Chaya Taub Home at Last – Haaretz Hatovah

Real Life Stories and Experiences of Yidden Settling in Eretz Yisroel.

Until 2006, at the great pleading of good friends of ours, who had made Aliyah a few years back, my husband Dovid had never been to Eretz Yisroel and I had only come once before as a teenager on a sponsored trip. The entire trip was a total of three weeks. But those three weeks were our turning point. We went home knowing we were coming back, for good. We just didn’t know when.

Dovid and I spent more than the last 40 years teaching, bringing up our 7 children, and involved with our Jewish community. Quebec, Canada had been our home from even before we got married. I taught Chumash, Navi, history to 4th graders in the day girls’ school and my husband taught 3rd graders and special Ed in the boys’ school.

Aliyah had never been a discussion, thought and certainly not in our plans for retirement. Between our fears of not being able to manage financially, heeding warnings of taking teenagers on Aliyah and caring for our elderly parents, besides not being fluent in the language making Aliya wasn’t on the radar.

But after that trip, my husband couldn’t stay away. He would visit every summer for a few weeks to breathe in the special kedusha of E.Y. He would ask yearly ‘should I start looking for a place?’ One year, I finally answered yes. Our (same) friend showed him a location on a beautiful hill top that was still undeveloped with the planned blueprints in his hands. That was it. It seemed to fit everything we were looking for. We bought our new home on paper. It took a few years before it was done and we were ready to move in.

On the night President Trump won, our youngest daughter got married. As soon as we got home we started packing. A year later we moved into Ramat Beit Shemesh. We were finally home.

I recently wrote a book about my grandfather, which I presented to the family on the occasion of my grandson’s bar mitzvah who is named after him. And now I am writing for the family my father’s story.

My grandfather had come from Poland and moved to Frankfurt when my father was born. As Germany became more and more dangerous, they escaped and spent 9 years in Shanghai. When they finally were able to leave they landed in Quebec, Canada. There they were tired of running. So they stayed.

Quebec has never really been friendly to Jews. And today it is getting worse. People are openly anti-Semitic more than before and a large influx of Moslems have settled there. Just like in New York and England, Canada’s educational boards are mixing into the Jewish schools’ curriculum. The only difference is Canada’s has been doing longer, way ahead of other countries. It is truly a scary time in history. Only Israel is safe for Jews. Our family has been running, running for a long time. From Poland to Germany to Shanghai to Canada. We are done running. That is why we jumped to Israel. We are finally home.

Not that it is all easy. The hardest part is leaving our children. Baruch Hashem, they are all married, have jobs and are doing well, but I don’t see them coming to live here anytime soon. One couple is still in Canada and the other 6 couples are in the United States. I do see other olim, especially the older crowd, make Aliyah as they follow their children. We, however, welcome the grandchildren and nieces and nephews who come for their gap years. I don’t think they are going to make Aliyah so soon either. Recently BH, I went for three months for six different simichos in America. It is definitely hard to be so far from our children. Yet as the plane lands, I know we are home. This is home.

We have always been aware of Hashgacha pratis while we lived in Canada, yet it doesn’t compare to our daily awareness here. It is in the air, it is part of our daily living, it with us all the time. I am so aware of how Hashem provides everything for us. Looking at the beautiful view I have from my back porch, I can’t get over how Hashem is so part of our lives. And it is not just us. Everyone knows it. The taxi driver talks about it. The store keeper gets it. Even the non-religious handyman understands. People here are different about it; they talk about it. Naturally. Normally.

I once had a Jewish worker who didn’t wear a kipa fixing something in our house when he started to yell at us. He had noticed that we hadn’t yet put up our mezuzahs. In chutz laretz, one has a leniency of putting up mezuzahs up in a month. In E.Y. the halacha is different. One needs to put them up immediately. The regular maintenance guy knew better than us. And he cared. Like family.

We do believe it is important to come to Israel prepared. Whether it is with a job, money, friends, family, and a place to live. Yet, one needs to be flexible and see what works. We were lucky that Ramat Beit Shemesh seems to fit us perfectly.

In Eretz Yisroel we are all family. The grocery stocker, the plumber, and the policeman. We’re glad to be home.

Written By Tziyona Kantrowitz

This article is part of & Haaretz Hatovah series featuring Yidden living in, settling, and building up Eretz Yisroel. 

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Naava Kodesh Weekly – Bnei Aliyah - Setting An Example

Bnei Aliyah – Setting An Example

I grew up in Kensington – that’s between Boro Park and Flatbush, for those unfamiliar with Brooklyn, it’s in the heart of the frum community. I came to Eretz Yisroel straight after high school although I was a bit young and that was off the beaten track. I wanted to learn, and found my place in Yeshiva HaKotel – today known as Netiv Aryeh. I thrived there, learning full time for two years.

As I look back at the factors that brought me here and keep me here, I think it was just a natural development in my life. I didn’t really think much about living here until I arrived – and then I just couldn’t envision leaving! I was in Yeshiva during the intifada, and the horrific bus bombings; it was a powerfully emotional time. That situation motivated me to think a lot about the country as a whole, the people and the way of life. I started wondering… could I make this a reality? As I explored options, I saw I could manage yeshiva and college here, no need to go back to USA. I continued learning during the day while attending an Israeli college, the Machon Lev evening program.

Four years later I had a business degree, and was ready to move on to the next stage of life. I was not considering moving back to the USA, and BH my parents were very supportive.

Fortunately, I met my wife here in EY shortly thereafter. Michal (Goldberg) grew up in West Orange New Jersey and came to learn in EY after high school, and she, also very idealistic, wanted to stay here as well. We flew to the East Coast, got married and quickly headed back here… we actually had one of our sheva brachos on our Nefesh B’Nefesh flight!

Fifteen years have passed. We started out in Yerushalayim, but then moved to Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef. Although we were happy there, when RBS Gimmel opened up, we were among the pioneers. Currently, I work for an online marketing company and do some handyman jobs as they come up. Michal works for a patent filing company, selling their services. Hashem has blessed us with four daughters and a son; all are doing well in school both socially and academically.

Without saying much, we set good examples for our families. My sister made Aliyah a couple years after we did, she never would have done so if not for the fact that we were living here! My brother’s daughter just finished seminary and is in a shana bet program, and wants to stay. My parents come to visit for months at a time and we hope they will join us here soon!

My wife also set the example in her family. She came, her siblings followed and finally her parents made Aliyah! Definitely easier and more fun when you have family here!

Living in a new and growing community affords many opportunities for us pioneers. We recently started a new shul in RBSG; Rav Tzadok Cable is our Rav and I am the gabbai. One of our goals is to help Anglo bnei aliyah who do not quite fit into Israeli shuls; our needs are different. Language is an issue of course, but so is culture. We emphasize friendliness and offer encouragement and information in many areas, but especially in navigating the chareidi system; it’s different than in America in a few ways. One of the big challenges we chutznikim deal with is leaving full time learning. Yes, certainly we have to adjust but it should not mean lowering our spiritual level. In our shul, we’re trying to help people continue on the Torah path while working, which is, practically speaking, a chutznik concept. We offer regular shiurim during the week and more on Shabbos, and have a daily netz kollel every morning from 5-7 learning and davening – the schedule varies according to the time of netz.

Our next project is getting land and building, as we are presently situated in a parking lot. We look forward to continued growth on all levels, and welcoming many more bnei aliyah!

Avromi Sommers

This article is part of our Haaretz Hatovah series featuring Yidden living in, settling, and building up Eretz Yisroel. 

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Naava Kodesh Weekly – The Modzitzer Rebbe

Author: Pearl Herzog

Real Life Stories and Experiences of Yidden Settling in Eretz Yisroel.

The second Modzitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazar Taub, (1886-1947) an outstanding Talmid Chochom, had tremendous love for Eretz Yisroel and prophesied that a Jewish State would come into being. Sadly he passed away on Shabbos, the 16th day of Kislev, Nov. 29, 1947, the day the UN voted for the Partition Plan of Palestine. A gifted composer of a thousand niggunim, the Rebbe was known as the Imrei Shaul after one of the Seforim consisting of a collection of his writings. He claimed that he had much more inspiration to compose when he was in the Holy Land. The first time he visited Eretz Yisroel was from Poland in 1925. He composed there many new melodies. one of which is especially popular, Koh Ribon Olam. It is believed to have been composed Shavuos night at the Kotel.

The Imrei Shaul traveled again to Eretz Yisroel two more times from Poland. In 1938, he fled Poland due to Nazi persecution and travelled to Vilna, and from there made his way to Japan. Eventually, with the help of some Modzitzer Chassidim, he and some family members reached the shores of San Francisco. He then moved to Brooklyn in 1940 where he had a great following. Nevertheless, he traveled to Eretz Yisroel, hoping to settle there. That was not to be. He became very ill and passed away not long after his arrival.

The Rebbe created new melodies for the tefillah of Hallel which were in the form of a march. When his chasidim questioned the composition and singing of march tunes by a people without a country, flag or military, the Rebbe’s response was that a Jewish State would soon come into being and marches would also be needed. He was especially known for his extraordinary love for Eretz Yisroel. In Kuntres Tiferes Yisroel # 6 5706-1945, he writes: “We say that Yeshivas Eretz Yisroel is not in any way less than the rest of the Mitzvos that are performed, such as putting on Tefillin and such. So could it possibly occur to someone that he can perform the Mitzvah of putting on Tefillin by just thinking about it or intending to do it or wanting to? Even with the greatest of intentions, one is not Yotzeh without actually tying the Tefillin onto his arm and head. The same with Yeshivas Eretz Yisroel. We are obliged one and all to do and to carry out the settlement of Eretz Yisroel in any and every way we can. And then hope and pray for the help, deliverance, and salvation of Heaven Hashem willing. (Kuntres Tiferes Yisroel Number 6 5706-1945)”

The Rebbe was niftar in Tel Aviv at the age of 61. Several days before his passing, he had left open a Tanach to Sefer Zechariah , Perek 14 pasuk 4, where Har Hazeism is mentioned.

A question was posed to the Chazon Ish whether to bury the Rebbe on Har Hazeisim as the Arabs were rioting over the UN resolution and it was dangerous at the time to travel from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim. The Chazon Ish responded, “a Jew who came to Eretz Yisroel to die, after so many trials and tribulations, should be buried on Har HaZeisim, regardless of the danger”.

The Rebbe was buried hastily without a Matzeva. The opportunity to put on a Matzeva took place only nineteen years later after the Six Day War when Har Hazeisim returned to the nascent Jewish state.

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