From a dream life to a lifelong dream

The new life in Israel is full of hope and promise.

(photo credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH)
‘I absolutely adore it here and so do my children,” says Charles Golding, who made aliya a year ago from London. He and his wife Michal (formerly Madeleine) live in a sprawling modern house in Netanya with three of their children. The older son, Sammy, is married and stayed in England.
It’s here that Golding conducts his media advisory service, continuing the business he built up more than 30 years ago in England.
The company he founded – Bowtie Media – named for his distinctive (in Israel anyway) neckwear, is a consultancy that trains aspiring journalists and businessmen in all aspects of media and public relations.
“Over the years I’ve had experience in every media form,” says the affable ex-JFS pupil who was also head boy of that popular Jewish educational establishment.
“I’ve done radio, TV, newspapers and new media.”
He was born 60 years ago and lived all his life in London until last year. He studied at the University of Essex, gaining a BA with honors in government, was chairman of the Israel and Jewish society and political affairs officer of the National Union of Jewish Students.
In his colorful career, which he began as a researcher for David Frost (“extremely generous person”), he was also a producer and presenter for morning TV, a film critic, a columnist for the Jewish Chronicle (‘Going with Golding’), features editor for the Sunday Mirror, and author, having written the book Rats, the New Plague – in 1990.
He later moved to the Sunday Express as features editor and within three years was appointed to be the paper’s deputy editor.
Among his more visible roles were presenting The Computer Show on BBC1 and, after joining London News Radio in 1990 as controller of programs, successfully relaunching the station as LBC.
He also worked for a time as producer of the popular freebie London Jewish News and was director of communications at Norwood, the Jewish charity that takes care of learning disabled children and adults.
So why give up a glittering career in England for the uncertainties of life in Israel? “When we were about 13, we were shown a Holocaust film, Night and Fog,” he recalls. “They should never have shown such a harrowing film to children of our age.”
It was an introduction to the Holocaust that was to haunt him all his life.
“I thought at the time about how was it possible for Germany the center of such great culture, to do these things,” he says.
He read more and more and eventually built up an impressive library of Holocaust books, at the same time starting to question his otherwise secure life in England.
“I started to wonder about where the Jews’ home really is,” he recalls. Professionally, he ghosted three Holocaust memoirs, becoming even more familiar with the horrors.
“I went out of my way to meet survivors and knew their stories must be documented – I anticipated Holocaust denial, even then, 40-plus years ago.”
In his career, he often encountered antisemitism – “the polite English kind,” he emphasizes. “There were constant remarks – and a constant blurring of Jewish with Israeli.” Israel became an excuse for legitimizing antisemitism, he maintains.
Ultimately he felt, even though he had not visited in 15 years, that he was going to throw in his lot with the Jewish state – for good.
Today he and Michal are busy studying in ulpan and working – she as a kindergarten teacher in Kiryat Sanz, he with his media business. The three children here with them are their older daughter, Jordana (22), who came to Israel ahead of the rest of the family, completed her military service as a lone soldier in a combat unit and is now a student at The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya; Elijah (19), who is in the army; and Levi, who is bar mitzva age.
The intention upon making aliya was to not work for six months and use that time to settle in, but work offers began to materialize and Golding could not resist.
His job is to train people to give confident commercial presentations and to coach his students in media and interviewing techniques, speech writing and delivery. He also offers public relations and press office services. He works from home but has not ruled out the possibility of renting office space in the future.
He was amused recently to receive a request from an Israeli company that wanted to know how to cope with British media.
“They were prepared to fly me over to Israel to give the course,” he says with amusement. “Little did they know I was already here.”
For the Golding family, the new life in Netanya is the realization of a lifelong dream, especially for the parents. They have found everything they were looking for, including an English-speaking synagogue community, which has welcomed them with warmth and friendship. For the Goldings, who returned to their religious roots long before they made aliya, the new life in Israel is full of hope and promise.