Faces of Aliyah 10-11-11

Who has made aliyah from YOUR state? JointMedia News Service gets the faces and stories behind olim from around North America. If your newspaper is interested, email jkamaras@jns.org and we will find your local olim!

(Download this story in Microsoft Word format here.) 

Click photo to download. Caption: Yocheved Golani

Name: Yocheved Golani

Age: 56

Hometown: Oak Park, Mich.

High School: Oak Park High School

Lives in: Beit Shemesh

Occupation: Writer

Why did you make aliyah?

Hashem commanded us to live in the Holy Land, gave it to us as a gift and every chag (holiday) is related to life in Israel.

What do you love most about living in Israel? 

The beauty of the land, the diversity of the population and the delicious homegrown food.

Describe a neat place you’ve discovered in Israel that you wouldn’t have found as a tourist.

The Chashmonite-era archaeology dig I worked on in my own town of Beit Shemesh.

What advice do you have for people who are considering aliyah?

Learn Hebrew day by day, practice patience until you get it right, brings lots of cash and as few belongings as possible. Most of your furniture won’t fit in Israeli homes anyway.

“Only in Israel” moments:

1. A bus driver who retraced his route to take me to the street I’d missed—the one with my new home!

2. Sending a taxi driver with a cash-filled envelope to my sofer many miles/kilometers away so I could buy a much-needed mezuza to replace the one suddenly missing from my mirpeset (balcony)—Israelis are not allowed to go one day without a mezuzah—and getting change for the fare upon his successful return.

3. Volunteering at Hadasa Ein Kerem Wellness Center where I meet patients from around the world who are grateful for the innovative, life-saving therapies benefiting them.

Click photo to download. Caption: Martha Fischer.

Name: Martha Fischer

Age: 63

Hometown: West Hartford, Conn.

High School: Floral Park Memorial High School

College: University of Rochester, Boston University

Lives in: Tel Aviv

Occupation: Retired

Why did you make aliyah?

My children and grandchildren live here. I love Israel. My husband and I have made a countless number of trips here. We tried making aliyah over 40 years ago. The circle is now complete.

What do you love most about living in Israel?

I feel a part of the Jewish people. I think, that just by living in Israel, one is making history. I also get to see my kids and grandkids much more often than I would’ve in the States.

Describe a neat place you’ve discovered in Israel that you wouldn't have found as a tourist.

Tel Aviv’s bakeries and their wonderful bread.

What advice do you have for people who are considering aliyah?

Don't bring too much stuff. Apartments are small. But bring needed furniture, though, because furniture is expensive. Join Nefesh B'nefesh's list server to find the answers to questions you never thought to ask. Business lunches in restaurants are a bargain!

“Only in Israel” moments:

1. A friend observed a beggar giving a poorer beggar some of his money.

2. The bus driver raised the volume of the radio on the hour so everyone could hear the news.

3. Bicyclists and motorbikes riding on the same busy pedestrian sidewalks as you.

Click photo to download. Caption: Vicki Raun

Name: Vicki Raun

Age: 59

Hometown: San Diego

High school: Sweetwater High School (National City, CA)

College: Skidmore

Lives in: Jerusalem

Occupation: Student

Why did you make aliyah?

I feel more comfortable here.

What do you love most about living in Israel?

The produce.

Describe a neat place you’ve discovered in Israel that you wouldn’t have found as a tourist.

My neighborhood—Katamonim—has tiny pocket parks and paths connecting the parks.

What advice do you have for people who are considering aliyah?

Don't look at things with your “Old Country” eyes - take a fresh look and find what you didn't expect to see!

“Only in Israel” moments:

1. The night I lost my cell phone and got on the wrong bus, the driver at the end of his shift, went out of his way to drop me off near home.

2. Yom Kippur night—all the kids racing around on bikes and scooters and the great feeling of a city with no cars.

3. Hearing music, not bells, from local schools in the morning.

Click photo to download. Caption: Rachel Stern

Name: Rachel Stern

Age: 52

Hometown: Teaneck, NJ and Baltimore, Md.

High School: Kingston High School

College: Fashion Institute of Technology/Empire State

Lives in: Hashmonaim (Ramat Modim)

Occupation: Donor Systems Manager / Non-profit specialist

Why did you make aliyah?

1. It is the greatest mitzvah a Jew can do 2. To be close to my daughter and her family. 3. To be close to my sister and her family 4. Likvod my late husband, for his memory. 5. Because I love Israel—the land and the people.

What do you love most about living in Israel?

Right now, I am still an olah chadashah, have only been here one month. I am enjoying all the challenges and overcoming them. And I love the people here and dealing with them and all the smiles I get to give and to receive.

Describe a neat place you’ve discovered in Israel that you wouldn’t have found as a tourist.

Well, I have to say that as a tourist I would not participate in an ulpan (Hebrew language academy). The ulpan at Maccabiim (Modiin) is wonderful and the teachers are meah chuz (100 percent).

What advice do you have for people who are considering aliyah?

Come with an open mind, with a positive mind-set, and yes, do be realistic, but lower your expectations. Smile at everyone—they are your mirrors in life.

“Only in Israel” moments:

1. I had gone to the Misrad HaPnim and Meches in Haifa (they are close to one another) and I parked in a lot with a fee. I lost the ticket and had resigned myself to having to pay the full day fee. Upon exiting the lot and approaching the teller at the gate, I explained my situation. She asked how long I had been there, and I said two hours and she charged me for two hours. And gave me a receipt.

2. I went to Meches (customs) to open a file with them. It took less than one minute and I was done.

3. My shipper “lost” five of my boxes, but had attempted to deliver four that were not mine. I read the label on those and was able to contact another customer of my shipper and ascertain that he did, indeed, have my boxes. We are switching them.

Click photo to download. Caption: David Mozes.

Name: David Mozes

Age: 64

Hometown: New York City

High School: Newtown High School

College: SUNY Stony Brook

Lives in: Nahariya

Occupation: Psychoanalyst (retired)

Why did you make aliyah?

I am a Jew. I am a Zionist.

What do you love most about living in Israel? 

I am living amongst Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.

Describe a neat place you’ve discovered in Israel that you wouldn’t have found as a tourist.

The goat cheese store and restaurant on Moshav Ben Ami.

What advice do you have for people who are considering aliyah?

Come home now!

“Only in Israel” moments:

1. Walking down the street to the Mediterranean Sea every day.

2. Eating hummus at Dani’s in Nahariya.

3. Being in Kikar Rabin with my daughter on Yom Hazikaron.

Posted on November 11, 2011 and filed under Faces of Aliyah.