May 25, 2024
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May 25, 2024
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Jake Mannis: In Israel, ‘the Sky’s the Limit’

Jake Mannis, 24, served as a soldier in Machal (for non-citizen soldiers) and made aliyah when he finished his service in 2020. He moved to Israel from Scarsdale, New York, and lives in Herzliya with his wife, Ayala.

Aviva: What school did you go to when you were growing up and what shul did you daven at?

Jake: I went to Westchester Day School and SAR. We davened at the Young Israel of Scarsdale.

Aviva: Would you say that your school was motivating in terms of their students making aliyah?

Jake: I remember dancing on Yom Ha’atzmaut every year, and I remember one year we had someone who came to speak on Yom Hazikaron. He had served in the army in Israel, which was inspirational for me.

Aviva: What were your early trips to Israel?

Jake: I went to Israel a few times when I was growing up. I went for my bar mitzvah and the next time was my year in Israel after high school.

Aviva: How did your parents take the news that you were going to the army and to live in Israel permanently?

Jake: Once I knew I wanted to make aliyah, it was pretty clear that going back to Israel meant going into the army. When I told my mom that I wanted to serve in the Israeli army, she was very inspired because both her parents are Holocaust survivors. My dad, also extremely supportive, wanted to hear the logical approach. He wanted to know what the plan was after. He wanted to make sure I still had college plans.

Aviva: Where did you serve in the army?

Jake: I served in Kfir as a sharpshooter with the Hispin Yeshiva (Yeshivat Hagolan).

Aviva: What did you do when you finished the army?

Jake: I got married and started a job at a startup called AutoLeadStar. I worked there for around six months, and then I started college at IDC (Reichman University), studying finance.

Aviva: What do you love about living in Israel?

Jake: How natural it feels. When you come here, you assume there’s going to be a lot of resistance and the language barrier is going to throw you off, but it’s a very welcoming country. The people are nice. It’s a country of olim. If your neighbors didn’t make aliyah, their parents or their grandparents did, so everyone understands where you’re coming from, and people want to help. People are always looking out for each other, even if they can be tough sometimes.

Aviva: What do you miss about living in New York?

Jake: A lot of my friends still live there. I have made close friends here, but most of my childhood friends are in New York.

Aviva: How do you think that your college experience compares to what they went through in college?

Jake: Socially, living in Herzliya isn’t that different from being at a big Jewish campus in America because it is a strong, vibrant, diverse community. Everyone speaks English, maybe a little bit of Hebrew, but IDC is an international school. People also come from outside the United States, so you might get more of an international flair. In terms of academics, my friends who studied finance in America found that their degrees were less geared toward finance, but rather general business. When a lot of my friends went to their interviews, they didn’t have the tools they needed. IDC really prepares you. They know what the interview will be like, and they fine tune the study material toward that.

Aviva: Do you have a message for anyone who’s considering aliyah as a young person?

Jake: When there’s [much] unknown in life, people assume that the worst is going to happen. When you’re going through something tough, there are a few scenarios that might come out of it. The reality, especially coming to Israel, is that it works out in the end. It’s important to know that you’re not going to have trouble creating a social circle, whether you’re married or not. There are a lot of young people who have decided to make aliyah that are just like you. You’re not going to be limited once you get here. The sky’s the limit.

By Aviva Zacks


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