Why Retirees are Thriving in Israel

“Where did the week go?” Nina Spiro, a new Olah in her 80s often says to her husband, Ron on Friday mornings.

Why Retirees are Thriving 758 (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
Why Retirees are Thriving 758
(photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
 The couple only made Aliyah a year-and-a-half ago, and yet, their days are packed, as though they’ve been living in Israel for years.
With two children, 16 grandchildren, and all of their great-grandchildren in Israel, their apartment is constantly filled with family. They study Hebrew at a local Jerusalem Ulpan three times a week, attend concerts and lectures, and tend to their terraces’ many plants. Nina, a past caterer, also loves hosting dinner parties. When the food isn’t finished, her grandchildren stop by and help out.
“In the States, we didn’t really have the ability to have the close ties that we love having with the children,” said Nina.
Having visited Israel dozens of times in the last 30 years, the Spiros felt comfortable in Israel. After Ron retired from being an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering, the couple became avid gardeners on their two-acre land. But, in their 80s, It became difficult for them to maintain its upkeep, and the couple wanted to be closer to their family in Israel.
“My daughter said to us, ‘Come while you’re in good health and you can enjoy everything,’” said Nina. So they did.
Like the Spiros, many empty nesters are moving to Israel — to be closer to family and to fulfill lifelong dreams of living in Israel. With active English-speaking communities, a wealth of English-language events, and support from Nefesh B’Nefesh, they are finding much enjoyment from their new lives.
Beverly and Andrew Liggett made Aliyah from Los Angeles at the same time as their son and daughter-in-law. As retirees, they enjoy seeing their baby grandchild, attending Hebrew Ulpan classes, shiurim, and the gym. Beverly is also part of a book club, and loves to cook.
Though the Liggetts owned a home in Israel for 20 years before making Aliyah, they believe that they wouldn’t have been able to make the move without the help of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “They basically hold your hand and help you with every little detail,” said Beverly. “Even after you make Aliyah, they run seminars to help you with whatever you need. They’re just always there for you.”
For John Pilkington and Linda Levy, moving to Israel was something they had wanted to do for years. But they decided to wait until their children were grown. While living in California’s Bay Area, Linda worked as an immigration attorney and is now looking forward to taking on clients in Israel. In the meantime, the couple has been learning Hebrew, attending the Jerusalem Symphony, exploring the country, and getting involved in local organizations.
Recently a friend came to visit and asked them, “From one to ten, how has your Aliyah experience been so far?” They looked at each other, and without a moment’s hesitation they both answered, “Ten.”