In Israel, a new five month scholarship program being offered to young aspiring athletes – one of them could be you.
This is the ninth 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.
Few countries in the world have the concern for its citizens that Israel has. During the recent tragedy of death in Southeast Asia, the whole country was concerned about the relatively small number of Israelis missing. Some citizens of Scandinavian countries criticized their own governments for not showing the concern for its citizens that Israel showed. Not only did Israel send aid and rescue teams, but it also sent teams to search for Israeli victims and even Zaka teams for identification of bodies.
The whole country rejoiced when one or another of the supposed victims was found alive, and the Israeli travel insurance companies even sent representatives to help those Israelis in need. It was a national effort. Israel is our real home!
Caryn and Steve Gale and their two daughters made Aliyah 10 years ago from Pittsburgh where, unlike in Israel, they were surrounded by their very supportive family. They left a thriving Jewish community where they were very active members in their synagogue and community, and where they could have purchased a large, beautiful home for about $120,000.
They came to live in Israel, in a fourth floor walkup in a four-room apartment that cost more than $120,000. They did not have the luxury of coming on a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight, nor were they offered any other incentives. There was little group support, because there definitely wasn’t any type of mass Aliyah from Pittsburgh. They did, however, have their good friends, the Jaffes, who also made Aliyah, and they decided to take the plunge together.
Caryn and Steve gave up good, high paying jobs with a lot of opportunity for growth in the USA. Steve had to accept a major pay cut (about 50%) for a job with a company in Israel that ended up closing down after about two years. Caryn at first had no job prospects at all, and was in full-time Hebrew Ulpan. The life decision to make aliyah was not an easy one, and they did not make Aliyah to get away from any problems. They made aliyah because their oldest daughter was entering kindergarten, and they felt that it was the cut-off age for their kids to have a successful Aliyah.
They came because Israel is the homeland of the Jews – and America is not. They came because they are religious Jews, and they felt that they wanted to be comfortable in their every-day life as religious Jews. Thank G-d they have been successful in Israel, and they now live in a beautiful home.
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Rabbi Eliezer Waldman was born in Israel, but when he was three years old, his family moved to the USA so that he, too, can be considered an American Oleh. His family had intended to remain for a short time, but with the outbreak of World War II, the family remained in New York City where Eliezer grew up.
Young Eliezer completed his undergraduate education in the United States in Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah VoDaath, Mesivta Chaim Berlin, Yeshiva University, and Brooklyn College. As an active member of the Bnei Akiva Zionist Youth Organization, he yearned to return home.
In 1956, he came to Israel as part of a Hachshara group sent for a year’s program combining six months of work at Kibbutz Yavne with six months of study at the nearby Yeshiva Kerem B’Yavne. Once there, he was determined to remain in Israel.
Rabbi Eliezer attended and received his ordination from Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem. In 1964, Rabbi Waldman was appointed to be a senior lecturer in Talmud at the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva Ohr Etzion, a position he held until coming to Kiryat Arba. His IDF military service as a tank corps chaplain and troop carrier driver found him serving on the banks of the Suez Canal, often under heavy enemy fire.
In 1968, Rabbi Waldman was asked to help organize and lead a group of student pioneers who sought to reestablish Jewish learning in the holy city of Hebron. From this early nucleus evolved the present Hesder Yeshiva, the Nir College of Judaic Studies. Rabbi Waldman and the institution he founded became the focal point around which the town of Kiryat Arba, the first urban settlement in the Jewish lands liberated in June 1967, was established.
Today, Kiryat Arba still stands as the example of Jewish settlement in these redeemed Jewish lands. Imbued with the vision, pioneering spirit and religious philosophy of Israel’s first Chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, of blessed memory, the graduates of Kiryat Arba’s Hesder yeshiva fill positions of leadership in education, settlement and defense throughout the Jewish state.
Rabbi Waldman was a founder of the Techiya political party and served in the Israel Knesset. He was the founder and is a Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Nir in Kiryat Arba. He is a much sought after political lecturer in Israel and abroad, and is the author of books and articles on Jewish philosophy, the festivals and current Jewish events. His commentaries are published in The Jewish Press as well as e-mailed to an extensive list. Rabbi and Mrs. Waldman are very proud of their eight children and over 30 grandchildren.
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Pessach Derdiger became a Zionist and religious at the age of 13 while attending Camp Moshava in Wild Rose. Since then, he wanted and planned to live in Israel. In January, 1977, after receiving his BSc in education from Northern Illinois University, Pessach left Lincolnwood, Il. and came directly to Israel with a clear mind and no obligations. He tried it. He liked it. He stayed.
Pessach lived on Kibbutz Beerot Yitzhak for five years. After getting married, he and his wife left kibbutz and he underwent job retraining to computer programming. He has been working in that profession since 1984. Pessach worked at Iscar Metals for three years, then at Liraz Systems for seven years, and since then for 10 years at Aman Computers. He, his wife and their two sons live in Petach Tikvah.
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Sondra and Ed Baras made Aliyah in 1984, from NYC, where they had lived since their wedding in 1979. Sondra is originally from Cleveland, where she was an active member of Bnei Akiva. Ed hailed from Silver Spring, Maryland. They had two babies, a two-year-old and a three-month-old when they came.
Sondra had a BA in History and English and a JD (law degree), both from Columbia University. She had worked in the tax department at Stroock, Stroock & Lavan, a Wall Street law firm, before Aliyah. Ed had a BA in Computer Science from Columbia and an MBA from NYU. He worked at Standard & Poor’s, and had already published two books with McGraw Hill on computer software before making Aliyah.
They came on Aliyah for one reason only – they are religious Zionists. They believed that the State of Israel is the beginning of the Geulah, and the most important event that happened to the Jewish people since the building of the Second Temple. They did not want to miss out on being in Israel. And they wanted to make a difference, which is one of the reasons they moved to a community in Samaria.
Shortly after arriving in Israel, Sondra joined the governing board of Neve Aliza, which planned to build a new neighborhood in Karnei Shomron, where they live to this very day.
Both Ed and Sondra have been active members of their community – serving on the boards of two different shuls, as well as committees within the community. They have five children, ages 14 to 22. The oldest has already finished the Hesder learning/army program, the second one is now in Hesder, and the third, their only daughter, is doing National Service in a school for troubled children in Haifa. The younger two are still in high school.
Ed works in computers for Matrix, customizing software for industrial and commercial outfits. Sondra is the director of the international office (based in Israel) of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities – an organization that connects Christians with the communities in Yesha, involving public relations, tourism and fundraising. (Their family picture can be seen on this page).
(To Be Continued)
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How far the PA will go to present the lie as the truth and the truth as a lie? Its claim that Jesus was a Palestinian is old hat. But now the “resurrection” also refers to “the Palestinian state.”
The progressive consolidation imagines that organization can contain the messier side of man.
The Russian Yakhont missiles already delivered to Syria threaten Israel Navy ships carrying out vital missions in the Mediterranean.
America could be said to be building a united front against Iran, but at what price?
The Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam.
Palestinian youths from Hebron, though, who met with Israelis near Bethlehem to share their problems and insights have been forced to issue a statement distancing themselves from the meeting.
Benghazi isn’t likely to keep Hillary out of the Democratic field in 2016, but after 2008, she is justifiably paranoid.
The contractors received the land at a bargain basement price, moved the prices up to 1.8 million NIS and pocketed one million NIS per apartment.
Many of my fellow college students are quick to voice their acceptance of their LGBT friends, but they turn up their noses and frown slightly when they speak of a Hasid.
The growing revelations that the Obama State Department watered down public statements on the attack in order to cleanse them of any mention of al Qaeda and terrorism is a travesty.
We must confront Islamist groups with what Prime Minister David Cameron referred to as “muscular liberalism.”
Al-Qaradawi’s visit and statements also serve as a reminder that the Israeli-Arab conflict is centered, more than ever, around religion.
Everyone who reads newspapers should know at least one thing. Threats to annihilate Israel have always been unremarkable. Almost never, it seems, have Israel’s existential enemies sought any reason for concealment.
Mark Treyger, a candidate for city council in New York City’s 47th council district, met recently with the editorial board of The Jewish Press at the newspaper’s Boro Park office.
Israel’s government did not want to liberate Jerusalem. Or to be more specific, the Labor and National Religious Party ministers did not want to liberate Jerusalem. “Who needs that whole Vatican?” Defense Minister Moshe Dayan explained at the time.
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.
On Sunday morning, after breakfast at the Elite Café, we loaded the van, filled the gas tank and travelled the famous Route #1 from Los Angeles toward San Francisco, along the Pacific Ocean coast. It was the 4th of July weekend and the narrow route was crowded with miles of RV’s, campers and fellow travelers. Traffic was a bit slow along the way.
While in Las Vegas, my wife, Barbara, fed several quarters into a machine that really cleaned us out. She then fed more quarters into another machine that dried all of our clothes.
We left Santa Fe on our way to visit the Painted Forest and the Petrified Forest in Arizona. Part of our day was spent traveling on the historic Route 66 and we stopped at the state visitor’s center as we entered Arizona. At each state visitor’s center, we stopped to gather information about interesting sites and to request coupon booklets with reduced entry coupons.
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