TAMAR COLLINS PEARLMAN, 42.
(photo credit: INGRID MULLER)
After making aliyah in 2007, Tamar Pearlman was often asked for assistance from overseas family and friends planning events or buying homes in Israel. In 2012, she and her friend Tammy turned their expertise into a business called Tamarim Concierge.
Although her partner went on to other pursuits, Pearlman has continued to grow the business, fielding requests from all over the world.
“One of our first clients was someone in London who had bought an apartment in Israel and wanted us to choose tiles, kitchen and everything else so they could rent it out. Another was a lawyer who was planning aliyah and wouldn’t be here in time to apply for the next Israeli bar exam, so we took his documents to the office to register him before he arrived,” relates Pearlman.
“Someone else contacted us because they’d bought an apartment in Tel Aviv and didn’t want to lose the parking spot that went with it, so as per their request we went and bought them a car. Then there was the time a family had to leave Israel unexpectedly and hired me to pack up all their belongings and ship them back to America. Just today, a woman in America asked us to send balloons to her granddaughter in Israel who just had her tonsils out.”
Tamarim Concierge (www.tamarimconcierge.com) keeps Pearlman plenty busy when she’s not seeing clients in her private speech-therapy practice in Modi’in. She runs online gifts and student dorm stores geared to parents of gap-year students. She has a team of five people to help with projects – for example, when she was engaged last Passover to clean, kasher, stock and coordinate catered Seder and holiday meals in rentals around the country.
She can manage properties for clients; create travel itineraries; rent baby gear; and do personal shopping for vacationers coming to Israel. She helps new immigrants accomplish tasks on their long to-do lists, from renting apartments and purchasing furniture and appliances to setting up internet service and utilities and registering children for school.
“Some of the requests we get are so bizarre, but they’re real. We can make anything happen for people who can’t deal with whatever situation because they’re not here or they can’t manage in Hebrew.”
Though she grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, Pearlman learned Hebrew even before moving to Israel, thanks to a strong foundation from her Zionist home and Zionist Jewish day school. She was also active in the Zionist youth group Bnei Akiva.
“We came to Israel quite a few times when I was a child, and I could not wait until 1993, my gap year in Israel.”
She spent that year on Kibbutz Ein Hanatziv through a Bnei Akiva program. “I fell in love with the country and didn’t want to leave. I had a place at university in London to go to, and I planned to come straight back after four years.”
SHE MET her husband, Daniel, in 1995 at a Bnei Akiva UK summer camp. They wed in December 1996 in Glasgow and set up house in London. “We both knew it was not where we wanted to bring up our children, but there was always something holding us back from aliyah and it was difficult to get over that hurdle,” she explains.
However, when their children were 7, 5 and 2 years old, they made the move.
“A year and a half before that, we realized that if we wanted them to be Israeli and speak the language fluently, we had to make the move soon,” Pearlman relates.
“Nefesh B’Nefesh held their first meeting in London around that time, and that was a huge turning point. They told us that if we were going to do it, we just had to do it and worry about getting jobs later. Some friends – whom we didn’t know had plans for aliyah – were at that meeting and they said they were going the following summer. We ended up on the same flight.”
Centrally situated Modi’in was a logical choice. At that time, her sister was living in Tel Aviv, her parents were coming to live in Jerusalem and Daniel’s brother and sister-in-law were planning aliyah to Modi’in.
“We didn’t even spend a Shabbat there. We were simply of the mindset that this is going to work. We bought a house in Modi’in and sold our house in London. It was an all-in decision.”
Pearlman continued working in speech therapy as she had in London (though the differences in how the profession was practiced in Israel were “a shock to my system”) and her husband pivoted from financial services to technical documentation management in the high-tech sector.
“Life in Modi’in is great,” she says. “It’s beautiful and clean. We’ve made great friends. Most of our children’s friends are Israeli, which is a sign of their successful integration.”
The Pearlmans’ oldest daughter is 19 and serves in the IDF Nifgaim Unit for soldiers who have suffered a loss or injury. Their son, 17, is the reigning Israel Gymnastics national tumbling champion. Their younger daughter, 14, was on the winning Junior Israel’s Got Talent 2018 gymnastics squad with her brother; the duo has performed nationally and was featured alongside President Reuven Rivlin and singer-songwriter Boaz Sharabi in the 71st Independence Day “Halevai” video.
“My son had been doing gymnastics from the age of three in London. When we made aliyah, we heard about an amazing gymnastics group and the two older children signed up,” says Pearlman. “All three of them have done this. Our older daughter and son now also coach gymnastics.”
She loves the fact that everyone in Israel is on the same calendar – the Jewish calendar, that is. And she especially appreciates the sunshine.
“Coming from Scotland, where in the winter I used to go to and come home from school in the dark, I love the light here,” Pearlman explains.
Her advice to potential immigrants is to “try to stay positive and not let every little obstacle be a huge setback. Life is not always clear sailing. Seek help and advice so that you and your children are as prepared as possible. It’s a huge upheaval, but if you’re more informed and prepared it makes a big difference.”