Real Life Stories and Experiences of Yidden Settling in Eretz Yisroel.
Above & Beyond “Normal”: Life in Eretz Yisroel.
Our family made “aliyah” from the U.S. to Ramat Beit Shemesh about six years ago. I was born in Highland Park, NJ but I grew up in Baltimore, whereas my wife originates from Maryland.
Moving to Eretz Hakodesh has given us a tremendous opportunity, both physically and spiritually. We were making regular yearly visits to Israel for a while, as my wife’s mother is buried here. On one such occasion, we decided to jump in and just stay here for good!
One of the main reasons we took “the plunge” to move was due to the clear rising signs of anti-Semitism in America and the world at large. There is much worry about what the future will bring. It is clearly a hundred percent the yad Hashem Who controls every aspect of the political scene and we hope and daven that it will continue to be positive for Eretz Yisroel.
We chose to move to Beit Shemesh, in particular, as we have family (my wife’s brother) living locally in the area. The English-speaking community of Beit Shemesh also eased the transition, by providing an awesome support system, whereby we felt that we were embraced as one big, loving family. The chessed is really incredible; after a baby, the whole community joins in to send Shabbos meals.
Our children attend the dati mamlachti school system here, as the charedi school last-minute had no room. However, we are extremely happy and satisfied with every aspect of their education, with children at every stage from gan age right through until yeshivah. From the start, they have been surrounded by great friends, in a safe and secure environment, and have totally blossomed. One of my sons has chosen to attend yeshivah up in North, and has adapted nicely to the lifestyle and is thriving on his experiences, which he wouldn’t otherwise have had.
I work remotely for someone abroad, and assist my wife with her computer repair business. I also have been involved in various other business opportunities.
Generally, people here are more than happy to advise you when setting up a business. Lots of useful pointers are available through different WhatsApp and Facebook groups. Many Israelis and chutznikim are more than delighted to be of assistance, especially those chutzikim that have navigated through this themselves. I, myself, have learnt several valuable lessons along the way that I’d like to share.
When moving here, it is crucial to do so because you really want to be here; you can make a nice living but as a foreigner it’s gonna be hard to make “big bucks.” Also, it is naïve to think that you will “change your whole life” when you move here; you must be aware that your natural way of life will not change. If you do open a business, be particular with taxes and the laws of mas hachnasa, they play by the rules over here. Likewise, it is equally important to learn exactly what the banking norms are and the way things operate in Eretz Hakodesh. Lastly, although finances obviously prove challenging at times, every week we are blessed that, somehow, we have what we need. Things do not naturally add up here; everything is directed above nature in this holy place. Somehow things come together, totally guided by a Higher Power.
Being a Hatzalah volunteer here has also been a very inspiring experience. From seeing the way that Yom Kippur was treated with such universal respect when on duty at that time, and how all the roads are totally empty. Working for Hatzalah has affected both my character and my identity as I am known sometimes, as the computer man and at others, as the Hatzalah man. Actually, on one occasion, I was called by somebody to fix their computer and ended up treating a member of the immediate family for a medical emergency at the same time.
There are many other extremely special and unique aspects that I love about living in Eretz Yisroel. This includes being in a country where the atmosphere is exclusively Jewish and where its calendar totally revolves around the Jewish chaggim. The yomim tovim evoke an exclusive community feeling that is felt across the whole land. For instance, many shops are closed at these times and chol hamoed is celebrated in the spirit of that specific chag. Multiple simchas beis hasho’eivos take place on every night of Succos. The joy of Purim lasts the whole week long and more. The seasons of the Holy Land are totally in synch with its festivals, as is seen in the way the apple-picking season coincides with Rosh Hashanah, and how the olive season comes right before Chanukah, when we use olive oil.
We also have the unparalleled zechus of being able to visit sites that are unique to Eretz Yisroel, like Chevron and Yerushalayim, as we live in close enough vicinity to be able to do so!
Hashem’s loving Presence is felt more openly here in the Holy Land. We saw this clearly for ourselves when one of our children accidentally pulled a bookcase onto herself. It could have been serious, but amazingly there was a table in the way that prevented more severe damage. This is just one of many daily examples of divine hashgacha pratis at work here. The most absolutely zaniest things happen to show that we are rewarded for making Eretz Hakodesh our Homeland!
D. C. Ramat Beit Shemesh
This article is part of our Haaretz Hatovah series featuring Yidden living in, settling, and building up Eretz Yisroel. For more info please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit naavakodesh.org/haaretz-hatovah