Articles by Bracha Shugarman

Dreams Come True, Journey to Neve Yaakov, The Aliyah of the Hersh Family


neve yaakov

Surrounded by majestic desert mountains, Neve Yaakov lies just north of Pisgat Ze’ev at the very edge of northeastern Yerushalayim. With its warm, friendly, out-of-town atmosphere and its acceptance of variety amidst its chareidi population, it’s no surprise that the growing community attracts many Baltimore families.

Back in the days when Neve Yaakov had fewer residents, Chaim and Ruthy Hersh joined its close-knit community. Raised in Baltimore, Ruthy, whose maiden name is Engles, forged a path for herself as a young adult, and years later merited to plant roots in Eretz Hakodesha. I listen as Ruthy happily shares her story with me.


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Dreams Come True - Journey to Ma’ale Amos : The Aliyah of the Weinberg Family


maale amos

by Bracha Shugarman

Over 20 years ago, Aryeh and Shoshana (Suzanne) Weinberg were a typical young Baltimore family living on Fallstaff Road. What a surprise it was when they picked up and moved to Israel in 1996 with their six children, aged one to almost sixteen. Aliyah, uncommon today, was a rarity then. Shoshana chronicled the family’s experiences at the time in a series of Where What When articles. I now spend a beautiful Shabbos with the Weinbergs in their desert home and find out what has happened to them over the years.


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Dreams Come True: Journey to Bnei Brak: The Aliyah of the Friedman Family


bnei barak

In this time of terrorism, hatred, and incitement against Jewry worldwide, a sense of security is very much lacking in a majority of people’s lives. Where can one turn and receive reassurance? A corner of security however, can be found in the city of Bnei Brak. Known as “a city of Torah,” its great number of giants in Torah grant protection to the city’s inhabitants. As the Chazon Ish promised a few generations ago, “A missile won’t fall in Bnei Brak.”

Located on Israel’s central Mediterranean coastal plain, Bnei Brak has seen much change from its agricultural start in 1924. Over the years, an urban shape took form, and today, there is even a large Coca-Cola bottling factory at its entrance. Bnei Brak also contains a frum hospital, Memayanai Hayeshua.


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Dreams Come True : Journey to Netanya, The Aliyah of the Lehman Family


beach

When I think of Netanya, my mind’s eye goes straight to its beautiful beach. The blue sky, warm sand, sparkling water, and, of course, the waves – crashing against the shore one after the other, each one in harmony with the next but coming in at a different angle. Recently, I had the privilege of spending Shabbos with a most incredible family in Netanya. Similar to the waves of the ocean, the Lehman family has found a home in the welcoming community of Netanya, yet remain distinct.

I meet Dina Lehman by the boardwalk on erev Shabbos. I assume she frequents the beach quite often, but she laughs and says, “People have to bring me out.” When the grandchildren visit, she enjoys the ocean’s beauty with them, but life is busy, and she doesn’t always have the time to relax by the beach. As we sit on a shaded bench next to the boardwalk, with paragliders cruising along the cliff line like giant kites, Dina shares her aliyah story.

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Dreams Come True : Journey to Bat Yam : The Aliyah of Chava Vodka


bat yam

Few people I’ve met were as enthusiastic as Chava Vodka about sharing her aliyah experience with Baltimore readers. Her response – that spreading the beauty of Eretz Yisrael is a tikun (rectification) for chet hameraglim (the sin of the spies) – revealed her deep love of Eretz Yisrael and passion for yishuv ha’Aretz. So, off I went to Bat Yam, where Chava resides with her family, to hear about her life and explore the seaside town.     

Chava, the daughter of Dr. Gershon (George) and Leah (Lila) Lowell, had a happy childhood with her two brothers in their home on Western Run Drive. When she was twelve, her family moved to Israel for two years. The move was prompted by Dr. Lowell’s promise to the American army. Rather than being drafted immediately for the Vietnam War, he would join of his own volition after he completed medical school. Dr. Lowell indeed joined the army as a doctor and moved his family to Silver Spring to be near his assigned hospital in Washington. Shortly afterwards, the family moved to Baltimore for schooling for the children.


Read More:Dreams Come True : Journey to Bat Yam : The Aliyah of Chava Vodka

Journey to Beitar : The Aliyah of Sara Lea Baruchov


“Family meeting,” father and mother announce one fine day. The kids amble in and take their places at the dining room table. The news is revealed, and jaws drop. Hearts start to flutter, and the shock is apparent. How would you feel if you were a sixteen-year-old Bais Yaakov teenager and are suddenly told about your family’s impending departure to a new faraway country?

Sara Lea Baruchov, nee Sondhelm, now a busy wife and mother, takes a trip down memory lane and excitedly shares her story with me in her home in Beitar. Sara Lea had just finished eleventh grade, when her family made aliyah in 1993. I ask her why her parents decided to pick up and move to Israel at that point in time.


Read More:Journey to Beitar : The Aliyah of Sara Lea Baruchov