June 24, 2024
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Malka Flamholz: Aliyah ‘Will Bring Meaning to Your Life’

Malka Flamholz, 46, from Teaneck, made aliyah in 2020 after living in Israel for two years. She arrived in Beit Shemesh with her husband, David, and children, Baruch, Tali, Nava and Zevi.

Aviva: What school did your children attend when you were living in Teaneck and where did you daven?

Malka: All four kids went to RYNJ, and we davened at Beth Abraham.

Aviva: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Malka: I was born in Toronto, Canada, and grew up there. I moved to Washington Heights after college when I was 21.

Aviva: What was your education like?

Malka: I went to Etz Chaim elementary school and the Ulpana and Bais Yaakov for high school. Then I went to Michlala for two years, the second year in the computer science department. My parents came for a year, so I lived with them. When I came back, I went to York University and finished my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Aviva: Do you have any memories of early trips to Israel?

Malka: My family moved to Israel for three years when I was going into first grade. We lived in Petach Tikva, where I lived as an Israeli, and then my parents decided to return to Toronto.

Aviva: Did your parents believe in aliyah?

Malka: My parents are very Zionistic. Their dream was to make aliyah ever since they went to Camp Moshava, where they met. When their aliyah didn’t work out, they always wanted to move back to Israel, and that’s when they did another year in Israel when I was at Michlala. They wanted my younger siblings to have the Israeli experience we older kids had.

Aviva: Wow. Do any of your siblings live here?

Malka: I’m one of six kids and we all live here now, including our parents. We were the last to come.

Aviva: That’s fantastic. What was your motivation to come when you did?

Malka: My family always valued living in Israel, so I always knew I would come. When I came to Michala and stayed a second year, I even learned how to drive a stick shift, so I really felt like we were living an Israeli life. It was something that I always felt was a part of me, and where I wanted to end up.

Aviva: Was your husband on board the same way you were?

Malka: Religiously and in terms of hashkafa, David has always believed that the right place for every Jew is in Israel, which is a very good baseline. His whole family is in the New Jersey area, and he was more practical and worried about the details—the job, the money. So, when he suggested that we come for a year to try it out instead of making aliyah, for us, it was a great way to see that we can make it work.

Aviva: What do you do?

Malka: As I mentioned, I have a degree in computer science. I worked for 10 years as a programmer in different companies in New York, and after I started having kids and took some time off, I worked at Heichal HaTorah as its administrator.

For my first two years in Israel, I took some classes—a mosaic class with my mother, and yoga. I was also volunteering at a gemach, and it was great. But then Corona hit, and everything shut down, so I decided it was time to get a job. I found a legal services company run by New Jersey natives and took a job in operations and eventually became their finance person.

Aviva: What do you love about living in Israel?

Malka: I love the values here. Everything here is very down to earth and low key, and this is the way that I want to raise my children. They also grow up much more independent with a lot more freedom. I love being in the Jewish homeland. I still get a kick out of knowing that everyone is Jewish and that we all love and hate each other at the same time. We’re all one family here.

Aviva: Do you miss anything about living in New Jersey?

Malka: I miss my friends, the easy shopping and the conveniences.

Aviva: Do you have a message for anyone considering making aliyah with a family?

Malka: It’s not necessarily an easy choice, but it’s a worthwhile choice and one that will bring meaning to your life. It won’t be perfect when you make aliyah, but at the end of the day, you’re fulfilling a dream. So go for it.

By Aviva Zacks

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