do the fighting, but don’t let the fight bog down your life. Find an Orthodox Rabbi that has a good relationship with your Reform Rabbi and do another mikvah. You are needed in Israel, but you don’t need to fight the conversion rights fight alone.

B. If a Reform convert chooses not to get an Orthodox conversion pre-Aliyah, they can still make Aliyah and get all the benefits. However, a reform convert can’t marry in Israel. You’ll have to play the game another way, by marrying outside of Israel.

3. Shira, the current regional director of Israel Aliyah Center for the midwest, seemed very nice and extremely willing to help.

I didn’t decide anything, but I certainly have a better grasp of rights as a Reform Jew By Choice with regards to Aliyah. Yes, it counts for Aliyah. No, it doesn’t count for getting married in Israel.

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