June 21, 2024
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June 21, 2024
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From Teaneck to Beit Shemesh, the Lubats Are Finally Home

(Courtesy of NBN) While Cayla and Daniel Lubat are grateful they are finally in Israel, the first few days since their arrival on July 27 we’re not the easiest: A week-long isolation period, spotty wi-fi and moving into their apartment with a sick baby in tow is not ideal when starting a new chapter. Yet the Lubats are not regretting reaching out to Nefesh B’Nefesh and finally making their aliyah dreams come true. Below, they discuss why aliyah was so important to their union, what they hope to accomplish now that they’re here, and why Harav Kook played a special role in their aliyah journey.

Why did you want to make aliyah and why now?

Cayla Lubat: When we were dating, we were both looking for partners who would want to make aliyah. A lot of people say they want it, but few actually intend to follow through. Both of us, though, were very serious about moving to Israel during the first few years of marriage.

For me, I wanted to make aliyah ever since I visited Israel in 11th grade. I had amazing exposure to everything it had to offer and fell in love with the land. Then, when I went back for seminary a few years later, I saw how Israelis live on a practical basis—how they work and raise a family, the values they instill in their home and the lifestyle here really spoke to me. After seminary, I kept visiting Israel whenever I could.

Daniel Lubat: I think she said everything! I always felt Israel was home. My experience was a little bit different, though, as I have two brothers who live here so it was less of a mental jump for me to make the switch.

Cayla, I understand you have a deep family connection to Israel. Can you tell us about that?

Cayla: My family comes from a Conservative background. They’re all very pro-Israel, but they don’t really get why you’d leave the comforts of America. My grandfather, though, said he was very proud of me for going back to my roots. This is especially true when he recounted a story of when my great-great-grandfather Aaron Simon Haskel came from Europe to Brooklyn. When Harav Kook toured America to fundraise for Palestine, my great-great-grandfather hosted him. He asked Harav Kook what kids needed over there, and he said shoes. So he bought a whole bunch of shoes for kids in Palestine. My grandfather was thrilled we were the first in the family to make aliyah and fulfill my great-great-grandfather’s legacy and, in a funny coincidence, we actually now live on HaRav Kook Street in Beit Shemesh!

What about you, Daniel? Was your family happy you’d be joining your other brothers here?

Daniel: Definitely. Thanks to listening to them, I also had the benefit of preparing myself for the move. But you never really know what it’s like until you actually experience it. But it’s great to come here and not feel like you’re alone. We have family and even a few friends, which has made everything easier.

But we all know the logistics aren’t so easy, especially with small children and the new COVID travel regulations. What was the actual move like?

It wasn’t always so smooth, but luckily, we had an extra seat. Of course, planning such a big move during COVID wasn’t easy and then we had a week of bidud (quarantine). Then, our baby got sick with pneumonia.

That said, we were dead set on making aliyah and even with COVID restrictions, we didn’t want to push it off anymore. COVID made things harder, but we never let it deter us. Now was the time for our family.

What’s the plan now that you’re here?

Daniel: Well, we’re settling into Beit Shemesh. Thankfully, Cayla got to keep her job in the U.S. and works remotely for a private equity firm, and I’m working at a CPA firm here in town.

Cayla: Right now, the goal is integrating into our community. We’re looking at what synagogue we want to attend, making new friends and what school our kids should go to. We don’t know what our place in this community will be yet, but we’re confident we’ll find the right fit for us.

What do you love about Israel?

Cayla: We love the sense of belonging. When you are home, you’re never afraid of being who you truly are.

Daniel: I love everything. Obviously, holiness and spirituality are ever more present in our Land. But most of all, as Cayla said, it’s home.

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