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this is my Israel A look at life after Aliyah


this is my Israel A look at life after Aliyah

Holyland of Opportunities


Cooking up a Storm


EditorS: Benzi Kluwgant Susan Gopstein Writers: Tami Benmayer Anna Harwood Chava Levine Ken Stephens Darryl Egnal Maya Liss





Match Made IN ISRAEL


On the Right COURSE






Sales: IMP Group LTD Gidon Katz Einav Ecker Photography: Photos courtesy of: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Israel Ministry of Tourism AJR Photography Nefesh B’Nefesh Photographers: Alexi Rosenfeld Dani Machlis Katherine Martinelli Laura Ben David Graphic Design: Ben Lawrence

Israel: Holyland of Opportunities By: Anna Harwood

There are over 200 jobs throughout Israel posted on the NBN job board each week. Find out how you can expand your career in Israel:

Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit allows new immigrants to explore new career paths often meeting great success.

When considering Aliyah, concerns about employment are frequently at the top of the list. Despite the unemployment rate in Israel being significantly lower than in the U.S., for many Olim, attempting to ‘pick up where they left off’ in a new country is no easy feat. While many Olim succeed in continuing their existing career in Israel, considering a new line of work more suitable for the Israeli market can often boost one’s chance of success. Considering these new opportunities simply involves utilizing the unique skills gained in a previous career and maximizing their potential in Israel. Four Olim who have done just that are examples of how a little flexibility and a great deal of persistence can lead to a dream career in Israel. 4

THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

Starting a New Career Mechal Moral made Aliyah to Jerusalem from Toronto just over two years ago. After spending her first five months brushing up on Hebrew at Ulpan Etzion, a dormitory Ulpan for young professionals, she began her challenging job hunt. In Toronto, as a trained nutritionist, Moral was head of the dietary department in a retirement home. Arriving in Israel, as a health professional, one has to transfer and accredit qualifications gained abroad. While Moral navigated the process, she found herself looking for temporary jobs outside of her field. A family connection enabled her to find employment at Harel, one of Israel’s largest insurance firms. One year later, Moral is incredibly happy working in liability malpractice insurance, so much so that she has put nutrition on hold for now. “I love my work environment and feel like I have gained a new family,” she says. “While I utilize the managerial skills that I gained from my work as a nutritionist, now I am learning a completely new skill set

which I can take to any future position. I work in Hebrew and I am really enjoying learning about law, something I had never previously studied.”

From Selling Wine to Tweeting a Greener Future Mitch Schneider made Aliyah to Bet Shemesh from New Jersey in 2007.

In Israel, Mitch says, his three children enjoy the freedom of an Israeli childhood and he and his wife are thrilled to be in the Jewish homeland. In the U.S., Schneider worked in marketing, merchandising and sales for the Royal Wine Corporation. He gained vast experience and a wide skill set during his seven years at the company but when he arrived in Israel he was at a loss how to transfer these skills to the Israeli job market. “I thought I had a plan,” explained Schneider. “I tried to get into the wine market by presenting wine companies with new digital strategies. I worked as a cashier in a wine shop and eventually set up my own digital agency for Israeli wineries”. But as hard as he tried,

the company failed and he was back to square one. Being a father of two meant that unemployment was not a viable option. “There was not a job too demeaning,” said Schneider who resorted to working in a fast food restaurant to support his family. “My wife’s unwavering support was what carried me through this tough period”. But things were about to change and in 2011, a neighbor inquiring about his hobbies inspired him to reassess his employment potential and he decided to enter the technology field. “I was always using the latest gadgets and I started to build my name up online by blogging, tweeting and writing about different technologies”. Schneider started networking online with people working in technology in Israel and his hard work paid off when a PR company, based on his writing samples, employed him to write press releases for clean-technology companies. Continuing to build his portfolio and network online, Schneider moved to SodaStream to manage their social media and content, a job which had been advertised on Twitter. At present, Schneider is the Social Communications Manager for Better Place, Israel’s electric car company. THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah


“Given my established online presence, Better Place head hunted me and the hours spent building my brand and networking finally paid off,” Schneider gleams. Schneider’s position involves strategizing, relationship building and branding the company but most importantly it combines his two passions; people and technology. “I am living my job,” he enthuses. “I drive an electric car, I spend my days talking about clean technology worldwide and I always manage to switch off and spend quality time with my family in the country that I love”.

From ER Doctor to Terem Medical Director Just four years after making Aliyah from Montreal, Dr. David Zlotnick is revolutionizing emergency medicine in Jerusalem and changing the Israeli medical system. Having specialized in emergency medicine back in Canada, Zlotnick assumed he would continue on a similar track in Israel. To his great surprise, when he arrived he discovered that Emergentology in Israel was virtually non-existent and he needed to adapt to a very different system and adjust his career path. Blessed with a healthy dose of chutzpah, he was determined to change things and set his sights on the closest thing to emergency medicine in Israel: the free-standing emergency clinics of Terem Community Emergency Medicine, where he instituted almost 100 protocols of patient care. A year after he introduced this dramatic change and raised the Terem branches to a higher level, he was asked to be the Co-Medical Director of their main branch in Jerusalem where he is in charge of QA for the whole organization and continues to innovate the system and manage it full time. In addition, he leads the brand new Terem clinic in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan and is responsible for the medical quality and innovation throughout the company – which has 11 clinics across Israel, including Karmiel in the north and a new clinic for African refugees. The medical company has also taken over the ER unit of Bikur Cholim in Jerusalem and will be expanding to south of the country this coming year. “Being in Israel is very important. Don’t underestimate what you can bring to this country. Don’t think ‘what can Israel do for me,’rather, what can you do for Israel. Israel is a young country and one person can really make a difference.”


THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

From Accounting to Brewing Beer David Cohen made Aliyah in 2003 from New Jersey. Originally settling in the north to experience a touch of rural Israel, his family circumstances changed and he moved to central Israel and Tel Aviv where he now resides. Cohen has 20 years under his belt as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) but escaping the Manhattan rat-race and selling his practice signaled a complete change in direction. He decided to turn his passion for home brewing into a career and prepared by taking an apprenticeship in a brewery in New Jersey during the year preceding his Aliyah. “I started to lay the groundwork before Aliyah, learning all I needed to know about the industry, taking pilot trips to Israel and beginning to deal with the bureaucracy,” explained Cohen. “It wasn’t easy but eventually having completed all the bureaucratic legwork, I realized that my dream was indeed possible”.


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Touring almost every industrial park in Israel to find a suitable location, receiving the required permits to begin brewing and eventually buying the equipment needed from a Brewery in Washington State took close to two years, but in July 2006 the “Dancing Camel Brewery” opened its doors. Seven years later, the Dancing Camel owns two pubs (one in the brewery itself and one in Florentine, Tel Aviv) and distributes its beer to stores and bars in Israel’s largest cities. “I chose to follow my passion and I’m definitely happy with my decision. You have to love what you do so that when you look back, all the difficulties seem worthwhile.”

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State of Israel Ministry of Immigrant Absorption

ISRAEL EMBRACES ITS RETURNING CITIZENS Surprisingly, new immigrants are not the only audience targeted by Israel’s Ministry of Absorption. “Toshavim Chozrim” or “returning citizens” are a highly desirous, motivated, and educated sector of Israeli society, which, since 2008, Israel has made a particular effort to return home.


HEART (It speaks hebrew)

As is reflected in the name, ‘returning citizens’ are those Israelis living abroad who have been living outside the borders of Israel for more than two years, and now wish to return. Up until 2009, around 4000 Israeli citizens, on average, returned to Israel each year. Now, with the support of the Ministry of Absorption, around 9000-11,000 Israelis return each year. “We focus our activities [towards returning citizens] in two main areas – pre and post Aliyah,” says Ella Saban, director of the department for returning Israelis at the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. “We offer services, information, and support to any Israeli citizen who wants to come home.” Pre-Aliyah, toshavim chozrim are invited to a wide array of lectures, conferences, presentations, and even children’s youth groups – all geared towards easing the process of re-entry. For example, in New York, LA, and London, the ministry holds courses which assist returning citizens with the process of transferring their business to Israel. Post-Aliyah support includes assistance with the bureaucratic process, which includes setting up health insurance, Bituach Leumi (National Insurance), dealing with income tax, and more. “To any Israeli wanting to return home, I say – Israel wants you back. At any stage in your life,” concludes Saban. For more information, Yael Sherry, the New York representative of the Ministry of Absorption can be reached at: 8

THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

Today, the future is yours to shape – make your new home in Israel Now, is your time to join an amazing "Aliyah" adventure, to take part in building and strengthening the only place in the world that combines your history, your heritage, and your future: Israel. Provide yourself and your family with a high quality of life, employment opportunities, a wide range of educational and academic options, and a chance to taste a vibrant Jewish culture. You can find all this and more amidst the heritage that is your birthright.

ISRAEL AWAITS YOU! MAKE IT YOUR NEW HOME. The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption is at your service, offering a full array of absorption programs, counseling, and information For more information on the wide range of "Aliya" Programs available, contact: | +972-3-9733333

Cooking up a Storm in Israel By Anna Harwood

Celebrity chef Jamie Geller meets me at a bagel place near her home in Ramat Bet Shemesh. She breezes in looking the picture of health and is greeted by the waitress who already knows her name and her regular order. Having made Aliyah just five months ago, the Geller family has settled into life in Israel and been welcomed into the RBS community with open arms. But deciding to make Aliyah and uproot her family from their comfortable life in America was not an easy decision.

Planting the Seed Jamie was raised with a strong Jewish identity. The daughter of immigrant parents who had long-suffered from anti-Semitism, they imparted their strong values of education, Judaism and loyalty to Israel onto their children. At the age of sixteen, Jamie spent a semester in Israel studying at the Alexander Muss High School in Hod HaSharon where the Holy Land became a living classroom. Her Israel experience included intensive army preparation, sleeping in tents in the desert, carrying an M16 gun and meeting real Israelis which led her to develop an unbreakable connection to the land. “I remember calling my mother and saying that I want to live here, I want to build a life here, I want to join the army here”.

Living the High-life Upon returning to the U.S., Jamie finished high school, applied to college and eventually moved to Manhattan to study journalism at NYU. “The dream to make Aliyah eventually faded into the background and I got caught up forging a life and career in America.” During and following college she worked for CNN and then HBO covering entertainment news, attending awards parties and travelling around the world interviewing celebrities. Jamie was certainly living the high-life. Meeting her future husband reignited the possibility of moving to Israel but Jamie was adamant that it wasn’t the right time. “The first time I met him, he told me that he wanted to move to Israel and my initial response was a steadfast ‘no way!’” Jamie recalls. “Despite my exciting career, family and monetary worries as reasons to stay put in America where I felt comfortable, he never gave up and his desire to move here. Eventually, the idea began to make an impression on me and reignite old dreams.” In due time Jamie agreed that despite the comfort of staying in America, for the sake of her family’s Jewish and spiritual identity, moving to Israel had to become more than a dream; it was time to make it a reality. In the past, every time the family progressed in the Aliyah process, Jamie says that she simply “freaked out” and the family stayed put. “Three years of hesitation, nine years of marriage and five children later I realized that there is never a ‘right time’ and I had to bite the bullet and make it the right time.” In the summer of 2012, that dream came true; the Gellers made Aliyah. continued on page 12...


THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

Becoming Israeli “We made Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN) who were amazing and have simply removed all the red tape that previously existed,” explained Jamie. “You still have to be on top of everything, but having heard the horror stories of bygone years, to land with a Teudat Zehut (ID card) in hand is nothing short of a miracle.” The Gellers’ Aliyah story was documented in an emotional 10-part series and demonstrated the ups and downs of the Aliyah process. When the cheering crowds at the airport dispersed, the gravity of the decision sunk in. “It is an incredibly emotional period but I’m now completely at peace with my decision,” Jamie explained. “Like in life, everything rewarding is hard. Marriage, parenting, religion; they are all incredible aspects of life to be cherished but they don’t come struggle-free.”

An Israeli Chef Jamie Geller’s Aliyah story made headlines around the world but her newly found fame was not due to her stints on HBO and CNN, but rather her reputation as the queen of kosher cuisine. Having become religious, married and the mother of a child, 14 hour days on international film sets were not compatible with her new lifestyle. Instead, Jamie turned to an arena which she was discovering for herself, the kosher kitchen. With a mother who dreamed of raising the first Jewish female president, domestic skills were never taught at home. Jamie began collecting tips from her husband, friends and family and she learned to prepare simple, kosher food. Learning to cook soon evolved into a full time pursuit and in 2007, “Quick & Kosher: Recipes from The Bride Who Knew Nothing” was published to rave reviews. Since then, the book has flown off the shelves in countries worldwide with over 30,000 copies sold so far. Since then Jamie has utilized her background in media to form the Kosher Media Network. With a successful magazine, websites, online television series and a third book in the pipeline, Jamie Geller has definitely made her mark in revolutionizing kosher cuisine. In addition to her kosher revolution, Jamie hopes to utilize her new-immigrant status to help further understanding of Israel and the Aliyah process.

For Jamie, the biggest cultural differences that she has thus far encountered have centered (unsurprisingly) around food. “Little things are different here; cream cheese, meat, cooking times and no duck sauce!” Once word got around that Jamie Geller had made Aliyah, offers of help came from the most surprising places. “Everyday professionals from my field offer me assistance from tours of the outdoor food markets to literally giving me their kitchens,” recounts Jamie. “Chef Yochanan Lambiase, CEO of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute, offered me free use of their kitchens to develop my recipes and I was completely blown away by the camaraderie displayed by fellow professionals in Israel as opposed to the rivalry which was commonplace in the States.” Jamie is currently working on her latest book which is set to be in stores in time for Chanukah 2013 and she is preparing new TV and internet projects to be aired internationally. “With the help of the internet and a now vast professional network, I have been able to shift my business to Israel seamlessly.” But she is quick to add that while she is thrilled to be finally living the dream, life is not a bed of roses. “When I continuously say that it is amazing here in Israel, I’m not saying that it’s not hard or that it’s perfect. When I say it is amazing, I am saying that the struggle is worthwhile and is the best thing that we could have done for our family.”

To watch episodes of Jamie Geller’s Aliyah journey:

Aliyah: Food for thought Gil Marks is a world authority on the origins of Jewish food though his knowledge extends far beyond the history books. He is an ordained Rabbi, holds a master’s in social work and is the author of five bestselling cookbooks. “My mother said that I used to complain about her cooking,” Marks explains. “She told me that if I didn’t like what she made then I should make my own food. So I did.” Marks authors cookery books with a difference: Books which take the reader on a discovery of the origins of both Jewish food, Jewish culture and Jewish history. His most recent offering is an encyclopedia of Jewish food with 660 entries from across the Jewish world. According to Marks, however, “you can’t know Jewish food without spending time in Israel.” And so six months ago, after years of travelling back and forth to Israel, Marks made Aliyah from the USA. “I had intended to make Aliyah when I finished college,” recalls Marks, “but I was unable to get the assistance I needed.” Second time around, Nefesh B’Nefesh was there to guide him through the process step-by-step and being greeted off the plane by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

Borekas (Pastry Turnovers)

Lack of vegetable shortening and a dislike of margarine in Israel led Gil Marks to discover this Sephardi pastry which does not require the use of either. (About 28 4-inch or 40 3-inch pastries) • Masa Fina (Fine Pastry): • About 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour • ¾ teaspoon table salt • Pinch of sugar (optional) • 1 cup vegetable oil • ¾ cup warm water • About 2 cups Sephardic filling (such as spinach or cheese) or Gomo de Calabaza (Sephardic Pumpkin Filling): • 1¾ cups (15 ounces) canned pumpkin or cooked sweet potatoes • 1/3 cup brown or granulated sugar • 1 large egg, lightly beaten • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 tablespoon anise seeds • About ½ teaspoon table salt, or 1 teaspoon kosher salt • Egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water) 1. To make the pastry: Combine flour, salt, and, if using, sugar. Add oil and water and work in to make a soft dough. Do not overwork. Wrap in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. To make the filling, combine all the ingredients. 2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 large baking sheets. 3. Form the dough into 1½-inch balls. Place the dough balls on a flat surface and, using your fingertips, flatten and press them into thin 4-inch rounds. 4. Place 2 teaspoons filling in the center of each round. Fold the round in half over the filling to form a half moon shape and press the rounded edge with the tines of a fork to seal. The pastries can be frozen for up to 3 months; do not thaw before baking. 5. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the pastries with the egg wash. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes for fresh; 30 minutes for frozen. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Acclimating to Israel has been a relatively smooth process but, as in Jamie Geller’s case, Marks’ cooking has had to adapt. “Butter in Israel has less water, sugar is coarser, flour contains less protein, and higher altitudes affect baking. But it is a learning experience and I love the fresh produce and range of seasonal fruits on offer here.”

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THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah


90 years later, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in tandem with The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, JNF and the Russell Berrie Foundation are operating two inspiring, incentive laden programs - “Go North “ & “Go South”- that enable contemporary pioneers to fulfill their dreams of building the State of Israel. The “Go North” program, which was launched in 2009, has already integrated 1,050 new immigrants (representing 375 families) in 79 communities of varying sizes across Northern Israel including Karmiel, Safed (Tzfat), Nahariya and Ma’alot, as well as a growing list of kibbutzim and moshavim. “It is a program that offers new immigrants a sense of direct involvement in an emerging community. You would be surprised how many people are interested in this lifestyle,” said Michele Kaplan-Green, NBN’s Go North Program Director. “What’s special about the people who have become involved with Go North is that this group of new Olim are completely heterogeneous. There is no specific prototype, with varying ranges in age, religious practice and professional experience,” she explained. “Not everyone wants to make Aliyah to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.” Climate wise, Northern Israel offers a variety of experiences. “In some places, one can either walk or take a short drive to the beach. Karmiel is a quiet town located in the hills of the Galilee, while many people have claimed that Ma’alot looks like Switzerland with rolling green hills. What is important to note, is that when one makes Aliyah to the North, you are also automatically exposed to a strong social network.” The uniqueness of the Go North program is that NBN, as well as local municipal, educational and government offices all work in unison to make sure that new immigrants are given every opportunity to educate themselves, find a job and a home so they can stand on firm economic ground.


THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

Kaplan-Green added, “What we’ve discovered is that there is very little difference between an active job search for a new immigrant who lives in the center of the country or in the periphery. The only minor difference is that there are more financial and medical jobs in the metro Tel Aviv region than in the North. However, during the past few years there has been a steady increase in the number of hi-tech, medical and nursing placements in Northern Israel. And some of our Go North Olim are also entrepreneurs, who have created their own businesses. NBN works with each Oleh to develop his or her own individual educational and professional tracks.”

the unique multi-media art exhibit they created at the ORT-Braude Engineering College in Karmiel. The exhibit, which was a joint initiative of ORT-Braude and NBN’s Go North program, was so well received that it is now being shown on college campuses across Israel and might actually cross the ocean to the USA in the near future. The ongoing success of the Go North program spurred NBN to replicate the program for Israel’s southern periphery, called Go South. Kaplan-Green revealed, “Just like Go North, we have a dedicated team of professionals, including a program director and employment coordinator already on the ground in the south.”

When a group of idealistic Zionists decided to leave the hustle and bustle of New York in the 1920’s to create a new agricultural settlement called Ra’anana in the Sharon region, their determination and pioneering spirit led to the creation of one of the most successful towns in all of Israel. They managed to succeed despite all the fiscal and physical hardships of the time. There are great education opportunities in the region as well. “In Karmiel, we have new immigrants enrolled in the ORT Braude College of Engineering. Go North Olim are also studying in the Tel Chai College, in the Upper Galillee. Some of our Olim will also attend the new Bar-Ilan University Medical School in Safed.” A local Go North NBN klita (absorption) coordinator provides personal attention and alerts local companies in the region about the availability of qualified professionals. “This type of support allows for new immigrants to achieve personal and financial independence within a reasonable period of time.” A number of participants in the Go North program recently received praise from local residents and art critics for

The Go South’s target market includes singles and young couples who are first starting out in their given professions, and families as well as retirees who are looking to live in a quiet area, with a dry climate. “We believe that up and coming areas like Beersheba and Meitar offer life-changing experiences and will potentially become popular locations for new immigrants. BenGurion University (Beersheba) offers a series of courses in English and an established Anglo community already exists in the area. This community is only too happy to welcome newcomers,” Kaplan-Green added. “NBN has already signed up a group of people who are ready to put down roots in the South.”

Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Go North & Go South Programs Target New Immigrants with a Pioneering Spirit

By Ken Stephens

Brothers in Arms


there are over 3,800 Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF - over 1,000 from North America alone - who receive support and assistance from the Friends of the IDF (FIDF)/Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program. While these special Olim personify the idea of “Jewish brotherhood,” the concept of brotherhood takes on a more literal sense when actual brothers deicide to immigrate to Israel and serve in the IDF together.

By Maya Liss

Every year, thousands of young men and women make the conscious decisions to move their lives continents away from their families, from the comfort of speaking their native language, and far from what is most familiar to them, in order to serve in the IDF. Any of these soldiers whose parents reside outside of Israel for at least 9 months of the year, are considered “Lone Soldiers.”

The Lerner, Kaplan and Gaibel brothers have done just that. They have all left their families behind in North America, truly putting the concept of Jewish brotherhood into action. Addee and Tamir Lerner made Aliyah from Winnetaka, California. Growing up with the knowledge that their father’s side of the family would have been much larger had it not been for the Holocaust, the Lerner Brothers always knew that they wanted to serve in the IDF. Because their father’s family did not have anybody to protect them, they felt it was their responsibility to come to Israel and serve in the IDF, making sure they were doing their part to protect the Jewish people today. Making Aliyah with the assistance of Nefesh B’Nefesh and joining the army framework of Tzofim Garin Tzabar, they both drafted into the IDF in November 2012 and are both currently serving in combat units. Addee, the younger brother, is serving in the Paratroopers Unit, while Tamir is in the Golani Brigade. Although the brothers do not get to see each other often, they consider all the soldiers serving by their sides as extended family. “The people here are the people I want by my side throughout my life,” Addee states with confidence;. Sleeping in the bunk just a few feet away from Addee, is another new Israeli immigrant, Brett Kaplan from Boca Raton, Florida. Brett also made Aliyah with his older brother Darren, who is serving in an infantry unit.

Realizing his passion for Israel after participating in the March of the Living, Brett was not going to let his older brother and best friend move to Israel alone. Brett booked his ticket, too, and sat right next to his brother on the flight to Israel. Reflecting on how lucky he feels to have Brett with him in Israel, Darren states, “we aren’t really lone soldiers because we have each other.” As luck would have it, serving with Darren in the Infantry brigade is Roi Gaibel. Roi and his twin brother Barak were born in Israel but have lived in Massachusetts since they were 8 years old. When their high school classmates began to apply for college, the Gaibel twins felt the desire to return to Israel. Following in their older sister’s footsteps, the brothers enrolled in a Pre-Military Academy called Nachshon, and after an intensive year of army preparation, the brothers are now serving in the IDF as combat soldiers. With the help of the Friends of the IDF (FIDF)/Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldier Program, these brothers have been given a new family to help them along the way. “Back in the U.S. I would turn to my mom for support. She’s not here, but I’ve got the Lone Soldier Program, and they know how to do it pretty well too,” Addee says. “We feel cared for – even spoiled - when we get a text message and we know someone is thinking of us,” adds Darren. These three sets of brothers have taken the journey to Israel with the desire to serve in the IDF and to be a part of the Jewish brotherhood. Although they may be considered “Lone Soldiers,” they feel connected to a greater part of the Jewish people, knowing that all of Israel and the Jewish people are responsible for each other.

Since Darren was 16, he was adamant about joining the IDF. However, taking his mother’s wishes into consideration, he waited a few years to finish his college degree. But with Israel on his mind, Darren sped through college, completing

PHOTO CREDIT: Alexi Rosenfeld, AJR Photography


his degree in just three years, and boarded a Nefesh B’Nefesh group flight to Israel in June 2012.

Addee and Tamir Lerner

Darren and Brett Kaplan


Moving to Israel and starting a new life can lead to a world filled with new opportunities - be they professional, cultural, religious or otherwise. For some, Israel is also the place where they find love....

experience. We just enjoyed spending time getting to know each other.” After they finished kibbutz, Ben started his army service and Rachel headed back to Jerusalem, but their relationship continued to flourish. Exactly one year after they met, Rachel and Ben got engaged, and after a beautiful Jerusalem wedding, the two settled down in Nachlaot. “We’re still settling into Israel, and taking time to figure out our exact career paths, but we’re learning to take opportunities as they come and how to ‘go with the flow.’” With regard to Israel as a social hub for young people, Rachel comments, “Israel is an amazing place for people to meet.

myself that one day I would end up here.” After securing an interview at the Tel Aviv branch of Ernst & Young, which subsequently resulted in a job offer, Mandy found that her dream of Aliyah was fast becoming a reality. Then, one day last June, Etan wound up at Mandy’s apartment for a Shabbat meal in Washington Heights. “We clicked immediately and then just kind of started hanging out,” continues Mandy. There was just one small problem. Mandy was making Aliyah three months later and was planning on travelling to Asia for the two months prior to her move. “It was interesting timing,” laughs Mandy. “Although Etan also loves Israel like I do, he had no immediate plans to make Aliyah.” So after dating for

Making the Move & Meeting ‘The One’ By Tami Benmayer

“As a melting pot of Jews from all over the world, Israel offers significant opportunities for young, like-minded people to meet and socialize, leading to friendships, professional introductions and often romantic relationships too,” comments Liz Bernstein, Nefesh B’Nefesh Pre-Aliyah Team Manager for North America. “Starting life afresh and moving to a new place means that most people have to step out of their comfort zone and make much more of an effort to develop a new social circle.” Nefesh B’Nefesh aims to ease the process of social integration as much as possible by organizing annual group Aliyah flights especially for singles, as well as Chanukah panoplies, bike rides, hikes, cultural tours and other social events throughout the year. Rachel Sireling from London, met New Zealander Ben Gross on December 21, 2010, in Ben Gurion airport, soon after they’d stepped off the plane. “I was on the Nefesh B’Nefesh flight from the UK and Ben had just landed with four other Olim from New Zealand,” explains Rachel. “We had our Aliyah welcome 20

THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

ceremonies together and Ben came over and introduced himself.” A month later, Rachel and Ben found themselves at an icebreaking session together at the same ulpan in Jerusalem. “It was funny because I had absolutely no recollection of meeting him at the airport, but he remembered me and we hit it off right away,” continues Rachel. “We became really good friends and after a few weeks, started dating. In fact, after it ‘became official’, Ben revealed to me that he had been pretending he didn’t know Hebrew just so that he could sit next to me in class!” When their five-month ulpan program came to an end, Rachel, Ben and two of their friends from ulpan headed up north together to spend the summer practicing their newly-learnt Hebrew on a kibbutz. “Ben was milking cows all day and I was making cheese. It was pretty challenging for me, a city girl, waking up at 6:00 am to engage in agricultural work like that, but it was a great

We have Shabbat meals with all of our friends and we’re constantly meeting new people. For me personally, the social aspect was one of the main reasons why I made Aliyah in the first place. I was sick of the London singles scene and was really hoping to meet someone.” Luckily for Rachel, she didn’t have too long to wait. For couples who meet in their country of origin, a mutual love of Israel often encourages them to pick up and make the move together. In Etan Efrati and Mandy Storfer’s case, it caused him to follow her ideological lead. Until last summer, Mandy was living in Manhattan and working as an accountant for Ernst & Young LLP. Etan was living around the corner from Mandy and working for a NYC-based luxury construction company. The two were totally unaware of each other’s existence. Last December, Mandy was visiting Israel and bumped into a friend who happened to know a partner at Ernst & Young in Tel Aviv. “When I was eighteen, I spent a year in Israel on a Young Judea program and fell in love with the country,” she says. “I promised

just a few weeks, Mandy left Etan in New York, and spent the summer backpacking around Thailand, Vietnam and India. On her return, one week prior to her big Aliyah date, Etan informed Mandy that he too would be moving to Israel, a promise he speedily fulfilled. On the fourth night of Chanukah just one week after he stepped off the plane, Etan asked Mandy to marry him. “I got the shock of my life because I had no idea that he was about to propose,” Mandy recalls with a smile. “I think it’s obvious that Etan has quite a spontaneous streak!” The couple is currently planning their spring wedding which will take place in New York, and are looking forward to setting up their new home together in Israel. “I feel like this whole experience has reinforced the saying, ‘meshane makom, meshane mazal’ (change your place, change your luck). My life literally flipped around and everything fell into place. We were both living in NY, a block away from each other, and we were both leading relatively successful professional lives. It’s crazy that we had to move to Israel for this to happen!” continued on page 22... THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah


‘Coming Home’ with an Israeli Aliyah benefits when one spouse is American and the other is Israeli It’s the perfect love story. Israeli guy living in the United States meets American girl (or the other way around). They fall in love, get married, and decide to start their new life together in Israel. In general, the rights this couple receive when making Aliyah are standard. The American receives full Oleh rights and the returning Israeli receives the more basic ‘toshav chozer’ rights (which can obviously be shared since they are a couple). However, the status of this couple changes if they make Aliyah with at least one child who was born in America. This is known as a mishpachat Olim (a family with Olim status). There are certain differences and benefits that a Mishpachat Olim is entitled to, that differ from a family where both spouses are new Olim: •

Free ticket to Israel: Unlike other returning Israelis who just receive a discount on their flight back to Israel, the Israeli spouse in a Mishpachat Olim, receives a free flight.

Sal Klita: Returning Israelis do not usually receive sal klita (monetary payments to help with absorption). However, a Mishpachat Olim is entitled to receive the same amount of sal klita as any new Oleh family (calculated according to the amount of people in the family). This benefit is dependent on the amount of time the family has spent in Israel in the seven years prior to Aliyah.

Health insurance: A returning Israeli may be subject to a waiting period before being eligible to enroll for health coverage through Bituach Leumi (the National Insurance Institute), unlike new Olim, who receive this immediately on arrival. Customs benefits: If the spouse who is a returning citizen has already used customs benefits in the past, there may be differences as to what the family is entitled to upon returning to Israel. A Mishpachat Olim would therefore need to consult with their Aliyah advisor beforehand.

For more information, please see the Nefesh B’Nefesh website:


THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

A definite advantage to the singles scene in Israel is its eclecticism. Not only is there a large and diverse Oleh community made up of young Jewish singles from literally every corner of the world — including North and South America, the UK, France, Australia, South Africa, and many other places — but there is also the Israeli crowd. This allows for a more culturally-refreshing dating experience! “Just before I started my master’s in clinical nutrition at NYU, I decided to come to Israel for the month to check out different programs here,” remembers Tamar Rohatiner, from Los Angeles. “I’d wanted to make Aliyah since I spent my gap year in Israel and throughout college my love for the country only grew.” The weekend before she was due to return to the States, Tamar met Chezki at a synagogue in Jerusalem. “I was standing there with a friend and somehow got talking to this cute Israeli guy called Chezki, who was there with his twin brother. We spoke for about fifteen minutes and I actually ended up extending my flight to spend more time with him. It sounds crazy, but I’m happy I did it!” Chezki grew up in Israel to American parents and works as a pilot in the Israeli Air Force. “Although I love him for many reasons, the fact that he’s a pilot and devotes his life to his country was enough to win me over,” smiles Tamar. Tamar and Chezki continued to date long-distance after Tamar headed back to the States and a few months later she made Aliyah. They got married last summer and live in Tel Aviv, where Tamar is studying for her master’s and teaching at a school in Herzliya. “Before I moved, Israel seemed like a dream. Now I see it as a very special reality, albeit a challenging one. I miss my family and friends in the States, and I’ve had to reestablish myself in a new environment and learn a new language. The recent Pillar of Defense operation also made me feel the intensity of living here.” Nonetheless, she feels that it’s definitely worth it, and the support that she receives from Chezki’s family certainly helps. “Chezki’s family is amazing. They are so loving and super supportive. His mom sends me food that can feed an army! I feel incredibly close to them and they make me feel really at home. Although I know it will take time to get used to living here, I’m so happy and appreciative that I’m able to live the life I’ve been dreaming about for so long.”

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On the Right Course By Darryl Egnal and Anna Harwood

Studying in Israel has many benefits for new immigrants (olim), including free or heavily subsidized tuition options. The possibilities are numerous and every city in Israel offers choices that can give you the start in life you need.

as well as candidates for master’s degree programs. There are eight major universities in Israel, as well as Students study Hebrew intensively and a range of other more than 30 other institutions of higher education relevant subjects. The duration is and nearly 30 teacher training The Israel Student Authority grants between one and two semesters of colleges. These institutions all offer tuition scholarships for up to three five to 10 months. under-graduate and post-graduate degree courses and/or diploma years of higher education The Israel Student Authority, courses in a variety of disciplines. operating through the Ministry to eligible new immigrant students The options are endless. of Immigrant Absorption in Although the language of instruction in most colleges and universities is Hebrew, several offer a few courses and/or programs in English. English language programs enable students to begin integration into Israel slowly without the pressure of becoming fluent in Hebrew immediately.

collaboration with the Jewish Agency for Israel, grants tuition scholarships for up to three years of higher education to eligible new immigrant students. The grant is dependent on academic achievements and the fulfillment of a volunteer community work requirement in the last year of the scholarship.

For students wishing to begin their undergraduate studies in Hebrew, Mechina or preparatory programs are available for people with non-equivalent Israeli high school diplomas or who do not have a strong enough grasp of the Hebrew language. The duration of the program is one academic year, comprised of two semesters and a summer ulpan in Hebrew. Some universities require students to complete a Mechina before they can register for regular studies and will only accept students from their own Mechina programs.

To qualify, students must study at a recognized institution and be a new immigrant (or a returning minor or citizen born abroad), and begin academic studies within 36 months of making Aliyah (or receiving this status). This does not include any time spent in the army or national service. Students must also start their studies before their 23rd birthday for a Mechina program, their 27th birthday for an undergraduate degree, or their 30th birthday for a graduate degree. Before making Aliyah, young adults can receive information and advice on study options in Israel from Nefesh B’Nefesh:

The TAKA pre-academic program is meant for students with equivalent high school matriculation or an academic record which exempts them from Mechina,

1-866-4-Aliyah •

THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah



An Executive MBA Program with a Difference

AN overview of a few of the universities & colleges in Israel: Academic Center of Law and Business (formerly Ramat Gan College of Law)

What originally began as a small college started by Hebrew University’s Law faculty 15 years ago has evolved into a highly recognized and respected non-profit academic institution. The Academic Centre of Law and Business (CLB) is a leader in the development of legal clinics in Israeli law schools and was among the first to create a legal clinic for human rights and one for corporate social responsibility.

Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan Bar-Ilan University is the fastest growing academic institution in Israel, with 33,000 students. Students from Kellogg programs around the world visit Kellogg-Recanati for a Global Elective, Tel Aviv, January 2013

The Kellogg-Recanati International Executive MBA Program (IEMBA) is a two-year general management program based in Tel Aviv, Israel. It meets the needs of mid-career executives preparing for senior management in organizations that operate in the international arena, and it enhances the skills and effectiveness of senior executives. Graduates receive a joint MBA degree from Northwestern and Tel Aviv Universities. As one of six Kellogg Executive MBA programs and partnerships running concurrently in different locations around the globe including Chicago, Miami, Germany, Hong Kong, and Canada - KelloggRecanati offers students the chance take advantage of studying in Israel’s leading business school and at the same time receive a prestigious international MBA degree. Students come from all over the world to study at KelloggRecanati. Some of these students already live in Israel and others utilize their time in the country to explore the option of making Aliyah in the future. Through their studies, students build up a strong professional network, made up of top business professionals, which often leads to employment opportunities at the end of the program. Those who decide to return to their home country have experienced two wonderful years in Israel, received an impressive degree and gained a strong, solid network of friends and business contacts. 24

THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

“It always amazes me to see how a group of people from all over the world representing so many different backgrounds and cultures becomes a unified group, how they bond, communicate and connect with one another,” comments Orit Mendelson Shoham, Executive MBA Program Director. “This unique two-year experience creates something that is very special for everybody involved.”





Bar-Ilan’s mission is to conduct cutting-edge research while training highly qualified professionals in the sciences, humanities, law, engineering, business and the arts – all within a unique learning environment which fosters Jewish values and continuity. From its globally-recognized leadership in nanotechnology, biblical archaeology and brain science, as well as its Englishlanguage graduate programs in business administration and creative writing, to the recent launch of Israel’s newest faculty of medicine, Bar-Ilan University is leading a national initiative to stem Israel’s ‘brain drain’ by repatriating outstanding Israeli experimentalists from abroad.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was recently selected as the number one choice of Israeli students in a survey conducted by the National Students Union thanks to its unique atmosphere and internationally-recognized academics. English-language programs like those in the Medical School for International Health and the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies attract a fascinating mix of students from around the world.

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Haifa University Haifa University is located with a view over blue seas and the Carmel forest. Its English MA program in Peace and Conflict Management utilizes Haifa’s status as one of Israel’s most diverse cities and the city, surrounding areas and even the University itself becomes a living classroom. The University also offers Law, Business and English Language studies all taught entirely in English.

Hebrew University Hebrew University’s Rothberg School for Oversees Students offers a range of programs covering a variety of fields from Jewish History to Philanthropy Management, all in English. Hebrew University, located in Jerusalem, is ranked amongst the world’s leading Universities and is very popular amongst new Olim looking to continue their studies. There are also English-language programs in agriculture and public health offered outside of the Rothberg framework.

IDC Herzliya IDC Herzliya, Israel’s first private university, has attracted 1,300 students from 77 countries to the Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS). It is the only academic institution in Israel that offers three-year bachelor degree programs in the social sciences taught entirely in English. BA degrees are offered in Business Administration, Communications, Economics, Government and Psychology. Graduate studies include: MBA; MA in Government; and an MA in Organizational Behavior and Development (OBD).

Technion- Israel Institute of Technology The Technion is world renowned for groundbreaking research and scientific breakthroughs. Not a week goes by without the Technion flying the flag for Israeli innovation. The prestigious institution offers a range of engineering programs in English and is home to the Technion American Medical School (TeAMS). TeAMS offers students the opportunity to graduate as American MDs with many students falling in love with Israel during their studies and choosing to either stay in Israel after graduation or return to Israel after completing their residencies in the USA.

Tel Aviv University In addition, BGU was the first in Israel to offer Bioinformatics through the Department of Computer Sciences, and is one of the few universities in the world to offer a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Medical Services (Paramedics) through the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Tel Aviv University, with its lush green campus, is Israel’s largest University. It offers a full range of English Language programs including graduate programs in Security and Diplomacy, Crisis and Trauma and Jewish Studies. Like the Technion and Ben Gurion universities, Tel Aviv is also home to an American medical school called Sackler.

THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah



immigrants, who are often not aware of the variety of community options available in Israel, will clearly require a good dose of guidance and support throughout the “house hunting” process. This is where Nefesh B’Nefesh and other local organizations such as the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) are able to provide assistance. Help is offered in the form of on-line information forums, face-to-face meetings with representatives from various municipalities, and introducing new Olim to veteran Anglo immigrants who can provide valuable personal insights. Depending on how you want to integrate into Israeli society, factors such as language, religious values and even weather can influence your decision on where you should rent or purchase a property. For instance, there is a growing number of cities and towns comprising a substantial number of English-speaking neighborhoods. For many new immigrants, who are unfamiliar with the Hebrew language and cultural nuances, having access to Englishspeaking neighbors and Anglo synagogues can make the Aliyah transition that much easier. However, many new immigrants who possess some Hebrew language skills, may seek a location where they can quickly integrate into Israeli society, even if it means breaking their teeth with American-accented Hebrew and learning about local cultural nuances as they go along.


THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

Who? What? Where? Finding a Community you can call “Home” in Israel

Perhaps the most challenging task of making Aliyah is finding a city or town that not only suits your lifestyle but also offers you a variety of communal services, enabling you to smoothly transition into your new surroundings. By Ken Stephens Several recent graduates of NBN’s Aliyah program provided some fascinating insights about their transition into a number of Israeli cities and towns. Richard and Helen Stareshefsky made Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh from Northern New Jersey to Netanya last summer. Richard, who was instrumental in bringing thousands of Orthodox teenagers from across the USA to Israel during the summer months over a period of 21 years via the National Council of Young Israel’s ACHVA Missions, was equipped with enough information about Israeli society to make the Aliyah transition “seamless.” He added, “We have a fine view of the sea from one side of our apartment, a view of the coast of Hadera from another

Where are the most popular English-speaking communities in Israel? side, and a magnificent view of the Shomron (Samaria) from yet another angle. We also became involved with the Young Israel of North Netanya. We were welcomed to the community as if we had lived here for years. Amongst the American, British, and South African Olim, we have made many new friends. We haven’t spent a single Shabbat without the company of these new friends. And we’re now exploring volunteering options within the community. There are so many opportunities in Netanya.” Young religious American and Canadian students studying at the Technion in Haifa have actually revived a seaside neighborhood near their university. One of the students, Avi Miller, revealed, “In many ways I think the Anglos have really helped revitalize the community of Bat Galim. We spend our weekends going to synagogue and trying to make it an enjoyable experience not just for ourselves but also for the congregants who have been praying there for years. Once the prayer service is over, many will join friends from all ends of the religious spectrum at meals throughout the neighborhood. Almost every weekend families and students alike, both religious and non-religious, will come together for a Shabbat meal and talk about everything. Being able to bond both in school and out has created not just an excellent atmosphere for studying medicine at the highest level, but has also helped transform Bat Galim into the warm and friendly community it is today.”

According to both Nefesh B’Nefesh and Israeli real estate statistics, the following cities are home to large Anglo communities:

Jerusalem: You can find English-speaking residents

Tel Aviv:

Modiin: In the past decade, Modiin has become the city

Beit Shemesh:

Ra’anana: As the first English-speaking agricultural settlement in Israel, formed by Olim from New York, Ra’anana transformed itself into one of the most sought after upper middle class cities amongst Israelis and Anglos alike. Less than a twenty minute drive from Tel Aviv, Ra’anana is home to some of the world’s most well known hi-tech companies, attracting English-speaking immigrants from all over the world.

Haifa: Haifa is known as the capital of Northern Israel. The port city boasts a fast growing hi-tech, bio-tech and med-tech zone. These valuable commercial enterprises and the nearby Technion University and Rambam Hospital have lured dozens of English-speaking entrepreneurs, students and young couples to the city, where real estate prices are much cheaper than other Anglo-populated areas.

throughout the city, with the greatest concentration of North American families & students either living near the city center (Mahane Yehuda, Ben Yehuda Street, Great Synagogue) or near the entrance to the Old City. Many American families also live in Jerusalem’s surrounding suburbs. Though real estate prices are high, many people simply want to own a piece of this historic city.

with the fastest growing English-speaking population. With direct train service to Ben Gurion International Airport and Tel Aviv, it is also renowned for its top educational system and high quality of life. The influx of English-speaking families has pushed local real estate prices higher.


With a veteran English-speaking enclave centered around Soroka Hospital and Ben-Gurion University, growing bio/med-tech industries, affordable housing and laid back lifestyle, Beersheba continues to lure English-speaking immigrants. Nefesh B’Nefesh recently initiated a “Go South” program providing incentives for new immigrants who move down south.

The country’s business and hi-tech center attracts many English-speaking singles and young couples who wish to work and “play” in the bustling seaside metropolis. Just as in Haifa, a growing core of English-speaking students and professionals have revived several aging central and southern city synagogues and cultural centers. From an economic standpoint, Tel Aviv is Israel’s most expensive city.

A steady influx of Englishspeaking residents within the city’s new and affordable neighborhoods has transformed Beit Shemesh into one of the most popular places for new immigrants. The Anglos have also impacted the city’s educational framework by turning it into a diverse and highly respectable system.

To find out more about these communities, and over 70 others around Israel, visit the Nefesh B’Nefesh online community database: THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah



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The House on Ben Maimon is a new residential project in the heart of Rechavia, one of Jerusalem’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Built in an authentic structure created in 1930 by Menashe Elissar, former president of the Bureau of Commerce and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, huge efforts have been devoted to preserving the distinctive character of the period and blending the design into the surrounding area. “The House on Ben Maimon is really a jewel in the crown of the Jerusalem real estate market,” comments Oded Ribak of Personal Real Estate, the project’s Project Management and Marketing company. Ready for occupancy in December 2013, the project has been designed by Della Pergola Architects and is made up of just seven deluxe apartments. These include two garden apartments, four standard apartments ranging from 100–300 square meters, and a magnificent penthouse covering 400 square meters. Each apartment will have at least one covered parking place, a storage area, and a terrace suitable for a sukkah. Featuring the highest-quality materials and technical specifications, the House on Ben Maimon will boast inverter air conditioning, underfloor heating, remote controlled electric shutters, imported polished marble, glass guard railings, parquet flooring, and advanced kitchen carpentry. NofeiYerushalayim is the property development company responsible for the project. “At Nofei Yerushalayim we’re used to developing luxury apartments complete with that ‘special American touch’ and this project is one of our finest,” states Yehuda Asaraf, Manager of Nofei Yerushalayim. “Not only is the location perfect for those who wish to be close to the Old City, the Great Synagogue or the Jerusalem City Center; but it’s high-class design and quality furnishings are set to impress.”

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Since the State of Israel’s founding in 1948, over three million Jews have crossed over the threshold of the Promised Land, creating new lives for themselves and their families. In recent years, efforts to encourage Aliyah have been boosted, and with organizations like Nefesh B’Nefesh and The Jewish Agency for Israel streamlining the bureaucratic process and guiding people from start to finish, making Aliyah has never been easier. In 2012 alone, approximately 18,000 people, including almost 4,000 North Americans, became ‘Olim Chadashim’ (new immigrants) and started their new lives as Israelis.

Along the ALiyah timeline By: Tami Benmayer

I’ve never really felt like a foreigner and I think it’s because I really prepared myself mentally beforehand.

“People come to Israel for a variety of reasons and at different ages and stages of life, and therefore no two people will have an identical absorption experience, the Aliyah journey is a lifelong journey, an exciting one that will evolve and change as time moves on and as a person becomes more and more integrated into Israeli society.” ~ Liz Bernstein, Pre-Aliyah Team Manager at Nefesh B’Nefesh.

Here are the stories of some Olim Chadashim at various stages along the Aliyah timeline.

Name: Shlomit Cymbalista From: Cedarhurst, Long Island Been in Israel: 2 months Currently: in Ulpan

“I’ve wanted to make Aliyah since high school. I came to Israel for my gap year and kept visiting throughout university. When I graduated from Binghamton last May, I knew that if I didn’t make the move then, I’d get settled in the U.S. and never leave!” Shlomit is currently working on improving her Hebrew at Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem, and is hoping to start a Master’s in Environmental Studies at the Weizmann Institute of Science this coming fall, with the goal of getting into the clean tech and conservation industry.

For me, coming at the right time was key to my Aliyah’s success... 30

“Coming at the right time is key. I knew it was my dream to make Aliyah but that it was even more important to make the dream a success. For me, that meant completing my first degree in the U.S., working a bit so that I had some financial backing, and spending a lot of time researching all my options.” Cymbalista’s research included asking for advice from family and friends in Israel and having meetings with Nefesh B’Nefesh in the U.S. and Israel, in the lead up to her Aliyah. When asked what the most challenging part of her first two months has been, she smiles and says, “Israeli customer service! Whereas in the US, they’ll do anything to serve you, here it’s more a case of ‘ein li zman’ (‘I have no time’). I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually!”

Name: Yael Bergknoff, MD From: Highland Park, New Jersey Been in Israel: 2½ years Currently: Pediatric Surgery Fellow, Ichilov Hospital, Tel Aviv “The February before I made Aliyah, I attended a Nefesh B’Nefesh Expo in New York. I was asked to be featured in an article for the Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper, about American-trained doctors moving to Israel. Little did I know that this ‘little article’ would have a significant impact on my life. The day after it was published, I received a call from a group of doctors in a private hospital in Tel Aviv inviting me to join their team.” Nefesh B’Nefesh helped Yael fill out the necessary paperwork for an Israeli license, and within two months of her Aliyah, she was practicing as an Israeli doctor. “Different medications are used here and the Israeli approach to medicine varies a lot from what I was used to in New York, but I love it. With a socialized system, it’s really great to see how everyone can get access to medical care—I don’t need to worry about my patients not being able to get what they need.”

Bergknoff has since moved to Ichilov Hospital in order to pursue a fellowship in pediatric surgery, and is as happy as when she first arrived. “My klita (absorption) has been perfect. I’ve never really felt like a foreigner and I think it’s because I really prepared myself mentally beforehand. My biggest challenge has probably been the language, which I’ve needed more than I anticipated. It obviously helps a lot with all the small things, like apartment contracts and speaking to your cell phone company. When I first arrived, I found it quite challenging dealing with patients because my Hebrew wasn’t so good. To be honest, though, in New York, I had pretty much the same problem since I worked in a large public hospital where a lot of my patients didn’t speak English…Now, two years later, my Hebrew has definitely improved. It still drives me mad trying to decipher English medical words that are written in Hebrew. Every time I read one, it’s spelled differently!” THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah



Life Insurance in Israel… the American Way

Q: DF:

Donny Fein explains how acquiring American life insurance prior to Aliyah will save you money and widen your options.

What’s the advantage of having an American life insurance policy rather than an Israeli one?

An American life insurance policy is fixed. That means that if you buy in at a young age, the price will stay incredibly low for the entire term period. In contrast, Israeli policies go up in price every year until age 75 — making them drastically more expensive in the long run. There are also more option in terms of the types of policies you can buy. In the U.S. there are term options as well as permanent/whole life insurance options.

Q: DF:

Names: Esteban & Jennifer Klor From: Manhattan, New York Been in Israel: 10 years Professions: Esteban is an Economics Professor at Hebrew University Jennifer is a freelance graphic designer

When you’re living far away from your family, your friends take over and become your family.

Why is it even better to buy the insurance before you make Aliyah?

Buying life insurance before you make Aliyah will save you a lot of money. If you decide you want American life insurance once you’re already living in Israel, you’ll have fewer companies to choose from. In contrast, if you purchase it while still living in the States, you get to pick from the top twenty companies.

Q: DF:

What do you love about living in Israel?

I’m a tremendous advocate of Aliyah. I have a deep connection to the land and kiss the soil every time I come back from a trip abroad! Since I moved here, I’ve taken up mountain biking and running which enables me to explore the beautiful and diverse Israeli landscape at a whole new level. Donny Fein, of DF Life Insurance -- a subsidiary of Sossin Financial Group based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida-- is an independent life insurance agent offering American life insurance policies to American Olim and Israel residents. Originally from Brooklyn, Donny was living with his wife and four boys in Long Island prior to their Aliyah in 2009.


THIS IS MY ISRAEL: Life on Aliyah

“Esteban and I met when we were twenty at Ulpan Kayitz in Hebrew University. He had just made aliyah from Argentina and I was doing a junior year abroad. Four years later we met again by chance when I was visiting. After we got married, we spent five years in Manhattan while Estenban was doing his Ph.D. in NYU and then a year in Rochester for his post doc. We’d both always felt a strong connection to Israel and when the opportunity arose for us to move (back), we jumped at the chance.” Jennifer feels that one of the most important aspects of having a successful absorption process into Israel, and ultimately a successful aliyah, is having a strong support system. “When you’re living far away from your family, your friends take over and

become your family. We’ve been here for ten years now, and it’s still really hard to be away from my family and I miss them a lot. Having deep friendships gives you the feeling that‘we’re all in this together and we can either sink or swim!” One of the services offered by Nefesh B’Nefesh that the Klors found most useful initially was the ‘adoption program’ . “Nefesh B’Nefesh put us in touch with an amazing family who had made aliyah the year before us and we became really close friends. They helped us with all the little things, like giving us the name of the driving instructor they’d used when we needed to convert our licenses, and sharing their experiences about Israeli schools. Building up a support system is invaluable.”

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PEACE OF MIND 32 Years of excellence · Over three decades of first-hand, expert, top-quality shipping services for new olim to Israel

STRAND IS THE REAL THING: • Ilan Servadio, Strand’s CEO, will personally survey your home and make sure that you understand all costs and logistics involved from start to finish. • Strand’s year-round experienced crew will pack, wrap, and haul your goods in Strand-owned trucks to Strand’s warehouse, where your goods will be stored, crated and consolidated, and/or containerized. • Upon arrival in Israel, Strand will handle the release of your goods and the delivery to your home. • We provide Top Quality Door-to-Door Service with No Hidden Costs and No False Pretenses.

Call today to receive our 32nd Anniversary DISCOUNTS!


In preparation for your move, come and learn from Strand’s experts: 1. Come to our table at the N’BN fair; 2. Come to our warehouse to learn how it is actually done (we recommend that you call to schedule an appointment); 3. Invite us for a free consultation at your residence

STRAND FREIGHT SYSTEMS INC. An International Move with Peace of Mind

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A SURVEY – IT IS FREE 5 West Shelton Terrace · Hillside, NJ 07205

NJ ( 908 ) 258 – 7983 · NY ( 718 ) 625 – 4357 ·

what does

10 years of NBN Aliyah Founded

look like?

Nefesh B’Nefesh was founded by Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, with the mission to revitalize North American Aliyah. NBN celebrated the arrival of its first chartered Aliyah flight that summer.

January 2002

Cabinet Decision November 2005

An unprecedented Israeli Government cabinet decision supporting private Aliyah organizations was passed, instituting State funding for Nefesh B’Nefesh.

UK Expansion May 2006

In response to requests from British Jewry, Nefesh B’Nefesh expanded its services to the U.K.

Physician Fellowship January 2008

In cooperation with the Legacy Heritage Fund, The Physician Aliyah Fellowship was launched to help better integrate physicians into the Israeli medical system.

Knesset Lobby March 2008

With the support of Nefesh B’Nefesh, a Knesset lobby was established to encourage Aliyah from western countries.

33,000 Olim 97% retention 175

communities throughout Israel

to 2,300 pioneers Israel’s periphery

4,000 babies 640 marriages

Strategic Partnership August 2008

Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel entered a strategic partnership creating a “one-stop-Aliyah-shop” for North Americans making Aliyah.

Go North Program December 2008

In cooperation with the Russell Berrie Foundation, the historic ‘Go North’ program was launched to help new Olim move to Northern Israel.

Lone Soldiers Program August 2011

December 2011 February 2012

Nefesh B’Nefesh and the FIDF partnered to help provide comprehensive support services to North American and British Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF.

30,000th Oleh

2,500 Oleh soldiers physicians & psychologists

378 420 educators scientists 650 & medical professionals

Nefesh B’Nefesh welcome its 30,000th Oleh.

Lone Soldiers Expansion

NBN & FIDF expand the Lone Soldiers Program internationally.

The Negev & Galil Development Project June 2012

Nefesh B’Nefesh and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael forge a partnership to encourage Olim to move to the Negev & Galil.

working in partnership to build a stronger ISRAEL through Aliyah


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This Is My Israel  

A look at life after Aliyah.

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