April 22, 2024
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Nechama Konigsberg: ‘This Was the Right Move’

Brooklyn native Nechama Konigsberg, 43, made aliyah from Bergenfield to Modiin. She and her family arrived in the summer of 2018.

Aviva: What schools did your kids go to and what shul did you daven at?

Nechama: The kids were at Yeshivat Noam where I also was a teacher. For the final year that we were in Bergenfield, my son Yair started high school at TABC. We davened at Beth Abraham with Rabbi Neuberger.

Aviva: Tell me about some of your early trips to Israel.

Nechama: I grew up in a house where visiting Israel was very important. I think I was 3 years old the first time I came for my oldest brother’s bar mitzvah. We came to Israel to celebrate all three of my older brothers’ bar mitzvahs. Throughout high school and college, I took many opportunities to be in Israel as a counselor on several youth programs. I went to Midreshet Moriah for the year after high school.

Aviva: Are your parents Zionistic?

Nechama: My parents are very Zionistic. Visiting and being involved with Israel has always been very important to them. My father was the founding president of American Friends of Ateret Kohanim, which was and is very involved with buying back land in the Muslim Quarter.

Aviva: What was your Zionist education like at Yeshivah of Flatbush?

Nechama: The school was very Zionistic. We had a lot of classes and programs about Israel, and I am incredibly grateful today for having learned in Hebrew.

Aviva: What was your motivation to move to Israel?

Nechama: Elie and I had been talking about it since we met, but we got ourselves settled in Bergenfield. But when my brother moved to Israel, that was certainly a big push for us, and when our friends Zvi and Lauren Adler told us they were making aliyah, Elie decided to come on a pilot trip.

Aviva: How was it when you broke the news to your kids?

Nechama: When Elie went on a pilot trip, Yair was the only one of our kids in the know about this possibility. When he came back, we made the final decision and told the rest of the kids. Yair had agreed to make aliyah, which was important for us because he was a teenager. The girls were sad, but slowly they came around to it and they’ve been amazing.

Aviva: How are your kids getting along?

Nechama: They’re each doing really well. Yair, 19, came in 10th grade and successfully completed school, far exceeding our expectations. He learns at Yeshivat Hakotel’s Hesder program now. Maayan, 16, came in seventh grade, and she is also academically far exceeding any of our expectations to the point that many times her teachers don’t even know she’s an olah. In addition, she plays in a basketball league five nights a week, all in Hebrew. Emunah, 12, doesn’t admit that she speaks Hebrew but likes to correct my mistakes. She enjoys dance and basketball in Hebrew. She is also always the first to welcome new olot. Tani, 8, is fluent in both languages and is very into soccer.

Aviva: What are you doing professionally?

Nechama: At Yeshivat Noam, I taught elementary school Judaic studies, and when we decided to make aliyah, I took some time off to help settle the kids into school while Elie moved forward with his career in operations and finance at a high-tech company. Halfway through our first year, a teacher at Maayan’s school went on bed rest, and she asked me to cover her maternity leave, and they kept me on the following year. While I was teaching, I started the process of transferring over my degrees. Last year, in addition to teaching English in the school, I took on the role of olim coordinator. I help the school’s 85 olim get through their acclimation process.

In the summer, I am the program director at Camp All-Star in Chashmonaim. I was blessed to find opportunities that help me fulfill my passion as an educator.

Aviva: What do you love about living in Israel?

Nechama: A few things: I love the chagim in Israel, the fact that kids have a lot of independence and that we’re able to go to Jerusalem whenever we want. We were very happy in Bergenfield, but this was the right move for our family.

Aviva: Do you have a message or any advice for someone who is considering making aliyah?

Nechama: People say it’s so much easier when you’re single, or when your kids are young because it may be hard on older kids, but very often, my kids were the ones giving me the chizuk.

By Aviva Zacks

 

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