April 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Gedaliah Borvick Loves the Product He Sells

* Grew up in Long Beach and Far Rockaway

* Graduate of HALB and MTA

* Two years at Yeshivat HaKotel

* Studied at Yeshiva University, majored in economics, then attended Cardozo School of Law

* Married to Fayge (Stern), father to seven children, including two married, with one grandson. They originally lived in Bergenfield, New Jersey, before making aliyah in 2003. They now live in Beit Shemesh

* JNLJ’s Israel real estate contributor

How did your two years in Yeshivat HaKotel help guide you toward wanting to live in Israel? Why did you decide to go to college in the U.S. instead of Israel?

While I was in yeshiva, in 1983-85, I gained a love of the country, warts and all, and an appreciation that this is the home for all Jews. This was when I first knew I wanted to live here. It was very special being able to walk down to God’s main branch, the Kotel, to daven. It felt very comfortable being in a country where your Jewish identity is manifested in all aspects of life, not only in shul-associated activities like I felt in chutz la’aretz.

After shana bet, I felt like I wasn’t yet ready to make aliyah, but felt that I wanted to return soon. It was hard to leave, but I knew I’d be back one day.

How did you maintain the drive to move to Israel during your college years in the U.S.?

Actually, I didn’t maintain my drive to return to Israel, as I got caught up in life’s obligations. Family, children, work, community, etc., all make it difficult to sometimes see the bigger picture and stay on track.

Then 9/11 took place, and I took this as a wake-up call that I’m supposed to be back in Israel. I also felt a yearning to be back in Israel during the intifada—not that I could do much to help, but I wanted to be connected with my countrymen who were enduring such pain.

And so, in 2003 we made aliyah and moved our lives to Israel for good.

Once you made aliyah, how was the transition for you and your family?

I came back to Israel with a wife and, at that time, five children in tow, the oldest being almost 13. I think that, overall, my children’s transition was good and they have become part and parcel of Israeli society. I will always be the oleh, never quite the full Israeli, but that’s fine. If my wife and I can be the olim—the ones who broke the galut cycle and speak Hebrew with a foreign accent—and our children can be comfortable in Israeli society, then we will have done well for all of us.

Did you have any family living in Israel when you moved?

We were fortunate that my wife, Fayge, had two sisters and their families living here in Israel, plus, by the time we landed, my parents and two of my siblings and their families were living here. So, while we definitely cannot claim to have been the chalutzim (pioneers) of our family, it was great to have their help during our move and transition.

Where did you and your family move to upon making aliyah? How was your adjustment into the new community?

We live in Beit Shemesh. We moved here because we already knew like-minded friends living here, and also came with more like-minded friends on aliyah to settle in Beit Shemesh. A bunch of friends from Teaneck and Bergenfield joined as well that very summer, so we were in good company.

We left tremendous communities with wonderful rabbanim, and we came to a special community that also had great rabbinic leadership. There were many similarities and many differences, but the adjustment to the community overall was pretty smooth. We have good friends, great chavrutot and shiurim, and we have a sense of belonging that helped us manage with the bumps along the aliyah road.

How was it looking for work in Israel? Did your American job make aliyah with you?

For the first years, I continued working in New York real estate—as a senior vice president in a major Manhattan real estate development company. 2008 came, and the global economy was in shambles. By 2010, I decided that it was time for me to become focused on Israeli real estate.

Over the years, many friends and family members had turned to me to help guide them in purchasing a home in Israel, either to make aliyah, or as a vacation home or as an investment. I had guided about a dozen friends, connecting them with honest brokers, lawyers, kablanim (contractors), property managers, bankers—basically I built up a tremendous network of honest, professional, real estate professionals in Israel. And then it hit me—that I am in the unique position to help people fulfill their dreams of purchasing a home in Israel. And so, I started “My Israel Home.” Baruch Hashem, my team has had the great zechut to help hundreds of families buy homes in Israel.

How does it feel, as an oleh, to help others buy homes in Israel?

I have the greatest job in the world, as I help people fulfill their dream of owning a home in Israel. I started My Israel Home seven years ago and I have an amazing team of caring, bright, market-savvy, honest brokers who help our clients purchase homes across the country.

Our primary focus are the communities with a large Anglo presence, including Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Chashmonaim, Modiin, Netanya, etc. My partner, Eliezer Goldberg, was born and bred in Israel and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of Jerusalem real estate. With him on my team, I can honestly say that no one knows the Jerusalem market better than us—he’s that good. Joe Offenbacher is my Chashmonaim and Modi’in maven and Ruthie Yudin runs our Beit Shemesh and Netanya operations.

As I said, I have a great team, and that makes all the difference.

What have been some of the best moments of your life in Israel so far?

As our children achieve life milestones, be it graduations, acceptance into yeshivot or elite army units, each of these achievements have been opportunities to take stock and appreciate that our children are part and parcel of Israeli society. Also, small daily reminders are always good opportunities to count our blessings.

For example, when my 20-year-old daughter Tova, who has Down syndrome, started taking a public Egged bus to work, we realized how fortunate we are that our children are growing up in this special country where they feel so safe.

Living in Israel cannot be compared to anywhere in the world. After you learn about the story of David and Goliath and then take a class trip, 15 minutes away from our home in Beit Shemesh, to the location of the biblical battle… well, the stories in Tanach feel very different. They may have happened in a different time period, but they took place here in our land. These experiences create a very strong visceral bond with the country.

What have been some of the difficulties of your move?

Being away from family was and continues to be the most difficult.

Thank God I have a wonderful job. I left behind many strong financial opportunities in the U.S., but I have never felt more fulfilled, work-wise, family-wise and religiously than I feel living in Israel.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years from now?

I enjoy my daily routines—spending time with my family, helping Jews from overseas connect with Israel and buy homes here, being involved in communal activities, and keeping up my chavrutot. Hopefully I’ll be blessed with good health to continue these activities for a long time.

For more information on how Gedaliah Borvick and My Israel Home can help you find your new home in Israel, please visit www.myisraelhome.com.

By Tzvi Silver/JLNJ Israel

 

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