April 12, 2024
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April 12, 2024
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Double Aliyah From Teaneck’s Edgemont Place

Atara Staiman and Amanda Alexander grew up side by side on Edgemont Place in Teaneck. Atara, daughter of Aliza and Kal Staiman, and Amanda, daughter of Sharon and Benjamin Alexander, both attended Yavneh Academy and Ma’ayanot. Atara continued her studies at Shaalvim for Women and then went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree from Stern College and a Masters in Jewish Education from Azrieli. She taught fifth, sixth and seventh grade limudei kodesh at Westchester Day School until this past June. Amanda spent her gap year at Midreshet Harova and then went on to study for a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology at Baruch College. She earned a Masters in Education at Hunter College and went on to become a participant in Teach for America through the NYC Board of Education for six years.

Now 25 and 28, respectively, Staiman and Alexander will once again connect as they embark upon one of the most momentous events that a young family from America can partake in, their aliyah to Israel. On August 16, Atara and husband Zach Bienenfeld, proudly accompanied by their sons Shalom, aged 3, and Asher, aged 1, will join Amanda and husband Avi Moskowitz, proudly joined by Yehoshua, 4, Nechama, 2, and Mindy, 2 1/2 months, on the second Summer 2016 Nefesh B’Nefesh flight to Israel. As we write this article, NBN is welcoming its 50,000th participant aboard its flight from Kennedy Airport.

What factors have made the lives of these two Teaneck young women intersect once again in such a pivotal, life-altering experience? For Staiman-Bienefeld it is no doubt the strong connection to Israel she grew up experiencing in her home. Many winter breaks were spent in Israel as well as summer trips. Participating in Yachad’s Yad B’Yad program and Counterpoint in Dimona where she taught English as a Second Language to Ethiopians added to her feelings of commitment and connection. Husband Zach Bienenfeld grew up in Scarsdale and attended SAR and Ramaz. After two years at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, he returned to Yeshiva University where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Math and Computers. He iscurrently completing a Masters from Georgia Tech in Computers while working as a software developer for Amazon. He will continue working for Amazon upon arrival in Israel, commuting from their apartment in Raanana. For Bienenfeld the motivation to make aliyah comes primarily from the values he imbibed in his home which was infused with a love of Israel.

Avi Moskowitz hails from Hillside, New Jersey. He attended JEC through high school and then studied for 1 1/2 years at Rabbi Greenwald’s Tiferet Yerushalayim. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Touro College and a Masters in Social Work. Moskowitz and Alexander met early on in Elizabeth where she would often visit her grandparents. For both, the passion and commitment to Israel comes from the previous generation of grandparents and parents who had seriously entertained dreams of making aliyah but somehow were unable to fulfi ll these dreams. Amanda’s sabba served as a pilot in the US Air Force during WWII. He had seriously intended to join the “Above and Beyond” US Air Force mission, which aided the Israeli defense forces in the War for Independence in 1948. Though his intentions never came to fruition, four of his eight children reside in Israel, which will provide the Moskowitz family with a large extended family to greetand assist them upon their aliyah. Included in this extended family will be Amanda’s 90-year-old savtah who just recently made aliyah and resides with a daughter in Hashmonaim. In anticipation and preparation for their eventual aliyah, three years ago the young Moskowitzes purchased an apartment in Ramat Beit Shemesh, specifically the Mishkafaim community, which will be available to them within a few months of their arrival. Also, a crucial component in their planning is Moskowitz’s current employment as an Assistant Product Manager for an Israeli technology company specializing in video surveillance, based in Rosh Ha’ayin, where Moskowitz will be working.

When queried about the overall reactions of their families and friends to their decision to make aliyah, their answers ranged from resigned to the inevitable to very supportive. Even family members who were hesitant at fi rst have now become fully supportive and intend to visit often.

What are they looking toward in this great move? For the Bienenfelds, it will be to raising their children in a Hebrew environment, which will make Hebrew their native language. Their studies of Tanach and Jewish history will be in their nativetongue, which will make it all come alive and be that much more meaningful. They ave no doubt that for themselves and their children Israel is “the best place to be.”

For the Moskowitz family, who, significantly, will be landing in Israel on their wedding anniversary, living in a country where Shabbat and Chagim will be theirs to celebrate openly without compromise is one of the primary perks. They look forwardto a simpler lifestyle in terms of material possessions complemented with the more meaningful ability to tour the country from top to bottom.

For both couples, the word that most often surfaced was that they are making aliyah on August 16, to begin a new life guided by a big dose of emunah!

Hatzlacha Rabba!

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