Being that most of my relatives live in Israel, and that I have been to Israel numerous times as a child, I naturally have toyed with the idea of eventually making Aliyah. However, now B”H raising a family of my own, other considerations come into play. Aside from getting all parties to agree to move (most of my wifes’ family lives here in Toronto), another issue is financial.
No, I’m not that worried about whether nor not I will find a job. Thank Gd I feel skilled enough as a web programmer/developer and Search Engine Optimizer to land a job anywhere. That’s not my issue. My issue is whether or not the money earned (which is a lot less) will be enough to sustain my current lifestyle.
I have been warned by friends who are recent Olim, and family, that I should expect to earn about half what I earn in Canada. In some cases people had to go as low as taking a 75% cut. And the prices are not all relative. The only savings are in rent and education (at $300/month per child).
Also, in a recent article in the Jewish Press, Steve Waltz  brings this harsh reality close to home by breaking down the numbers. The average worker, meaning teachers, social workers, and civil servants, earns about $2,250/month, which translates into $27,000/year. Next, 40% goes straight to Netanyahu’s pocket. A $17,000 car comes to about $35,000, and don’t think about living in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, where rent is exorbitant.
So here’s how I see a sample breakdown of earnings and expenses per month:
- Earnings after taxes ($2,250 * 60%): $1,350
- Donations from generous relatives in Chutz La’Aretz: N/A
- Rent: $800
- Yeshiva/child: $300
- Food: $400
A $4 box of Cereal will cost about $6, whereas Chumus is reportedly cheap as anything. Lots of Israelis therefore will eat salad for breakfast
- Car Insurance: N/A
- Cellphone/Internet bills: N/A
- Heating/Air Conditioning: N/A
- Toys, Electronic expenses: N/A
- Business Dealings with Israelis: Priceless.
Nefesh B’Nefesh can start you off, but eventually you are on your own.
There’s a reason why they say it’s a big Mitzvah to live in Israel. It’s no picnic trying to make ends meet. If one chooses to move, money certainly cannot be a motivator.