April 13, 2024
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Judi Resnick: Israel Is ‘a Good Place to Be’

Judi Resnick, 76, made aliyah from Teaneck in 2019 to the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem where she has friends she has known for more than 40 years. Her son Benjamin lives in Ginot Shomron with his family, and she loves spending time with them.

Aviva: How long did you live in Teaneck?

Judi: For 40 years. My kids grew up there.

Which shuls did you go to?

I went to various shuls over the years—the Jewish Center of Teaneck for 40 years, as well as Netivot Shalom, Beth Aaron and Beth Shalom.

Where did your kids go to school?

Benjamin and Anna went to Yavneh for elementary school (though Anna transferred to Schechter in grade 4) and they both went to Frisch for high school.

Did you always feel a connection to Israel?

I always felt very close to Israel growing up. I went to public school in Boston, but I also went to a two-hour-a-day, five-day-a-week Hebrew school and the Prozdor in Boston, which also was two hours a day, five days a week. When I moved to California and went to college at UCLA, I did a joint program at the University of Judaism, which is now called American Jewish University.

What trips did you take to Israel?

My first trip was in 1969 when I was newly married. We came again in 1974. We first brought our kids here in 1984. My kids went to camps and programs here for many summers, starting when they were 10 and 12, respectively. We made many trips over the years. Once my son and his family moved to Israel 10 years ago, I was here twice a year.

What made you decide to make aliyah?

My son and his family made aliyah 10 years ago. I had single aunts in Boston, and, as they aged, I became their caretaker. I realized how important it is to be near immediate family. When I thought I was retiring, I knew it was important to be near family as I aged, and I wanted to make the move while I could still establish a new life and make new friends. That being said, I never think of myself as old. I’m healthy and active.

Are you working in Israel? What do you do for fun?

I am still the (remote) administrator at both Beth Aaron and Shaare Tefillah in Teaneck. I also take classes, do lots of day trips, and spend time with friends.

What do you love about living in Israel?

Living in Teaneck and working for Jewish organizations, I did not experience some of the downsides that other people have living in the States, like worrying about getting time off for Jewish holidays. But I just love the idea that everybody here is Jewish, whether they are Dati or not. I love the “Chag Sameach” sign on the buses and that everyone wishes you “Shabbat Shalom” starting on Thursday.

I also love living in history. Every place you go has a history. Everything has a connection and it’s all tied together.

I also love that I get to hang out with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.

Do you miss anything about living in Teaneck?

Aside from my daughter and my friends, I think the thing I miss the most is going to the theater in New York. I go to the theater here, but the options are not the same as on Broadway. I also miss the wide range of museums I had in Manhattan.

Do you have any advice for someone who’s considering making aliyah at your age?

I am really enjoying living here, and it’s not as hard as you think. At my age, you won’t be looking for a job, you don’t have to find a school for anyone, and you can just live a great lifestyle. I am a very positive person, and I am sure that has made a difference in my klita (absorption). I give new olim a few suggestions—including always bringing a book, coffee and something to eat to an appointment. It helps to move to a neighborhood where you already know people, if possible. Don’t rely on your family for invitations every Shabbat. Don’t freak out over your grammar in Hebrew. Either Israelis will correct you and you’ll learn, or they’ll understand that their grammar isn’t perfect in English either.

Although there have been a few frustrating bureaucratic experiences, I truly can say that aliyah has been a good experience. I enjoy being with the people I have befriended, the classes I am taking, and the touring around Israel that I have done. And I look forward to more adventures. I’m glad I’m here.

By Aviva Zacks

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