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True Role Models (Part Fifteen)

This is the 15th part of a series on Aliyah and Klita (absorption) stories of American Jews who came to Israel for ideological and religious reasons in past years. The purpose of the series is to emphasize the quality of the early Olim to Israel from America and to disprove the thesis that Olim in the early years of the state were unsuccessful shnorrers.

As Israelis suffer the stress of disengagement and the beginning of the dismemberment of the Jewish homeland, it is still important for American religious Jewish families to come on Aliyah. We cannot fathom Sharon’s logic and we cannot understand the faith so many Israelis have in the Arab leadership. but we must continue to hope and pray.

The weariness from continued bloodshed and the sad results of Arab terror and intransigence have placed many of those Jews with little faith in a mood to try anything for peace (even when we know that it will lead to more war and bloodshed). Come help us vote these fools out of power.

Howie (Chaim) and Rozy Feldman both came on Aliyah (separately) as part of the Garin Bnei Akiva that settled in Kibbutz Yavne. Howie came on Aliyah in 1968. Rozy (nee Monderer) came a year later. Howie was born and bred in Brooklyn, majored in Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University and graduated in 1967. In his youth, he was a member of Young Judea and following his year’s study program in Israel (Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi) he switched to Bnei Akiva. Rozy was born and raised in Kew Gardens, Queens. She went to Manhattan Central (YU) and following her year on Hachshara at Kibbutz Yavne, studied at Queens College, majoring in math.

Howie and Rozy met in Bnei Akiva. Howie was a leader and choreographer of the Bnei Akiva dance group in New York which performed together with all of the Zionist youth groups each year at Carnegie Hall. Rozy was also in the dance group. They met, they married and they settled in Kibbutz Yavne. They lived in Kibbutz Yavne for two years. He worked in the Kibbutz as a plumber while Rozy continued her studies in a new direction and received a Masters degree in Jewish Education from Touro College (Jerusalem) and a degree in graphic arts.

Their first daughter was born in Yavne. They moved to Ramat Chen and were active in the religious community. Three more children were born in Ramat Chen. Both Rozy and Howie were searching for some additional ideological purpose, so they sold their house and moved to the Elkana settlement in the Shomron. Rozy is serving on the municipal council. Howie joined the Mishmar Ezrachi and is on duty once a week. Howie set up a business in roof ventilation and Rozy became a lecturer at Talpiot Teachers’ College, teaching basic computer skills, graphic art, computer graphics and classroom design.

Their greatest assets are their children: Hadas is a sea-kayak instructor in Herzliya – she recently returned from circumnavigating Japan on a kayak; Dafna left a hi-tech career to work in the Nature Reserve Society, marking and mapping hiking paths; Tamar is a high school English teacher; Moshe is serving in an elite unit in the Israeli Army. (see the family picture on this page)

* * * * *

Steven (Shalom) Feigelstock made Aliyah in August of 1969. Prior to making Aliyah, he lived in Brooklyn and was an Assistant Professor of Math at the Polytechnic Inst. of Brooklyn. He left behind parents, a sister and friends in order to come on Aliyah. He is an Associative Professor and has been teaching math at Bar-Ilan since he arrived in Israel. Steven is married and has six children and ten grandchildren.

* * * * *

Iryah Mordechai came on Aliyah in 1980. She had a B.A. from Touro College in History and Judaica. In college, she was on the Dean’s List and was the assistant editor of the college paper. She was a Yeshiva of Flatbush student who was accepted to college on early admissions after 11th grade, with a Regent’s scholarship. In America, she was active in the fight to free Soviet Jewry, in demanding that the U.S. government not deport Jewish Iranian students when the Shah lost power, and she was a member and leader in Bnei Akiva and Moshava.

In Israel, Iryah studied law in Bar Ilan University in the days when many Israelis had to send their children to learn law abroad, due to the lack of space in the Israeli law faculties. She practiced law in a private office for a while and then in the public service in the legal department of the city of Netanya. After that, she was appointed the legal advisor of the City of Hadera. For the past six years, she has served on the bench as a Magistrate Judge for the State of Israel (a job which required her to give up her U.S. citizenship).

Three years ago, Iryah joined the too many Israeli citizens who were forced to sacrifice and become victims of terror when her husband, Yair (z”l), was murdered while preventing a terrorist bomber from performing a mass terror attack, leaving Iryah with five orphaned children.

Two of Iryah’s sisters and her brother made Aliyah long ago, and are no less “successful” in raising their families and in their fields of academic work. Iryah feels that, “With all humility, I don’t think that we match the criteria of unsuccessful schnorrers.” She was not the first or only North American to be appointed as a judge by Israel. There are so many ex-North Americans in key positions and doing service to the State that it would be quite difficult to include them all in an article.

* * * * *

Shlomo and Elaine Goldberg lived in New York City, Boston, Mass., Omaha, Nebraska, Washington D.C., and Monsey, New York. They came to Israel because they felt that they had a lot to contribute towards building a Jewish homeland. Shlomo has a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and worked for IBM Research. Elaine has a degree in Education with a major in English and Hebrew. She also has a Master’s degree from Brandeis in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.

They came on Aliyah from Monsey in 1968 with three young children. Prior to coming, they sold a 10-room house and two cars. Eight other families from Monsey, who had been considering Aliyah, saw their enthusiastic absorption and followed them to Haifa. They too are all in Israel today with their families.

In Israel, Shlomo worked in the Technion for over 27 years as the chief engineer of the Computer Science Department. At the time of his retirement, he headed an engineering group that maintained all of the Computer Science Department’s computers and laboratories.

Elaine was the head of the English Department in the local religious high school for over 20 years and now is a lecturer in English and a teacher trainer at two teachers’ colleges. Thirty five years ago, she organized an English speaking branch of the Emunah women’s organization (to help new arrivals with their absorption into Israeli society), a group which is still strongly active.

Shlomo and Elaine have been happily married for almost 50 years and, with G-d’s help, have succeeded in raising four children (and numerous grandchildren) who are all proud Zionists. Their children are married, gainfully employed and raising beautiful families. Three of their children have university degrees and the fourth has a full semicha. One is a computer engineer, one is an occupational therapist and two work in education.

The Goldbergs have become a truly international family. Their eldest son married a girl from Strassbourg, France; their daughter married a man from Toronto, Canada; another son married a Sabra whose grandparents are of German extraction; and their youngest son is married to a fourth generation Sabra. All of their children and grandchildren are living in Israel and have never left (except for a brief vacation or business trips).

(To Be Continued)

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