May 28, 2024
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L’via Weisinger: ‘No Regrets’

L’via Weisinger made aliyah in August 2020 from Teaneck, with her husband Charlie and daughter Batya, to the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem. L’via credits her many early trips to Israel, whether she enjoyed them at the time or not, as the motivation for her eventual aliyah.

Aviva: What shul did you go to in Teaneck?

L’via: Beth Aaron for 22 years.

Did you grow up in New Jersey?

I lived in Teaneck from fourth to 11th grade, and I was very involved in Etz Chaim NCSY.

Where did you go to high school?

I went to Central, and I spent 10th grade in Israel. At the end of 10th grade, my Israeli friends threw me a party and each girl said something positive about living in Israel so I would leave on a good note and want to return. All of my experiences in Israel, and that one especially, had a profound influence on my desire to make aliyah one day.

Did you take any trips to Israel before 10th grade?

My first trip to Israel was for my aunt’s wedding when I was 9, and then I went for the summer when I was 11.

Did your interest in aliyah affect whom you were willing to date?

Not really, because I didn’t really verbalize it back then. But it turned out that my husband also wanted to live in Israel. His mother’s family lives here, all over the map. It took us 33 years, but we got here.

How did your family take the news about your aliyah? Was it always a known goal or were they surprised?

My kids would tell you that they grew up believing that our house in Teaneck was temporary and that we were going to be making aliyah at some point. Whenever we bought furniture, the question was always, “Will it fit into an apartment in Israel?” Or if we made home improvements, we asked out loud, “Will this investment in the house help us sell it?” We couldn’t go for many years, but we told our kids not to wait for us and three of them—Zevi, Yoni and Tali—came before we did.

What was your aliyah experience like?

There was a lot of red tape to go through, compounded by the pandemic, but even though there were many things blocking our way, we didn’t give up. Meanwhile, I was working full time in the hospital as a nurse during the first COVID wave and living in my basement so as not to expose my child and immunocompromised husband. My daughter was in Zoom school all day while, at the same time, dealing with saying goodbye to all her friends.

Our children in Israel helped us find an apartment and set up our kitchen so we could land and have some beds and food. We weren’t allowed to see them because of the lockdown.

Soon after we made aliyah, my stepfather passed away unexpectedly in the U.S. and our daughter Tali got married two days later. Yoni got married a few months later. An emotional rollercoaster, but thank God mostly good things.

What are you doing professionally?

I had looked into getting my nursing license, but soon after our aliyah, I was offered a job as a clinical nurse educator, doing compliance audits.

Do you miss anything about living in New Jersey?

I miss my friends, family, neighbors, community and shul, Beth Aaron.

Do you have any message for those considering making aliyah?

Israel is not a tourist destination when you make aliyah. It can be hard, but you have to keep reminding yourself of why you are doing it. Let go of your expectations and go with the flow. But definitely be assertive enough to get things done.

Finally, do not judge people’s aliyah experience by their Facebook posts. Not everything that’s posted is the whole story. There were challenges, but I have no regrets about making aliyah.

By Aviva Zacks

 

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