Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
This is the fourth part of a series on Aliyah and Klita (absorption) stories of American Jews who came to Israel for ideological and religious reasons in the past years.
I remember my first visit to Israel in 1956. I was attending the first American Bnei Akiva Hachshara training program in Israel. We traveled by ship for two weeks until we finally landed in Haifa.
In those days, everyone was a pioneer and a friend. I vividly recall several incidents while I was hitchhiking around the country. Once, I was hitchhiking from Ashdod to Tel Aviv. A taxi stopped and as I was explaining that I could not afford a taxi, the driver said, “Hop in, I’m not asking you for money. I would like some company on my to Tel Aviv.”
Another time I was lost in Ramat Gan, searching for my Israeli cousin’s apartment where I was to stay for Shabbat. From a nearby porch someone asked what the problem was, and when I explained he said, “It should be nearby, but if you don’t find him, come to our house for Shabbat.” Another time, we were hitchhiking toward Eilat. As night was falling, some workers picked us up. They insisted that we spend the night in their moshav. The next morning, they asked that we stay for a bris because they were going to slaughter a sheep in honor of the bris. It was a different time and a different world.
* * *
Naftali and Evelyn (nee Offenbacher) Stern came on Aliya in 1966, five months after their wedding. Naftali received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern U. in Boston. He was a packaging engineer for Raytheon working on space modules for the NASA flights and for Bendix Electronics, which built air-to-air missile for the United States Air Force. He left behind a chance to make a great deal of money.
In Israel, Naftali did electronic packaging and then ran the Calibration labs at Rafael Industries. He serves today as a consultant in Quality Assurance and Metrology. Seven years ago, he received a Masters degree in Quality Assurance from the Haifa Technion.
Evelyn was a teacher in the United States. In Israel, she studied to be a librarian and has been working at the Mathematics Library in the Technion for over 25 years. Today, she is in charge of the Library.
Naftali and Evelyn raised a family of three girls in Israel. Their oldest daughter, Rachel, lives in Psagot. She is the mother of six and has her own business called “Racheli Itzuvim” – designing different types of Judaica. Their second daughter, Elana, has been a special education teacher for 15 years and is the mother of four. The youngest daughter, Nava, is the Quality Assurance manager at the National Virological Lab at Tel Hashomer Hospital.
* * *
Jay Shapiro graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an MSc in physics and has held technical and management positions with the US Army Ordnance Corps, Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and General Electric Space Systems Division (GESD) before moving to Israel in 1969 to work at Israel Aircraft Industries. He worked in administration on the Lavi project and was Contracts Manager of the Helicopter Systems Program.
Jay has participated in scores of successful proposal efforts including the Night Targeting System (NTS), a combined program for the US Marine Corps and the Israel Air Force, which was the first prime contract for a major weapon system between the U.S. government and an Israeli-led international industrial team.
Since 1994, he has been the General Manager of Erno Contracting Associates, a consulting firm dealing primarily with contracting with the U.S. government. His firm also deals with drafting patents for the United States Patent Office, and with translation of technical documentation from Hebrew to English.
* * *
Pesach (Paul) and Debbie Rogoway gave up a lot to come to live in Israel, and they lost a son here in a car accident, but they do not regret for one moment moving from the “Gan Eden” of Monsey to a two and a half-room apartment in Haifa.
Pesach graduated from Yeshiva College where he majored in mathematics and served in his junior year as Editor-in-Chief of The Commentator. He was then hired by Ramo-Wooldridge, now part of TRW, for a pioneering programming assignment in guided missile flight simulation. He advanced rapidly and was a member of the team that developed the extremely popular PL/I programming language, and later joined IBM where he became, at the age of 28, a Senior Programmer, the highest technical level in IBM. He served in many senior positions and won a prestigious Outstanding Contribution Award for his PL/I development role.
Pesach, originally from Seattle, and his wife Debbie, from LA, met at the Bnei Akiva Moshava in California and married in 1956. They spent a year on Kibbutz Shluchot in 1958-9, returned to the USA, and moved from L.A. to Monsey, where they and their five children lived in a 13-room home on a huge parcel of wooded land.
Those in the know say that Pesach was undoubtedly destined to be a Vice President at IBM, but after the Six Day War, he and Debbie decided it was time to make aliyah. In 1968, they sold their home in Monsey and moved to Haifa, where Pesach became Manager of Elbit Computer’s Software Division. He held several senior management and technical positions in software engineering in Israel.
He later joined Motorola Israel where he founded two successful software development departments, served as Chief Software Engineer, and rose to become Motorola Corporate Director of Software Quality Standards for the entire Motorola worldwide company until 2000, when he took early retirement. While at Motorola, Pesach was responsible for bringing millions of dollars worth of software development projects to Israel.
Pesach is a retired Member of Motorola’s Science Advisory Board Associates (SABA), and is the winner of Motorola Outstanding Impact Awards for contribution to the ISO 9000-3 revision project and the ISO/IEC 15504 project. He now serves as a consultant to companies in Israel and elsewhere in the areas of systems and software process improvement including training, assessment and coaching.
Pesach serves on various international committees and working groups in areas such as systems and software life cycle models, capability assessment, technology and tools, and process improvement. He is Israel’s delegate to several international software standards organizations, including those responsible for ISO/IEC 15504 (SPICE) and ISO 9000-3. He is a founder and chairperson of the Israel Software Process Improvement Network (ISPIN).
Pesach and Debbie live in Petach Tikva, and their children and tens of grandchildren all live in Israel. Debbie worked for many years as a bookkeeper, and has now dedicated her life to her family and to helping many needy friends in the community. Pesach is a member of the Board of Directors of the Yeshiva University Israel Alumni Association and a founder of a computerized Bet Medrash project, which is in the advanced planning stage.
Today, Pesach and Debbie live in a Petach Tikva penthouse, with a pool and Shabbat elevator. Despite his daily stress and total dissatisfaction with the ethical level and irrationality of Israel’s government and the seriously clouded Zionist dream that the government represents, he and his wife feel that they have really made a difference through their way of living. Pesach and Debbie are confident that their commitment and ideas will win out in the end, because, after all, Hashem is on their side.
(To Be Continued)
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The meaning of “God’s watch” here is not entirely clear.
Don’t Israelis and Arab Palestinians deserve more than this? Is it not time to stop the insanity?
At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
As shocking and insulting and horrifying as it is, Nazi war criminals are still living freely among us.
One can almost imagine a shocked Mr. Kerry thinking to himself, “How could he?” Yet not only did Mr. Putin do what he did, China, one of the three major international players along with the U.S. and Russia, agreed with him, not with Mr. Kerry.
It really is time for painful sacrifices for peace. No one wants his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to suffer the pangs of war and strife. It is time to end the strife and make peace in the Middle East.
Israel is a country that understands security concerns. Many civil rights have been sacrificed in the name of security and Israelis are used to being checked every time they enter a shopping center, a large store or any public building. Americans recently learned that they, too, are subject to many checks on their most private activities.
The Israeli Parliament is usually controlled by a coalition of different political parties because no one party receives enough votes to have a majority. Unlike in the U.S., where there are two major political parties and one of the two political parties commands a majority of the seats in the Senate and/or in the House, in Israel the government is composed of many, many small political parties, each pushing its own agenda.
The title above is a lovely thought. Unfortunately, there are too many times when Israeli Orthodox Jews behave in very divisive ways. I have mentioned, on occasion, that it would most probably bring the Mashiach if Orthodox Jews in Israel were ever to unite. We are so divided politically that Sephardi Jews will not support Ashkenazi Jews and Ultra-Orthodox Jews will not work with the Modern Orthodox or with the Zionist Orthodox.
Israel recently commemorated Memorial Day in memory of its fallen heroes. Sadness permeates the day as we remember the sons, daughters and parents who have sacrificed their lives so that the Jewish Nation can continue to exist.
The title of this article is the supposed motto of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, but for Americans living in Israel it means, literally, vote twice. Both Israel and America are holding important elections and, hopefully, most Orthodox Jews will be voting. The United States will be holding its regular four-year elections for president and many other offices, and Israel will be voting for an entire “new” Parliament (Knesset).
We left Reno, Nevada, early Sunday morning and decided to take the scenic route to Salt Lake City, rather than travel by super highway, but Route 50 turned out to be not very scenic as we crossed Nevada and Utah. We stopped at a roadside table at noon, where the men heated and ate LaBriute meals while the women enjoyed their cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. We have followed this pattern of meals ever since the women decided not to eat the packaged meals.
San Francisco is a lovely city and we enjoyed its many tourist venues. The famous Lombard Street, known as “The Crookedest Street in the World,” was beautiful, with its floral decorations. We shopped at Pier 39, and we bought matching San Francisco jackets. We really needed them since it was cold in San Francisco. Barbara added to her magnet collection, which contains magnets from dozens of countries around the world that we have toured. She’d never been in a store that sold thousands of magnets and she just loved looking at all the magnets on the walls.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/true-role-models-part-four/2004/12/29/
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