This is the 16th 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. 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. Every day, we see the need for more American Orthodox Jews to come to live in Israel. We need to vote those of little faith out of government. How can you continue to allow those who are willing to give away your heritage to our sworn enemy to continue to govern? It just doesn’t make any sense. This year, at the Seder table, when you stand up and declare “Next year let us be living in Jerusalem,” mean it sincerely and start to plan your Aliyah.
Mordechai and Barbara Goldman came on Aliyah in 1975 from Toronto, Canada. Barbara grew up in Toronto and was active in Bnei Akiva (madricha and rosh snif) and NCSY. She really wanted a shidduch with someone who had a desire to live in Israel. Mordechai came to Toronto for his doctoral studies, from the east coast of Canada (Fredericton, N.B. – the only one in Israel from his home town) in order to be in a religious community, where he could find his bashert.
Barbara received her degree from the University of Toronto in psychology and English literature. Mordechai received his PhD from the University of Toronto. They were married in 1970, with the clear goal of making Aliyah as soon as they finished their education. They were in the forefront of the Garin Aliyah in Toronto, which eventually joined with a similar American Garin to make Aliyah to Elazar. They made Aliyah with two little ones, and now, Baruch Hashem, have seven children, and many grandchildren, ken yirbu.
When they arrived in Israel, they did not go to an absorption center – instead Yishuv Elazar functioned somewhat as such. It made their absorption easier to be part of a group, but still the conditions were much harder than they are today.
They were among the 14 founding members of Elazar in Gush Etzion, which, at the time, was a Moshav Shitufi (collective moshav) based on industry. Barbara worked as a bookkeeper, which she learned at her father’s knee. Mordechai became part of the team in the chemical company, which was part of the Moshav. They lived without a phone for the first seven years in Elazar, and later in Netzer Hazani in Gush Katif.
They left behind family and friends in Toronto, with whom they kept in touch by regular snail mail. They encouraged their relatives and friends to come to Israel for family semachot, and arranged an array of bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings, Baruch Hashem, which many of them attended.
Today, they live in Beer Sheva, where Mordechai works as a chemist in Dead Sea Bromine Compounds Limited, and Barbara busies herself with organizing Torah classes for women in Beer Sheva, as well as other volunteer activities. They began a project called “Page-by-Page in Jewish History,” connecting the Jewish people to our unique history, according to the Hebrew calendar, which keeps them quite busy. They are always looking for new readers – at the moment only in Hebrew, but they hope to resume publication in English also. Readers may sign up on their site: http://www.jewishistorydaf.org/.
All of their children have served in the army and Sherut Leumi, except their youngest, who is still in high school. The children have settled throughout Judea and Samaria: Har Bracha, Shvut Rachel, Bet El, Kiryat Arba and Otniel. They are all passionate about Israel, and about the Jewish people and they believe, as their parents do, in the values of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, according to the Torah of Yisrael.
Their oldest son has a degree in computers, their second son works as a systems engineer, and the next is a sofer stam. The fourth has a degree in bookkeeping; the fifth is studying economics and working for the army at the same time. Their oldest daughter has a B.Ed. from the Michlala in Jerusalem, and her husband (also from a family of olim vatikim) is an accountant.
Mordechai and Barbara, Baruch Hashem, have been successful in their Aliyah and in raising their children to follow in their ideals. They feel privileged to be part of an Aliyah which has come out of choice, and not out of hardship. They pray that all Jews in Canada and the U.S. will join them here, out of a desire to help build the land of Israel, and witness together with us the beginning of the Redemption. (see their family picture on this page).
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Joel and Faye Horden came on Aliyah in 1973 from Spring Valley-Monsey, N.Y. At the time of their Aliyah, Joel was the Chief Management Scientist at the Headquarters of Martin Marietta Corp. in N.Y. They live in Herzliya. After coming on Aliyah, Joel worked as a Senior Computer Scientist for Tekem (Advanced Technology Ltd.), one of Israel’s first and leading software houses. Many of the projects he worked on were in the field of Air Defense for the Israeli Air Force.
After earning her MA at Bar Ilan University, Faye taught English in high school. They are the proud parents of five children – the last two, twins born in Israel, were recently married. They have 16 grandchildren from their oldest three children. Their oldest son, Meir, is on Shlichut as the Orthodox Rabbi of Stockholm, Sweden. Their second son, David, is a neighborhood Rabbi in Herzliya, a Rosh Kollel and is the head of the local Garin Torani. Their son-in-law is the rabbi of Carmei Tzur, a community near the Gush Etzion bloc in Judea.
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Jonathan Patinkin came to Israel in 1969 from Chicago immediately after high school for one year to learn Torah at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh (KBY). He was a National Merit Scholar with offers from many of the top universities in the U.S. He was accepted to Yeshiva University to study biology, but deferred beginning his studies for one year to learn in Israel. One year led to a second, and after two years, he began studying biology at Hebrew University, since his parents had plans of coming on Aliyah.
He met his wife while volunteering at Shaare Zedek Hospital while studying for his Bachelor’s degree. After getting his BSc, he married an Israeli girl (Ruth Keller of Kibbutz Hafetz Haim), did six months army service, and received an MSc in biochemistry from the Weitzman Institute of Science. He has worked in the early Israel biotech industry, and is today a patent attorney in the biotechnology field.
His wife teaches Tanach in a girls’ religious high school in Yerushalayim. They have lived in Rehovot and Jerusalem, and for the last 22 years in Beit El. They have eight children, three of whom are married and six grandchildren, ken yirbu. The five girls are working and studying in various fields: special education, multi-media education, graphic artist, nursing and social work. Two of the boys (twins) study at Mercaz Harav, and the youngest boy is in 9th grade.
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Rabbi and Mrs. Levy Van Leeuwen came in 1972 from Chicago with their two children. Levy had finished his M.A. in clinical psychology, had received S’micha from Skokie Yeshiva, and had been a day school teacher for five years. He was of course very active in Bnei Akiva. His wife was a teacher, and a La Maze certified instructor. They had many friends and were very happy, but they wanted to live in Israel. They left behind family and friends, many of whom eventually followed them to Israel.
In Israel, Levy worked as a school psychologist for 30 years. His wife raised seven children [b’li ayin hara] and they now have 16 grandchildren. Levy worked with Olim in moshavim and in the city. and with Ethiopian and Russian Olim.
Levy is very active in the field of psychology. He is a senior supervising psychologist, a certified specialist for the Ministry of Health, an instructor for the Israel Psychological Association, a former director of the Kiryat Arba Crisis Intervention Center, and a member of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
(To Be Continued)
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