May 19, 2024
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May 19, 2024
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Rachel Eisenberg: ‘If You Want to Make Aliyah, Just Come’

Rachel Eisenberg, 36, and her husband, Shlomom made aliyah to Jerusalem in August 2022 from Riverdale via Monsey with their three children. When people ask her why she moved to Israel, she tells them she wanted to make sure she lived in the same place as her kids, who were probably going to make aliyah one day. She also wanted her kids to feel Israeli at a young age.

Aviva: Where did you grow up and go to school?

Rachel: I grew up in Monsey and went to Bat Torah for high school.

Do you have any family in Israel?

My husband grew up in Woodmere and went to Bnei Akiva. We are the last ones in his family to make aliyah. My father is Israeli but moved to New York after medical school and residency. We’re the first in my family to make aliyah and hopefully, they’ll join someday.

Where did you daven in Riverdale and where did your kids go to school?

We davened at RJC (Riverdale Jewish Center), and when we moved to Monsey, the kids started at Ben Porat Yosef, which has an excellent Hebrew and Zionist education. My third-grader, Leora, integrated very well into the Israeli classroom because of her high level of Hebrew.

When did you start thinking about making aliyah?

When I came to Israel for seminary at Michlala, I started thinking about moving to Israel permanently, but it was on the back burner for me while I was dating. My husband only went out with the girls who wanted to make aliyah, so that worked out great!

How did you choose August 2022 as your aliyah date a few years ago?

The timeline was related to our kids’ ages and my medical career. I knew that if I went right after residency, I might have to repeat some years of training, so I wanted to have one or two years under my belt as an attending physician in America before making aliyah.

How was your aliyah flight?

We came on the big charter flight. My husband felt that our kids would really enjoy it, and our oldest enjoyed it the most. She made a friend on the flight. The pilot made a speech at takeoff, and it was a really special feeling. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What is your specialty and where do you work?

I’m an allergist, immunologist and pediatrician. I am currently getting recertified and will be working in Shaarei Tzedek Hospital and in clinics as an allergist and pediatrician.

What do you love about living in Israel?

It’s a very special feeling when I go to my kids’ schools for programs. One of my daughters had a concert, and hearing her sing Jewish songs with her beautiful Israeli accent reminded me that we’re now Israeli citizens. When people come to visit, they are tourists, and we are not.

The truth is that living in Israel is not really that different from living in America in certain respects. We get up and take the kids to school and go to work. We make meals and do the shopping and the laundry just like we did in New York.

Do you miss anything about living in New York?

I mostly miss my family. I miss that I was confident in my job and that I felt intelligent in how I spoke professionally. Interestingly, when I’m talking to patients they understand me, but when I have an academic conversation with a colleague, that’s when I really feel the struggle.

Do you have a message for anyone who’s considering making Aliyah?

I think a lot of people love the idea of moving to Israel, and most Jewish people I know are Zionist and support Israel, but a lot of people are scared about finances. You may have to make some compromises, but I feel that you could make a good living here. I think that people have this concept of waiting until they have everything that they need in order to come, but if you want to make aliyah, just come.

By Aviva Zacks

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