May 18, 2024
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Dena Rosenberg: ‘Go Big and Go Home’

Dena Rosenberg and her husband Moshe (Michael), both 36, made aliyah to Modiin with their four children—Azarya, 13; Yakir, 11; Meira, 8; and Nechama, 6—from Bergenfield this past summer. The Rosenbergs are grateful to have seen Hashem’s hand throughout the whole process.

Aviva: Can you tell me about your first trip to Israel?

Dena: I was in fifth grade, and my mother took my siblings and me to Israel for my sister’s bat mitzvah. We had a tour guide and we stayed in an apartment in the heart of Yerushalayim. It was amazing to actually see what we had learned about in school.

What held you back from wanting to make aliyah?

I was raised by a single mother who got us all through our academics and made sure we were all established in our careers. I was never going to risk putting my own children in a situation where they were not at a certain financial level. Moshe was on the same page with that, so when he brought up Israel, we had to be able to make his career work for us. He got several job offers, but we weren’t going to go unless it worked financially.

What was your final motivation for deciding to make aliyah?

When Moshe and I came on a pilot trip in 2019, it was my first time in Israel as a parent and wife. I was excited to see how accessible life could be here.

A year ago, when Moshe was working as a corporate attorney for a New York law firm, he was on a deal opposite another New York-based firm that was representing an Israeli hi-tech startup company. The opposing law firm contacted him asking if he knew anyone just like him who would be interested in moving to Israel and running the Tel Aviv office alongside the current senior partner.

He accepted the job offer, and as of February 2021, he has been the counsel for Latham and Watkins specializing in IPOs, taking Israeli companies public in the U.S. Ironically, once his former firm heard about his move to Israel, they immediately offered him to do the same despite that not having been a possibility prior.

What do you do professionally?

I am an occupational therapist. I specialize in sensory integration in the severely autistic population, and I absolutely love it. For 11 years, I worked in the New Jersey school system with the lowest functioning autistic kids. I hope to transfer my license in the near future.

How did your kids take the news about moving to Israel?

We were strategic about telling our kids once we had the signed job contract and the lease on our house. That was helpful for our kids to feel confident that we were making this move methodically and not haphazardly. Baruch Hashem, they were all on board immediately!

How is their adjustment?

They have all had to adjust to the school system being different from what they’re used to. They are making friends and learning the language, which is our goal. But there are days that they struggle and need support and reminders of how much they are gaining by living here.

How has the experience been so far?

It has been great! This is our kids’ first time in Israel and everything is new and exciting, but the day-to-day feels normal and routine, which is amazing. Our family tagline is: “Go big AND go home,” and we truly feel that every day.

Is there anything that you miss about living in New Jersey?

Honestly, when Moshe had to go back last week, none of us wished we could have gone back also. We miss our family and our friends, but certainly nothing materialistic.

Do you have a message you want to send to anyone who is reading this?

In Bergenfield, we lived on Cameron Road, and in Modiin, we live on Sara Imenu Street. Our entire neighborhood is filled with streets named after our Imahot and other inspirational Jewish women. We are truly immersed in our history and future so much more here than we ever could be in New Jersey.

In May, when Israel was dealing with a rocket barrage, we had hundreds of people come to our son’s bar mitzvah kiddush in Bergenfield. Everybody was asking me how I was moving to a place where rockets were landing. I told them that I feel safer in Israel than I ever did in New Jersey. Yeshivot in New Jersey have wonderful armed guards. In Israel, at the entrance to the school, the guard—a lovely old man—is reading a newspaper.

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