Real Life Stories and Experiences of Yidden Settling in Eretz Yisroel.
One theme that I have kept to throughout my life is to keep moving, always growing. I grew up in Passaic, NJ and as I grew older I moved toward the chassidishe groups; on Shabbos I wear a shtreimel. I am comfortable with all kinds – modern Young Israel, Yeshivish and of course with Chassidishe. I learned in a mesivta in Lakewood for high school, summers found me in Camp Dora Golding, then I went to Eretz Yisroel for some more serious learning… wherever I was, I was involved with the Klal and Yiddishkeit – and I always wanted to keep growing, reaching for the next level.
My wife and I married in 2005. Like many others, we came to Eretz Yisroel as a young couple. I learned in Kollel for a year, and then we moved back to the USA. I was thrust into the “real world” and into business. When our first child was born, I felt myself propelled into the rat race of work; although I realized it wasn’t who I really was, I didn’t see that I had a choice. I didn’t feel like I was planning my future, it just seemed to be automatic.
In 2010 I returned to EY on a Lag B’omer trip. Upon my arrival, I called my wife and told her, “We’re moving back here!” “You’ll come back and calm down” was her response. She was definitely right but when I came back again in 2011, I told her, “Really! This is it!” And it was. When my third daughter was born in 2012, we were preparing for this next stage in earnest. Nefesh B’Nefesh helped us plan our Aliyah, scheduled for July 2014. Suddenly we were here! We hit the ground running, with just one focus: To continue growing in everything, b‘ruchnius, and b’gashmius. We were working on becoming better people, Yidden, learning better, raising up our family… At last I was truly working on my core essence: Growth!
Together with some like minded individuals, we established a small yeshiva, Yeshivas Borchi Nafshi. Of course it is a work in progress, but it is my passion. It is who I am and what I do and I truly believe that the best place is right here. Klal Yisroel started here and will end up here, so I am passionate about living here and encouraging others to do the same. Similarly, my wife is an Em Bayit in Sharfmans, where she has the privilege of having a positive impact on the seminary girls.
B”H we have five daughters and they are doing very well in a rather new, unique school – Bnos Hadassah. Most of the students are from non-Israeli homes (referred to as chutznikim), and their different educational needs are addressed and well managed in a Heimish/ Chassidishe environment.
It’s the biggest nachas for me to watch my girls get it all. They are learning about Israeli mentality and US history. They put on plays and productions in Ivrit – and it has to be real Ivrit! They know all the states and capitals, European history and so much more. My girls have a broad perspective and I am very proud of how they put it all together. Beautiful, sparkling, with pride and prestige. They have a Yerushalmi kavod and know why we are here and they are proud of their background. Skills-wise, they are able to read and write in Yiddish, Ivrit and English! They shop, take buses on their own, they are very well integrated and independent. Graduates acclimate well into other schools, and are very prepared for jobs and to become Yiddish mamas; they will have options. I felt this school was the purpose of our move.
We do travel, and I am still involved with business in the States. I go more than I want to but not as much as I should! When we first moved here we went back to our families for Pesach but after making the seder in Eretz Yisroel, we changed to summer visits – I cannot give up running the seder!
Of course there are struggles; our families are far away and we miss many simchos. That is hard to handle, but it is something we just have to push through. I wake up every morning and walk on the street, life is so amazingly real and focused. We love the outdoors – our kids go out to parks daily! It’s December but we have good weather. Other chutnzikim feel the same – there is an extra sense of unity here – partially because we are out in the park or streets a lot! – and it is one humongous family! Being a traveler, I have seen many different communities with different personalities, but really it is all the same, it’s really all a small world. We can all communicate with each other, and Eretz Yisroel is not on another universe.
Let me close with one of my favorite stories. I went to the grocery store and saw an error in my bill. I showed the cashier my receipt; she had charged me twice for a particular item but I had only taken one. Just take another one, she told me and she meant it! She didn’t really understand why I thought she should rather refund my money!
We just take it humorously and enjoy the achdus…
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