I am on a journey, to make Aliyah, and want to share my journey with my family, friends and anyone that is interested. I made the decision to make Aliyah in December 2002 and now I am actually doing it. This blog will chronicle my story and adventures leading up to getting on the plane and then the continuing story of the beginning of my new life in Israel and what I experience once there.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The nexus known as Neve Daniel

I lived in Atlanta for many years after contacting Nefesh b'Nefesh, but they always sent e-mails about live seminars in New York and other cities other than Atlanta. I move to SC and guess what... they sent out an e-mail in the Fall of 2007 for a live seminar in Atlanta. So living only a little more than three hours away, I drove over. It was invigorating to be in a room full of people that were considering or had decided to make aliyah. Nefesh b'Nefesh sent a couple of people to lead the seminar, one of which was Laura Ben David. While not a focus of her presentation, it was brought to my attention that she had written a book, a journal of her journey to and beyond aliyah. I came home and ordered the book and it arrived just as my mother came to visit from California. She actually read it before I did. Upon reading the book I learned quite a bit about her journey and specifically that Laura and her family ended up in the small community near Jerusalem in Gush Etzion, Neve Daniel. First connection.

In February 2008 my shul had a guest speaker, Jeremy Gimpel, the head of the Center for Biblical Zionism. Besides enjoying the presentation and discussion, I was able to speak with Jeremy after the program. In the conversation, I asked him if he was from Jerusalem. He responded with "No, I live in a small town about 10 minutes away". Knowing this to be the case I asked if it was Neve Daniel. His head spun around and asked "How did you know?" I responded that it was the only one I knew... I asked if he knew Laura and he said "Know her, she did the review on my TV show". Second connection.

In June 2008 my uncle, Ivan Gottlieb, forwarded to me an e-mail from a friend, Josh Sussman, of my cousin. He had made aliyah four years ago. He is the son of my oldest daughter's pediatrician. In the e-mail was a link to his blog. I read all about his journey and aliyah and where he and his family ended up. Guess where.... Neve Daniel. I wrote to Josh and introduced myself and told him of my two connections to Neve Daniel and asked if he new Jeremy and Laura. His response was at this point I guess not surprising: "We are very friendly with Laura Ben David and her husband, Lawrence (I ride bikes and he is one of the 3 other guys I ride with weekly). As a matter of fact, they were over for lunch on Shavuot two days ago. We're also friendly with Jeremy and his wife." Third Connection.

I understand that Neve Daniel is a highly observant community, and as a conservative (masorti) jew, don't see this as where I would be best suited, even as my level of observance increases, my egalitarian views would probably stand in the way. I don't know why I have met so many people from one small community, but they are great people, with great stories. Maybe it's a sign to share my story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. THis is rterrific.You have to teach me how to do something like this. Matt,what is your phone nunmber as I wnat to give you a call from Jerusalem.

Rabbi Paul

Paul and Nina Freedman