Under the best of circumstances, Aliyah to Israel can be difficult. Completing forms, packing, finding housing, and employment – all these tasks require patience, perseverance, and persistence. This year, as the world reels from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, Aliyah presents even greater challenges. Despite the difficulties unique to Aliyah during a pandemic, Gabi and Yael Spiewak of Elizabeth, NJ decided that the summer of 2020 was the time to move to Israel.
Nefesh B’Nefesh, together with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, and JNF-USA, has been documenting the Spiewaks’ move, from packing to departure. In the first video segments, Gabi and Yael describe packing their belongings and explain why they chose Aliyah.
Sitting in the backyard of their New Jersey home, Yael says, “This is something that we have been wanting to do for years and years. Things started falling into place that made it practical with jobs and school, we found the right place for us to go, and it was the right time to make it happen.”
She adds that Nefesh B’Nefesh provided valuable guidance both for the overall Aliyah process and for the special circumstances caused by COVID-19. “Nefesh B’Nefesh has been helpful and a good resource in terms of having the answers to questions when we asked them.” Yael explained the resources provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh, including a pamphlet describing what to expect after landing, with a special Corona edition, and check-in calls from a Nefesh B’Nefesh representative providing support and answers to any of their questions. “In terms of flights,” added Yael, “one day El Al said they were operating, and the next day they said they weren’t. Nefesh B’Nefesh, however, is on top of these developments. They promised us we would make it to Israel in August.” Nefesh B’Nefesh is delivering on that promise.
Upon arrival in Israel, the Spiewaks will have to go into a 14-day quarantine, but they say that the rewards far outweigh any temporary inconvenience that they may encounter. “We want to be part of the history and future of the Jewish people, and we think that Israel is a better fit for our family’s success and future,” agree both Gabi and Yael.
Gabi and Yael have five children – twins Esther Chaya and Ezra, age 9, and daughters Nesya, age 6, Harelle, age 2, and Naala, age 1. The family will be moving to Tel Mond, located in the heart of the Sharon region, just a fifteen-minute drive from the coast. “We chose Tel Mond because it is a warm, welcoming, and cohesive community,” says Yael.
Tel Mond is home to a vibrant and active Anglo community. Residents of Tel Mond benefit from being only kilometers away from high-tech job opportunities, shopping centers, and the beach, while also being able to enjoy the calm and luxury of living in a suburban community.
The Spiewak family starts its Aliyah journey
Yael works as a lawyer in the United States, and Gabi works in the field of data analytics and program evaluation for a non-profit organization.
The Spiewak family packs up
Gabi recalls the fond memories raising their children in their New Jersey home. Smiling, he walks to his car, saying, “We’ll move on and make more memories in Israel.”
Watch previous episodes:
The Spiewaks prepare for their flight
An aliyah party for the Spiewaks