Aliya leads to love

Two young people find each other while making their new homes in Israel.

MIRA HABERFELD and Josh Carr share a moment at the Johannesburg Zoo last November. (photo credit: Courtesy)
MIRA HABERFELD and Josh Carr share a moment at the Johannesburg Zoo last November.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It’s not often that people fall in love twice at the same time. For Mira Haberfeld and Josh Carr, moving to Israel obviously meant a love of the country, but the two immigrants also fell for each other after a chance meeting one Shabbat.
“We are very excited and happy to have found each other in Israel.
A few years ago, we chose individually to make Israel our home, and now we have decided that Israel is where we want to build our joint future and raise our children together,” said Mira.
Josh and Mira came from worlds apart, she from Sacramento, California and he from Johannesburg, South Africa, both drawn to Israel where they both felt a deep connection, despite leaving close family behind. Now, having found each other they are more thankful than ever for taking the leap to make aliya.
Mira had it set in her mind that Israel was the place for her from her very first visit.
“I was here after high school for a year and since then I wanted to make aliya but my parents wanted me to come back after college,” said Mira.
After volunteering with Tevel B’Tzedek in Nepal for a few months and making a number of Israeli friends along the way, she knew for certain where she wanted to live.
“I feel at home here. I feel, not at home, that’s the wrong word, I feel like this is the home of the Jewish people and I want to be a real part of the Jewish people and their history,” explained Mira.
“To do that I need to be here and raise my family here. I feel like I’m a part of the nation here, like this is where I’m supposed to be.”
For Josh, the allure of the IDF is what brought him north from his South African home.
“Basically I always wanted to do the army,” said Josh. “In South Africa I worked for the Jewish Security Company, which is a very Zionist organization, and I always had the dream of coming to the army.”
Aliya leads to love Two young people find each other while making their new homes in Israel After spending two months in army service Josh couldn’t get it out of his head. By April 2010, he had decided to quit his job and do full army service as a lone soldier.
Mira and Josh met by chance one Shabbat in Tel Aviv last July. They had both been invited by separate friends who knew each other, but had other things to do, leaving only Mira and Josh to walk to the synagogue side by side.
“We went to shul together because his friend was with another friend for dinner and my friend was home with her friends. We were sure they were setting us up, but they actually had no intention of that at all,” laughed Mira.
Mira and Josh say that their similar situations helped bring them closer. Both came to the country without much in the way of family in Israel and were able to connect through their desire to be in Israel and how different it was from their countries of origin.
“We understood each other I think. I always knew I’d meet someone in America or probably more in Israel who had the same passion for living here and would do something so crazy like move all the way here. You can’t really connect with someone who doesn’t understand that,” said Mira.
“We had a similar love and we connected,” added Josh.
After jetting to South Africa to meet Josh’s family, he proposed to Mira at a river near her parent’s home in America, surprisingly dressed in a head-to-toe samurai costume.
“We went for coffee and we took a walk by the river near my house and he proposed. He rented a costume, something that was an inside joke from something that happened in our relationship, as a samurai warrior costume,” laughed Mira. “It was memorable and funny and it’s sort of a complicated story to explain to people, but it’s fun. His mom didn’t think it was very romantic but I did.”
The future for Josh and Mira is optimistic now that the proposal is out of the way. After studying psychology and neuroscience, Mira plans to attend graduate school. In the meantime, she works at Masa Israel where she started out as an intern under a Masa program at a hospital. For Josh, who originally studied sports management and is a Krav Maga instructor; he hopes to continue serving the country in security and protection.
“I really felt like I was in the right place at the right time. It was scary but it was the right time to do it and I trusted that instinct and it’s led me to a really good place. I’m really thankful for the clarity of that,” said Mira.
“On a similar note, one thing I feel very strongly about is since I’ve come to Israel everything’s gone in an amazing way and in Israel I feel like you can really see miracles happening every day,” added Josh. “The whole thing with my love, since I came to Israel I decided to put all of it in Hashem’s [God’s] hands and through all the challenges of making aliya and joining the army and learning a new language, one thing that always comforted me is that Hashem is guarding my footsteps and I feel that living here is the biggest miracle.”