Real Life Stories and Experiences of Yidden Settling in Eretz Yisroel.
Our Aliyah story is a bit different than others. I guess I can say that we clearly saw Hashem leading us here, as it was not something that was on our radar screen at all. I grew up in Pittsburgh and after marriage moved to Lakewood where my husband learned in Kollel while I worked. As our family grew, so did our appreciation of family relationships, but it was all long-distance and infrequent visits; I did not have married siblings at the time, and my parents were out of the way in Pittsburgh. My husband’s family, however, had all made Aliyah, and by the time we had four children we made up our minds – we wanted to be near them. We considered the pros and cons, and decided that as long as I would be able to find a job, we could put it together. Happily, my boss told me I could continue my computer programming position with them while living in Eretz Yisroel. I didn’t worry further as I knew that many have such arrangements.
We contacted Nefesh b’Nefesh and although they were very helpful, there was still plenty for us to do. We made a pilot trip, which also served as a job hunt because the day after we sent our lift, I was told that unfortunately, I would not be able to work long distance after all! I made many inquiries, and although I did not get a solid job offer, we were still ready to come and count on Hashem’s continued guidance. The next few weeks were a flurry of shopping, packing, and paperwork. We arrived at the airport with 18 suitcases, 6 carry-ons and 6 personal bags! BH our flight went well, and we really appreciated the NBN welcome committee at the airport! Equally impressive was the welcome we enjoyed from neighbors and family. Our apartment wasn’t ready, and amazingly a neighbor we only met when we arrived offered to store our luggage in their apartment. We spent the next couple of days with a sister-in-law, and then began getting furniture and appliances, with the guidance and advice of many.
Pesach was a beautiful Yom Tov spent with family, and shortly thereafter we were zocheh to my getting offered a great job! My employer heard about me through Nefesh b’Nefesh, and their office is a 20-30 minute drive from my home. It is a frum company doing legal transcription; although they employ many legal transcribers who work from home, there is a pleasant office atmosphere.
We’ve been living in Kiryat Sefer for nearly four years. When we came, our b’chor – almost six – began Mechina (precedes first grade); BH he did fine, although he benefited from some tutoring the following year. The younger ones needed even less adjusting; they love school and by now speak to me in Ivrit. I get by, my Ivrit is good enough for figuring out all the bureaucratic stuff and learning how to shop. One thing that makes my life easier is having a car – I need one to get to my job, as that route is not part of the regular bus service. My husband learns in a kollel, and he appreciates the variety in learning styles, and the many kollelim from which to choose. When we first came, he joined the kollel his brother-in-law was in and it was a good starting place. After a while , with the help of friends, he found a kollel more suited to his needs and BH he is shteiging well.
Socially, I love it. We can go to the park almost every day, and have a choice of several within a five-ten minute walk from our home. There are many nice and friendly neighbors, as well as an English speaking young Neshei – their meetings helped me meet other Americans so I have both Israeli and chutznik friends. They welcomed us and invited us to their homes for Shabbos, and after I had a baby they organized meals! Getting together with family for Bar Mitzvas, Yomim Tovim and chofesh is a delight. We very much enjoy the cousins growing up together. And icing on the cake… my brothers learning in yeshiva come to visit! However, I must admit that I see that for people who don’t have family here it is a big mesirus nefesh.
Another attraction: here in Eretz Yisroel they really care. Even birthing is a family/friendly experience. In hospitals in America, you are isolated in your room and you are offered meals, medicine, etc. Here you eat together in a dining room and although you must go to the nurses for what you need, there is more simcha and understanding – and of course fresh kosher food is great! Much of the staff is frum and I found them to be competent, understanding. If you come to an appointment late, they may yell but you will get what you need, versus in America, they are very polite but not very helpful.
To sum up, here I can take advantage of the ruchnius all around, living in a wonderfully inspiring frum community, with classes, and events for women. While it certainly took strength and support from the community and family, it has truly been a wonderful move for us.
-Shoshana Zimmerman – Kiryat Sefer
Written By Tova Younger
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