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Abba and Mommy



Rationale




I decided to write my I-face project on my parents.
My dad is the minahel (director) of a seminary for girls from all over the world, who take a year off after high school to come and learn here. My mom is a technical writer.
I decided to write about them, because they are my first connection to Israel and the reason I live here.
My parents decided to leave America, to leave their families and comfortable lives to come here.

I really appreciate what my parents did and I'm really happy that they did it!!!!

Profile



Abba

My father was born on 28 Iyar, June 6 1967- the day the Israelis won the 6 day war, and got Yerushaliem. His family was not orthodox but were very connected to Judaism and to Israel. His father was waiting outside the labor room and was watching the Israeli army enter Yerushaliem. My grandfather got very excited and when a nurse came and said “you have a son”, he answered “we have Jerusalem”. My grandfather wanted to name him Jerusalem saying they would call him jerry for short but my grandmother didn’t agree. Instead they named him Asher Eliyahu / Alan Eli. My father was born 6 weeks before his due day, and was about the size of my grandfather’s hand. After 6 weeks in the hospital thank God he was fine.
He grew up in Livingston New Jersey. He has 1 younger brother.
When he was about 15 his family started becoming more and more religious.
My dad was an active member in NCSY. He was chapter president, chapter coordinator, regional president an adviser and adviser of the year. Later on he was also on the administration board. Being in NCSY as a kid helped influence a little his decision to make aliya.
After high school my dad went to a year in Yeshivat Har Etzion.
Yeshivat Har Etzion is in Alon Shevut, Israel.This year in Israel helpedinfluence his decision to make aliya.
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Yeshivat Har Etzion

After that he went back to America and learned in YU. He got a major in computers. He also later on got a master in Jewish history and smicha.


Mommy

My Mom was born on 26 Adar Alef, march 8 1967. My grandparents named her Malka Chava/ Monica Cherel. She grew up in Elizabeth New Jersey. She has a younger sister and a younger brother. My mom says that one of the things that helped influence her to make aliya was here parents honesty in the right thing.
My mom was also involved in NCSY. She was on the chapter board, chapter coordinator and an advisor. Later on she was on the administration board.
After high school my mother went to a year in Israel, in Michlala (in Jerusalem).
She got a major in computers and in Jewish studies.





Abba and Mommy

They got married on 21 Elul, December 21 1989. After they got married they spent a year in Israel, my dad learned for another year in Yeshivat Har etzion and they lived in the kolel apartments in Alon Shevut. During that year my older sister, Sara was born. They went back to America and lived in Washington Heights. There I (Batsheva) was born. They moved to Monsey and there my brother Moshe was born.
In 1997 we moved to Israel. There are many reasons why: "I felt like history was happening and I wanted to be a part of it not watching from afar"- Mommy. "I'm a Jew and I wanted to be in my homeland"- Abba. Also they thought there would be a better life for their children here. And my dad wanted to help run MMY. Their families were very supportive of their decisions. My parents looked for a place to live- a makom torah, with a similar haskaa to their own and a Zionist place.
We now live in Alon shevut. They moved there because of the yeshiva (Har Etzion), and the fact that as opposed to when we lived in America we only have one car, so they looked for a small place where everything is within walking distance. Also they had friends here from when they spent a year in kollel here.
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The Shuls in Alon Shevut


Two of my brothers were born here- Tzvi and Elchanan. my dad is the menahel in MMY (Miclelet Mevaseret Yerushaliem) - a seminary for girls from other countries after high school. He feels that this is one of the ways he can contribute to Israel- "by bringing girls from other countries and giving them a year in Israel, showing them the country" (Abba). My mom is a technical writer. She feels that this is also one of the ways she can contribute to Israel- "by going to work in the merkaz as a religious woman who lives in Gush Etzion" (Mommy).


There are many difficulties living in Israel. The hardest in my parents opinion is that at the moment we have no family in Israel. You can deal with these difficulties through email, phone calls and that your friends become like family.
All in all my parents are very happy that they made aliya. They say that their daily life here is very different than in America:
We only have one car here, more going into peoples houses, more interaction with the neighbors and living in a Jewish country.
"when I stand at Tzomet Hagush and I see a street sign that says 'Chevron, Kiryat Arba, and Be'er Sheva' to the right and 'Yerushaliem and Beit Lechem' to the left, and I think to myself that Avraham Avinu probably saw the same signbut the distance was probably in cubits not kilometers
" (Abba)

When asked who their israel face is Abba answered- Rav Lictenstine (one of the rashy yeshiva in yeshivat har etzion).
Mommy answered- her friends in alon shevut.


Background Research




Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushaliem (MMY):


One of my memories from when I was younger, is running around MMY on some Shabbtot with the other teacher’s kids. Sine we moved here the school my dad works in has been a major part of our life here. We spend many of our chagim and some of our Shabbatot there, also when we are home for Shabbat we usually have girls from the school for Shabbat.

MMY was founded in 1996. It is a female branch of the boys school yeshivat mevaseret.
The name of the school comes from yeshayahu: על הר גבה עלי לך מבשרת ציון הרימי בכח קולך מבשרת ירושלים...אמרי לערי יהודה הנה א-לקיכם"
(ישעיה מ:ט) מבשרת ציון"

MMY has grown over the years and now has an average of 80-90 students a year.

For more information on MMY you can go to the school’s website:
http://www.mevaseret.org/mmy



NCSY:

My parents were both active member in NCSY. They met there and worked together there before and after they got married.

NCSY was founded in 1954 by the Orthodox Union. NCSY was founded with Harold and Enid Boxer’s vision- “to provide Jewish teens with an opportunity to build a strong connection to their Jewish roots through inspiration and leadership skills.” (NCSY website).

NCSY has regions all over North America:
New England, Upper New York, New York, Long Island, New Jersey, Atlantic Seaboard, Central East, Southern, South Florida, Greater Midwest, Southwest, West Coast, Northwest, and Canada.
NCSY also has programs in Israel and Chile.

NCSY has many activities. These activities are usually chapter activities, sometimes regional and sometimes even national.

For more information about NCSY you can go to NCSY’s website: ncsy.org
or the entry in Wikipedia about NCSY: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCSY






Literary connection

אני יהודי- I'm a jew / shlock rock
This song was originally written in Hebrew, here is the translation:
When they ask me who am I (I will say)
I am not Ashkenazi, Sefaradi, Taimani or Tzarfati
I am not Morrocan, American, or Russian
Chorus: I am a Jew
When they ask me what am I (I will say)
I am not religious or secular, left wing or right wing,
Not an optimist nor a pessimist, naive,
Chorus…
All of Israel are connected to each other
All of Israel are brothers
We live here together, we live with hope
And more important than anything is love
We are citizens, we are soldiers, people, yes we are human beings,
We stride and move ahead, we believe, we hope, and we do not lose hope
We are Jews
I think this is a very nice song.
It talks about how although on the outside we look divided, when it comes down to it we are all Jews.
We're one religion and one nation.

I think that message is very important and is a very big part of Judaism.
This is also a significant part of living in Israel.
There are so many different people in Israel. People from different homelands, from different societies and from different communities. Although we are all different we live together as one country.
There are also different religious groups in Israel. Anything between ultra religious who spend all their time in yeshiva learning torah to Jews who have basically no connection to their religion besides maybe eating matza on Pesach. But if you would dare to suggest to that latter person that he wasn't Jewish you would at the very least get a long speech of why he is a Jew and what Judaism means to him and how you are in every way wrong.
In a country as complicated as ours we have to learn to live and work together.
We have to learn to look past our disagreements and treat each other as equals and friends. It's not easy and I'm not saying that Israel is a place where there are no arguments or disagreements and that it is some kind of perfect country. But we are learning, we are becoming more and more united and learning to stick together as Jews.

creative connection


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Reflections


I chose to do this project on my parents because they are my connection to Israel. I wanted to learn more about why they moved to Israel and what living here means to them.
During the project I did get to learn more about their connection to Israel starting from when they were younger and up until now. Also what it means to them to raise a family in Israel today.
I also got to see how difficult it was for them to leave their family, friends, and everything else they had in America and move here. It made me really appreciate more their sincerity and love to Israel.
I really enjoyed interviewing them and hearing what they have to say about Israel, and about living here.




Appendix



interview


1. Why did you decide to make aliya?
Mommy: I felt like history was happening and I wanted to be a part of it, not watching from afar.
Abba: I’m a Jew, and I wanted to live in my home land.
Did anything specific in your childhood helped influence your decision to make aliya?
Mommy: My parent’s honesty in the right thing.
Abba: My year in Israel after high school (yeshivat har ezion). and NCSY a little.

2. Have you been thinking of making aliya before you decided to? How long have you been considering it?
Yes we’ve been thinking since we got married and decided when we came here for a year. (after they got married they came here for a year- my dad learned in Yeshivat Har Etzion. they lived in the kollel apartments in alon shevut) we decided to make aliya before Sara (oldest child) was in 3rd grade- they made aliya a year before that.

3. What were your considerations to make aliya? pros and cons.
Pros- a better life for our children and everything else we said (see answer to question 1)
Abba: wanted to help run MMY
Cons- we left our whole family in America.
4. What were the reactions you got when you announced you were making aliya? - family, friends
Friends- “WHY?!?!” “Oh that’s so nice!!!!” “You don’t mean you’re really moving- just going for a few years, right?” “I can’t do that, I’m too close to my mother!!!” “I would kill my kids if they did that!!!” a lot of- “Kol hakovod!!”
Family- were very supportive.
5. If you could have made aliya at a different point in your life, when would it be?
We made the right decision. It was the right time.
Abba- it’s just too bad that I couldn’t do the army.
6. What is the hardest part of making aliya?
Family- not being around, not being able to run in for a bris etc.
7. How do you deal with these problems?
Email, lots of phone calls and your friends become like family
8. Do you think there are advantages to being an oleh as apposed to being a tzabar?
Yes- you understand a different culture, you appreciate Israel more sometimes.

9. What did you look for in a community to move to?
makom torah, similar haskafah, Zionist, (good weather).

10. Why did you choose to move to Alon Shevut?
The yeshivah, friends from year at kollel here, with only 1 car it is good to live in a small place where everything is walking distance.

11. Do you think your daily life here is different than in the U.S?
Absolutely- only 1 car, more going into peoples houses, more interaction with the neighbors, more going outside, living in a Jewish country.
Abba: ”When I stand at Tzomet Hagush and I see a street sign that says ‘Hebron, Kiryat Arba and Be’er Sheva’ to the right and ‘Yerushaliem and Beit Lechem to the left, and I think to my self that Avraham Avinu probably saw the same sign, but the distance was probably in cubits not kilometers!”

12. What do you feel you contribute to Israel or to your community?
Just living here and raising a family.
Abba: by bringing girls from other countries and giving them a year in Israel, showing them the country.
Mommy: by going to work in the merkaz as a religious woman who lives in Gush Etzion.

13. Do you think you have been able to help influence anyone to make aliya?
We try to portray to Americans that it’s possible to live a good life here, as apposed to the way we grew up- Israelis were different and lived with less.

14. Do you think making aliya was a good choice? Why?
Yes, because of all we said, and look what a wonderful daughter (and other kids) we were able to raise here!!!

15. Who is the Israeli face in your opinion?
Abba- Rav Lichtenstin
Mommy- my friends in Alon Shevut.