Man of principle
Moshe Fuld has stayed true to his convictions and, as he promised himself, made aliya with his family.
Moshe Fuld Photo: Courtesy
When other little American boys were playing with GI Joe action figures, Moshe
Fuld was playing with a Moshe Dayan doll.
Raised in the Hillcrest
neighborhood of Queens, New York, he is the oldest of five sons of the fervently
Zionist Rabbi Yonah and Mary Fuld. Remarkably, the entire family made aliya in
the past 20 years, with Moshe bringing up the rear on August 10,
That he arrived last does not indicate any lack of passion for
Israel. A consummate planner and hard worker, he was busily getting all his
ducks in a row and waiting for the opportune time to make the move.
A DOUBT Fuld volunteered for the IDF right out of high school, to get his
service completed before he aged out of the system. During college, he broke up
with a longtime girlfriend because it became apparent that she did not want to
live in Israel.
“There was never a question in my mind that I’d end up
here,” says Fuld, who formally met his wife, Chaya, in Queens College but knew
her casually from the Hillcrest neighborhood where she’d grown up just five
blocks away from him. They married in 1990.
“We made a pact to make aliya
10 years after I finished law school, paid back my loans and made some money.
Unfortunately, we were off by about three years,” he says. “It was 13 instead of
But he made good use of those extra years. Having worked his way
through New York Law School at night, Fuld opened his own firm soon after
graduation, eventually hiring five lawyers and 20 support staff. “All of them,
by design, were Jewish except my receptionist and file clerk. Most of the
support staff were Russian Jewish women.”
In sharp contrast to many
attorneys who work grueling hours, Fuld made a choice to forfeit tens of
thousands of dollars in potential profits so that he could leave work early
enough every day to spend time with his daughter and two sons.
I’d never let my business get in the way of being there for my children. I
always had one more lawyer on staff than I really needed because at 4:45, no
matter what, I went home – or even earlier if I could,” he says. “I’ve kept that
promise till today.”
Even with his shorter hours, the law firm was
successful, and yet he left it at the height of his career.
In 2005, he
and Chaya decided to make aliya the following year from their comfortable home
in Teaneck, New Jersey. Their daughter would be starting high school and they
did not want to wait any longer.
“Before we made aliya I stopped having
personal contact with clients so they wouldn’t feel abandoned all of a sudden,”
he says. Last year, after running the practice long-distance, he sold the
majority portion to his managing attorney.
IN LOVE WITH HASHMONAIM After
making their decision, the Fulds scouted out potential places to live and became
instantly enchanted with Hashmonaim as soon as they got through the centrally
located town’s security gate.
“We have friends all over the place, and my
brothers and parents live in nice areas too – Kochav Hashahar, Efrat and
Jerusalem – but Hashmonaim reminds us of Teaneck, where nobody looks at the
other person’s skirt length or color of their kippa. We must have known
two dozen families here even before we moved in. Everybody around us is an A-plus
type of person.”
The older two Fuld kids had been in a Hebrew immersion
program since first grade at SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York, so they came
with good Hebrew skills and acclimated quickly. The oldest (now a soldier in the
air force) started high school, the middle child entered fifth grade and the
youngest went into first grade. “We have been very pleased with the public
schools,” says Fuld. “It’s like Gan Eden [the Garden of Eden] for children
here. They’re having the best childhood.”
Chaya continued at her
job as an accountant for a US-based Jewish non-profit, working primarily from
her office in the house the Fulds built in Hashmonaim.
that they wanted a home large enough to host his parents and all his brothers
and their wives and children for holidays. “We are 31 people altogether, so I
took it upon myself to make a house where I could have the whole family under
SECOND CAREER After selling the law firm, Fuld took a Lander
Institute course on Internet marketing and a class at a MATI small business
development center. He decided to make a business out of what he had already
been doing since making aliya – namely, finding out everything he could about
service providers in Israel so that he could give advice to, and run
interference for, other new immigrants.
“While I was doing laundry,
cleaning and cooking, I took this on as an intellectual quest,” explains Fuld,
who is head of the absorption committee in Hashmonaim. “I heard horror stories
about people getting burned by bank and cable companies, so now I’m a wealth of
information. I know all the shtick of all the providers and how to get the best
He launched AngloProtekzia (www.angloprotekzia.com) at
last summer’s immigrant absorption expo in the Jerusalem Convention Center,
where he explained his business model: “We get paid out of savings we find for
you. We audit all your household bills, negotiate with your service providers –
land line, cell phone, electric, cable, Internet, bank, insurance – and we take
50 percent of the first year’s savings. The other 50% goes back into your
pocket. Then you’re my client for life and there’s no more
As an alternative arrangement, for an hourly fee Fuld will help
new immigrants negotiate all their service contracts up front. “I will get them
rates they couldn’t get themselves because I’m negotiating on behalf of many
clients,” he says. And he is opening Sapak V’dai, a similar service for
Israelis. “They’re no better off than Americans with their bills,” Fuld
PERSONAL HEROES Fuld was very involved in the Student Struggle for
Soviet Jewry as a teen in New York. “The first time I laid eyes on [former
Refuseniks] Natan Sharansky and Ida Nudel, chills went through my whole body
because these were the people on the placards I once held,” he says.
second hero was Yoni Netanyahu. I remember exactly where I was when the raid on
Entebbe happened [in 1976]. I was on the waterfront in Camp Hillel, and that
really made an impression on me.”
An additional inspiration was Aaron
Feuerstein, the CEO of Malden Mills in Massachusetts, who in 1995 continued
paying his 3,000 employees their full salaries and benefits for six months while
his burned-down factory was rebuilt. It cost Feuerstein an estimated $25
million, but he announced that his Jewish values left him little
“That shaped my business persona,” says Fuld. “That is the
model I’ve tried to emulate in business. I always erred on the side of my
employees. I wanted the non-Jewish ones to realize what a mensch is.”