April 14, 2024
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April 14, 2024
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Molly Jaret: ‘This Is Where I Want to Be’

Molly Jaret

Molly Jaret, 28, made aliyah from Chicago to Jerusalem in August 2023. She was born and raised in White Plains and lived in the Upper West Side and Washington Heights. She shares her thoughts on her aliyah below.

Where did your family daven?

Westchester Jewish Center.

What schools did you go to?

I went to Solomon Schechter and Westchester Hebrew High School.

Were your schools and shul Zionistic?

Very. Israel was always a focal point and a huge part of the curriculum. We talked about Israeli politics and Israeli current events. In history class, we talked about the Israeli election cycles and how they compared to the U.S. democratic system. In Hebrew class, we would dive into other aspects of Israeli culture, society and art.

Did you go to a Zionistic camp?

I speak Hebrew very well because of the shlichim in Camp Ramah. Once I was on staff, I was involved in the Hebrew immersion program and I even helped pilot the inaugural year of the program at Camp Ramah Chicago.

Did you take trips to Israel when you were younger?

We went on short family trips. I also came with camp, school, youth groups, for a gap year and on my own throughout college. It was my mission to get back here as often as possible.

What drew you to Israel?

I’ll try to put it into words. There’s something special about being here. I can’t pinpoint the moment I decided to make aliyah, but I was always planning to find a way to be here. I went to Hunter College in New York City and got undergrad degrees in childhood education, Hebrew, Jewish studies, and anthropology/linguistics with a plan to make aliyah right after I graduated. Then I decided to make aliyah with my nest egg, so I worked and planned for my move as a Jewish educator in Chicago.

What are you doing professionally here in Israel?

Wartime is a weird time to look for work. Everyone was saying to wait until “Acharei Hachagim” to apply for a job in the experiential Jewish educational field, and the war broke out exactly then. So right now, I’m tutoring and working in a coffee shop that I love, but I’m still looking for other work.

I’m hoping to start a tour guide course in the coming months. My dream is to work with families, schools or camps from outside of Israel. I want to share what I love so much about Israel with them.

How else do you think your aliyah experience has been different because of the war?

I had a lot of Israeli-born friends and because of the war my network changed significantly when they went to Miluim. I volunteered as an English teacher in makeshift schools for the evacuees in the hotels. I also helped my friends outside of Israel buy much-needed supplies for soldiers.

Do you miss anything about living in America?

I miss being so close to my family and my good friends. I also miss interacting with and teaching my students on a daily basis.

What do you love about living in Israel?

I love the culture of directness. Once, in the coffee shop, a stranger asked me who I was voting for. I like direct communication, and even though it might seem a little bit intrusive, people really do care about each other.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about making aliyah?

There’s never the perfect time to make aliyah and it will probably be a little bit messy. Things are not going to go as planned and you are going to pivot a million times, but if you want to be here, you can make a life here. No matter how challenging it is, this is where I want to be, and I need to prioritize it and acknowledge that things take time.

Aviva Zacks is a writer living in Israel who loves speaking to olim and hearing their stories. If you know of an oleh/olah who is interested in being interviewed for The Jewish Link, please email [email protected].

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