April 17, 2024
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Zisse Mueller: ‘I Would Not Want to Be Raising My Children Anywhere Else’

Zisse Hanfling Mueller, 28, made aliyah from Teaneck two weeks after she got married in the summer of 2017. She and her husband, Barry, lived in Jerusalem for one year and then moved to Tel Aviv. She has a son who is 2 ½ years old and a baby daughter who is four months old.

Aviva: Where did you daven growing up?

Mueller: Bnei Yeshurun.

Where did you go to elementary and high school?

I went to RYNJ and to Ma’ayanot.

What was your biggest Zionist influence?

My community and my family. Israel was always a topic in my shul and in my schools. We celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut, and we always went to the Israel Day Parade.

Was there an early trip to Israel you remember?

When I was 12, in 2006, my parents decided to go to Israel for a week for my bat mitzvah. We went to the graves of tzadikim, met soldiers, hiked up Masada, and then my bat mitzvah at Kever Rachel. We toured all around Israel, and the trip was life-changing. Ever since then I fell in love with Israel and always wanted to go back at every opportunity. My high school, my community and my family encouraged studying in Israel for the year, so I went to MMY after high school.

You got married and two weeks later, made aliyah. Was aliyah a factor in who you agreed to date?

I only wanted to go out with people who wanted to make aliyah. It was very important to me. I even majored in something I was sure would be successful in Israel.

Barry had made aliyah right after he graduated from YU and was living in Givat Shmuel. When I met him while I was working in Israel one summer, we decided to date long distance. We got married in America, and after sheva brachot, we came to Israel together.

What was your aliyah experience?

I made aliyah from within Israel one morning. That afternoon, I drove up north to go to my brother’s army ceremony. It felt like a beautiful way to celebrate my aliyah.

What are you doing now?

I am a marketing manager at a law firm.

Do you miss anything about living in New Jersey?

I miss my family, Sundays and being funny in my native language.

What is it really like to be an olah?

Olim all over Israel are your family and your network for everything—from networking for jobs to learning about how to buy a car—Olim will be your best friends. You have a network of people waiting to greet you and help you, and everybody has been through the same process.

Do you have a message for anyone who is considering making aliyah as a young person?

Firstly, come as soon as possible. You shouldn’t wait to become part of Jewish history. Important things are happening here, and you don’t want to miss out.

Secondly, the longer you wait, the more roots you build in America and the harder it is to come. At any stage—college, your first job, the gym class you like going to—anything you get used to makes it extremely hard to leave.

Thirdly, it’s scarier when you’re far away; life here seems harder and more challenging, but when you’re here, it’s doable. It is wonderful, it is fulfilling and you can never imagine going back, as much as you miss your family and your Sundays. I would not want to be raising my children anywhere else.

By Aviva Zacks


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