Sunday, August 24, 2008

Making Aliyah With The Felbers

On the flight last week, I met a family making aliyah who probably qualify as the nicest people you've never met. Judi and Joseph Felber come most recently from Silver Spring, MD but have lived in Israel for the past two years to try it out. The trial period went well so they made official aliyah last week. They initially needed a place where their struggling Hebrew would not be a problem, particularly for their three children who are in school. Friends suggested Raanana and the Felbers have found it to be a wonderful place to live (our quick game of Jewish geography found that they know the one friend I have in the entire city).

Mr. Felber showed me the electronic dictionary he carries around with him. He is trying to beef up his Hebrew skills by reading novels and looking up the words he doesn't know. It's a little difficult to learn the language when he works in an English-speaking office. But he's trying.

I asked them what they like best about Israel and they quickly answered that Judaism pervades the atmosphere. Even secular Jews speak of Yerushalayim Ir Ha-Kodesh (Jerusalem the Holy City) and the general public celebrates all of the Jewish holidays.

When talking to them, what struck me most was that they didn't make aliyah for any obvious ideological reason. They aren't high-minded idealists or fervent Religious Zionists (not that there's anything wrong with that). They made aliyah because it just seemed like the natural thing to do. Where else would a Jewish family go?

I wish the whole family much success in their new home.

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