Aliyah or Aliyoops: Welcome to the Twilight Zone

By Sam Minskoff, Ph.D.

Many Olim (Jewish immigrants) can attest to the observation that Israel is a completely different world than the “adopted” countries that they were born and raised in.  This reality seems to seep in or come crashing down after a time when the reality sets in that the holiday is over and now it is time to get on with the business of everyday…living whatever that is? Many come with hopes and dreams and well thought out plans; as well as the usual expected timetables to carry everything out successfully!

Aliyoop! The discovery is soon made that living in the Promised Land is not as predictable and so readily fitting into the best laid plans, as one would have hoped.

The ensuing struggle starts with the question; what on earth have I done??  The noble conflict now begins between what is lacking and what is different

The plans that went astray can yield discouragement, hopelessness and a sense of utter loss.  After all, it’s been twelve months since arriving in Israel and there is no sign of the highly expected results that should have conformed to my well-laid plans. What happens now?

The newly analyzed ‘loss’ can become more acceptable when reference is made to adjusting to the ‘Big Change’.

Accordingly, there’s no cause for anxiety! After a significant length of time, things will seemingly fall into place in ways that are totally unexpected and in fact, downright surprising.  Change tends to bring about change in its own wake; that is, the Oleh/Olah changes with the new surroundings as opposed to the surroundings changing to fit the individual.

Now ‘what is different‘ is experienced as something gained rather than lost. Consider this, one can gain or develop into adulthood rather than loose one’s childhood. Beginnings are challenging to be sure; especially the ones that bring about feelings of loss, grief and frustration. However, now its possible to see that rather than face a seemingly insurmountable hurdle, new opportunities are in fact presenting themselves on a regular basis.


Meanwhile, time continues to go by, often at a fast pace. Yet much is still happening, and every day can seem highly eventful, once the ‘Big Change’ adjustment has occurred.

In fact more than enough happens—a week can feel like a whole season in a good, intense and enriched way.  Even just going to the post office and back home can seem like an adventure (not an ordeal).  Ordeals become realized as adventures in disguise.  The earlier hopes and dreams can now return with an unusual joyful twist, never experienced before. The unexpected becomes real which leads on to the actualization of hopes and dreams becoming a way of life.  Regret turns into gratitude.

How can this be happening?  Welcome to the Twilight Zone!

Israel now becomes the Twilight Zone, ‘land of the Impossible’… where the most unlikely dreams can come true. So what does it take? The answer is something that may be for many, far more valuable than money. Time! Yes, Israel, alias the Twilight Zone is all about time and enjoying wrestling with the changes that time brings. Consider the words as Rod Serling,  Z”l,  so perfectly expressed it:

You unlock this door with the key of imagination; beyond it is another dimension; a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance of things and ideas. You have just crossed over into ‘THE TWILIGHT ZONE’.

This all can mean that the Twilight Zone does not really have to be the dark and scary dimension of never ending nightmares…although it can be for those in a hurry who tend to give up too soon. What is too soon? It is the place in the mind where the words echo ‘give up before ‘it is too late’. I’m sure we’ve all been there in some way or another? Accordingly how can we answer our nagging doubts as to exactly…what is too late’?  This is the real big question…the choice of giving up before it is too late can mean getting caught up in just shadow alone, rather than a better blend of both shadow and substance. In another words, we can get caught up in the shadow of darkness built on our earlier fears after seeing our initial plans not work out entirely as expected, or we can factor in the reality of substance…new and exciting events, which given a chance can more than compensate for trying to live life according to our own plans set in stone!   

In this new-enlightened state of affairs, the returning Jew can now find satisfaction, fulfillment and a true sense of directed purpose that surpasses all previous, carefully calculated plans.

It can be a simple matter of time free of fear, which can pay off in ways that the Jew returning to Israel after thousands of years in exile, had never thought or dreamed could be possible.

Dr. Sam Minskoff is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Jerusalem providing psychological services to the English speaking community.  His services entail; Individual, Couple, Family Psychotherapy, Clinical Consulting, child abuse issues, Psycho-diagnostic Testing and Evaluations as well as specializing in depression, anxiety disorders and those issues pertaining to the Aliyah process. 

Contact Details: Email him at   or by phone (0972) 05 4203 1951

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