Oldest couple to make aliyah arrives in Israel

Phillip and Dorothy Grossman of Baltimore, married for 71 years, were greeted by their great-great-grandchildren at airport.

February 14, 2012 16:30
2 minute read.
Phillip and Dorothy Grossman

Phillip and Dorothy Grossman, the oldest couple to make aliya.. (photo credit: Sasson Tiram; courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh)


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The Torah says Abraham was 75 years old when he left his native land of Haran and set out to make his home in Canaan. But he was a spring chicken compared with the couple who arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday.

Phillip and Dorothy Grossman, ages 95 and 93, respectively, are probably the oldest married couple ever to immigrate to Israel.

The couple from Baltimore, Maryland, who have been together for 71 years, were greeted at the airport by their family and immediately taken to their new home in Jerusalem.

“Phillip and Dorothy are probably the oldest olim couple that the State of Israel has ever absorbed, and they are proof that it is never too late to fulfill your dream and make such a significant decision in life,” said Erez Halfon, vice chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, a group that facilitates Jewish immigration to Israel. “We congratulate them and wish them many more years of health and happiness living together with their family in Israel.”

The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Immigrant Absorption Ministry also assisted in organizing their flight.

Before he retired, Philip Grossman earned a living as an accountant, while Dorothy was a housewife. They have three children – one already living in Israel and a second child who will make aliya in the summer – five grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

“We love Israel and we are very excited about our aliya,” said Dorothy Grossman. “We are also extremely happy that we can live close to all our family in Israel.”

Yosef Segel, their 22-year-old great-grandchild, was one of those who was waiting for them at the airport.

The yeshiva student said he felt blessed to have greatgrandparents, and that his great-grandfather was relatively tech-savvy for his age.

“He doesn’t have a Facebook account but he does a lot of work on the computer writing letters,” he said.

The Grossmans might be the oldest married couple to move to Israel together, but neither of them come near breaking the record for the single oldest person to make aliya. That distinction likely goes to two immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who are said to have arrived in Israel at the age of 111 during the 1990s. Belle Goldstein, the oldest oleh from North America, moved to Israel at the age of 102, in 1998. She passed away in 2001, three months shy of her 106th birthday.

As for the youngest Jewish immigrant to arrive in Israel, that title probably goes to eight children – five boys and three girls – who were born on planes during Operation Solomon, the dramatic airlift in 1991, which brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

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