It was a 3,300-year-long detour, according to Victor Rousso, but the trip was worth the wait. (The 3,300 year marker is a reference to the approximate time from which the Jews existed in the Land of Israel.)
Victor and Nelda Rousso visit the Western Wall on their 65th wedding anniversary.
Rousso, a lifelong businessman and his wife Nelda celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last week by making aliyah to Jerusalem from the United States. They spent their first night at home in their new apartment in the capital last Thursday.
Nelda and Victor Rousso: ‘Our 3,300 year detour ends!’
The couple, who spent most of their adult years living in Atlanta, Georgia, traveled for their final few weeks to be with their children in Baltimore while Victor wrapped up arrangements for his company — RoussoUSA.com, LLC — to be managed by his granddaughter while he explores the possibility of opening a startup in Israel.
Victor and Nelda Rousso, pre-aliyah.
The two nonagenarians have children and grandchildren on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and when the time came to make the decision, they both say they agreed it was “the right thing to do.”
In an exclusive set of interviews with JewishPress.com, the couple shared their thoughts on their journey in a series of emails before and right after their arrival.
Victor and Nelda Rousso say the El Al staff were “very helpful” in getting them through customs at JFK.
“Aliyah went very smooth with us,” wrote Victor,” as long as we did not rush the process. There are a lot of hoops that we went through; they were all very competent and considerate.” But he readily points out that for him, it was much easier. His wife, a hospital RN until her retirement in 1993, “gave up much more than I did to make this move. She had the perfect home in the perfect community, in the wrong country,” he wrote. “She has always been active in every community we have lived in.”
Nelda Rousso wrote that from the start she was “looking forward for the future of the move.” Her main concern, she said, was “the many friends that I am leaving in the USA.” That having been said, she described with flowing eloquence her long, deep relationship with the State and the Land.
Nelda and Victor Rousso, on the start of their journey through life.
“My attachment to Israel started when there was excitement that Israel would become a nation,” she wrote. “There was no television or internet, but excitement was in the air.
“Theaters with larger-than-life screens had lengthy news [reports] about current events. Newspapers and radios kept us up to date.
“Soon after we were married, I became an active member of Hadassah. My husband and I supported the United Jewish Fund. During this period, our love for Israel grew and grew. We rejoiced with the good news and cried with the sad.
“I collected books and read everything I could about Israel.
“We often thought the day would come when we would move,” she wrote. “Finally we realized it was time to pack, while we are healthy and active and could truly enjoy being in Our Beloved Country.
“The USA has been wonderful and for the most part hospitable towards the Jews,” she added, “but at the end of the day this is not our country.”
Hana Levi Julian