Aboard the upcoming August 13 Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight will be Robert and Sarah Blum and Alysa and Amir Cohen of Teaneck. The Blums are headed to Ra’anana and the Cohens to Zichron Yaakov. For both families, this life-changing move has been under discussion for a while and is now becoming a reality. They shared their considerations with The Jewish Link as they finished packing their suitcases.
Robert and Sarah (Rindner) Blum are making aliyah with five young children, ages 1 to 8. Robert grew up in Portland but has lived locally from the age of 18. Sarah grew up in Monsey and attended local schools. Robert works in real estate, while Sarah teaches English at Touro College and is also a highly regarded community speaker who writes frequently for Jewish publications including the Jewish Review of Books, Mosaic and Jewish Action.
The Blums are looking forward to their aliyah from many perspectives. For themselves, they see Israel affording them wider opportunities as they will be in the center of Judaism where they can experience firsthand the intersection of Judaism and general culture. For their young children, they look forward to a healthier, more positive and richer childhood. They selected Ra’anana as their first community for its large Anglo population, which will ease their transition while at the same time affording them a suburban feel. As they finish their packing, the Blums see all their mundane activities as having a higher purpose. “Even packing up the kitchen has taken on a deeper significance,” shared Robert. “In Israel, even the mundane takes on a special kedusha and meaning.”
Alysa and Amir Cohen spent the first year of their marriage living in Israel. Amir is a native Israeli whose parents and siblings live in the north of the country. For the past 17 years, the Cohens have lived in Teaneck. Alysa is a graduate of Yavneh and Frisch and spent her gap year in Yerushalayim. During the year between college and graduate school, where she earned a master’s in education, she worked for the University Student Department of WZO. She and Amir met during a summer at Camp Ramah. Alysa has taught general studies at Yeshivat Noam for 14 years where she was a highly regarded member of the faculty. Amir works for IDT, and intends to continue after the family’s move. He will also resume his passion for playing the trumpet at simchas.
The Cohens have selected the picturesque city of Zichron Yaakov as their initial location in order to be near to local family. The four Cohen children range in age from 6 to 16, entering grades one through 11. The Cohens have been preparing for this move for many years, in anticipation of which they have spoken Hebrew to their children at home.
Alysa will help her children acclimate and prepare for their first Yomim Tovim in Israel, and she will explore work options down the road. Shortly after their arrival, the family will celebrate the bar mitzvah of their son and are looking forward to sharing the simcha with Amir’s Israeli family and Alysa’s American family who will be joining them for the occasion.
Both the Blums and Cohens regard their upcoming aliyah with reality, recognizing that there will be challenges settling into a new culture. But for both this is a “wonderful” reality.
We wish them all hatzlacha rabba!
By Pearl Markovitz