Getting a baby step ahead of the country’s 63rd birthday celebrations, dozens of
Israel’s youngest pioneers and their olim parents gathered in Jerusalem’s German
Colony neighborhood last week to mark the tots’ first Independence
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The 45 little ones, all born in Israel to parents originally from
English-speaking countries, were dressed head-to-toe in blue and white by Nefesh
B’Nefesh, the event’s organizers.
Some of the toddlers lay quietly on a
large carpet spread out on the grass of the local park, while others were loud
and restless – exhibiting what some call typical Israeli behavior.
is no greater satisfaction than to see Israeli babies born to olim whom we
helped to make aliya,” said Erez Halfon, vice chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, the
group that assists Jewish immigrants from English- speaking countries to
immigrate to Israel.
“This year, Nefesh B’Nefesh expects to bring over
4,800 olim from North America, Canada and the UK, and we look forward to
celebrating Independence Day next year with even more Sabra babies,” Halfon
Chanania David Rosner, aged four-and-a-half-months, was one of the
frolicking toddlers at the get-together last Wednesday.
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The youngest of
seven children, he is the only one of his siblings born in Israel, a fact that
fills his mother, Tamar Rosner, a pediatrician, with pride.
“He is our first Sabra,” said Rosner,
who made aliya from Long Island, New York, with her family in 2008.
called him Chanania because we felt Hashem had mercy and went above and beyond
for us, and David because he was the seventh child, just like [the biblical]
David was,” said Rosner, 37.
They now live in Beit
Acclimatizing to Israeli society can be a challenge.
the Rosners had no problem cutting the umbilical cord to the old
“We still have family there and have many ties, but we are happy
to be raising our kids here because we feel the future of the Jewish people is
in Israel,” the family’s matriarch said.
“In general we’ve had a smooth
aliya, although it was harder to come with older children, because they had to
adjust to the language,” she said.
While the gathering at the park in
Jerusalem was billed as a “mommies and babies” event, a Nefesh B’Nefesh
spokeswoman said the assumption that no daddies would attend proved to be old
Daniel Sass, a stay-athome father, was on hand with his
“I’m a videographer. I film simchas [festive occasions], so my
wife works in the morning while I take care of the baby,” he said.
who made aliya in 2002, met his future wife in Israel. They have another child,
aged three, who “already speaks better Hebrew than myself,” Sass said. They live
in Efrat with their dog Gal.
Sass recalled how making aliya meant he had
to be weaned off some of his favorite things, for example quality wine, which he
said was scarce in the country at that time.
“Ten years ago it didn’t
have good wine, and now it has award-winning wine,” the native Californian said.
“The quality of life is also much better than it was.”
Rosner shared what
she wished for her children on the occasion of the state’s 63rd birthday: “That
we continue to thrive and be able to exist with more peace than we have now,”
“My prayer for my children is that they continue to love Eretz
Yisrael as much as we do,” she said.
“You feel so glad to be here, and
you don’t see it as much with Sabras. I think olim take it less for granted, so
I hope that that my children won’t either.”
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