Monday, March 15, 2021

Because It's Israel: An Aliyah Odyssey, Book Review

Because It's Israel: An Aliyah Odyssey by Arthur Miller is his wonderful saga of how he and his wife ended up in Israel after successful careers in the the states. Miller is a wonderful story teller, honest and humorous.

Having myself made Aliyah a half century ago the easy way, just after our wedding, I always admire those who pack themselves up and change their lives drastically the way the Millers did. Only one of their four children lives in Israel, and they chose to live near her family. Since their Aliyah in 2004, they or their American children and grandchildren now have to fly to see each other.

Miller tells us that their original plan was to make aliyah as a young family, but unfortunately his law profession didn't transfer easily at the time. So instead of raising their family in Israel they ended up raising them in Worcester, Massachusetts, which has a very small percentage of Orthodox Jews. From what Miller alludes to in his book, he played a very large and important role in Worcester. 

"Because it's Israel" was the excuse Miller would hear whenever something seemed strange or illogical. Unlike many, Miller doesn't complain, he just shrugs his shoulders very Israeli-like and repeats the mantra: 

"Because it's Israel"

In Chapter 16, "It Pays to be a Senior," Miller is surprised that his friends couldn't get a senior discount, because they're not Israeli citizens. He wrote that he's sure such discrimination doesn't happen in the United States. I'm sorry to say that in the USA American citizen seniors, if they're expats aren't given senior discounts. During a visit to the states a few years ago, my American passport wasn't accepted as proof of age. I needed proof of residence. American citizenship wasn't enough.

The Millers' aliyah saga includes a lot of "little" and great miracles. The really great miracle is that they lived to come to Israel, since both had serious health emergencies a short while before their target date. Another is that they were able to purchase the exact type of home they had wanted at the exact location, when nothing suitable was actually for sale.

Getting their driving licenses converted to Israeli ones and also buying their first car in Israel certainly needed Arthur Miller's law talents. Because It's Israel: An Aliyah Odyssey is full of amazing little stories. Chapters are short, and it's a pleasant read. 

Because It's Israel: An Aliyah Odyssey is a great book to give anyone thinking of aliyah. I'd also recommend it to those of us who've made aliyah before of after the Millers. I enjoyed reading a book about an aliyah which is so very different from my own.

Product details

  • Publisher : JewishSelfPublishing (May 14, 2019)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 246 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9657041015
  • ISBN-13 : 978-9657041017
  • Item Weight : 11.9 ounces
  • Dimensions : 6 x 0.52 x 9 inches

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