My Aliyah story and an opportunity to give back

Telfed's Youth Committee delivered welcome baskets to young South African and Australian Olim who arrived in Israel in the summer

By Lili Goldberg

As the only child of a single mother, independence is my greatest aspiration.

I am not the typical South African Olah. For starters, I consider myself an entrepreneur. I was raised in a home with Jewish traditions by my non-Jewish mother. After realising that a BCom was not right for me, I decided on a gap year in Israel. With a dream to convert, my gap year would include learning in a midrasha and studying giur. It was my paternal grandfather, Solly Goldberg z”l, who introduced me to Telfed and the South African community in Israel. The support I received from Telfed motivated me to ‘pay it forward’. Israel is my home and I want other young, single Olim to feel the same sense of “coming home” as I have experienced.

When I first arrived in Jerusalem, I had passed the age of eligibility for national service. As I couldn’t serve, I decided to focus my efforts on those who could, by packing food parcels and hosting shabbat meals for Lone Soldiers. As COVID-19 hit, I decided to make a change and move to Tel Aviv. During this time, I was looking for new opportunities to volunteer and realised that young Olim who could not see their families in South Africa or Australia were in need of a strong social support system in Israel. Joining Telfed’s Youth Committee for South African and Australian under 35s was just the opportunity I was looking for. I was elected as the Chairperson of the Youth Committee and am excited to be a part of a young, dynamic team of Olim. My ‘team’ includes young South African and Australian Olim with a shared love of Israel and an understanding that young Olim will have an easier klita (absorption) with a supportive network.

Our team recently delivered welcome baskets to new Olim who arrived during lockdowns, we will be hosting a rooftop braai and we have been assisting Telfed’s Lone Soldier Committee with a project to send gifts to Lone Soldiers across Israel.

If you are prepared to work hard, Israel offers great opportunities. I knew academia was not for me but that I could make my mark with hard work. I am a strong believer in leading a healthy lifestyle and found many opportunities in this field. I am currently selling sports equipment and offering personal training for women. During lockdowns, interest in personal training spiked as gyms closed, and I am delighted to now have assistants supporting my business. I love that there are certain areas in Israel which seem underdeveloped, offering great opportunities for small business owners.

Israel is a country of miracles and I am constantly inspired by Israelis’ determination to flourish. I am proud to be living in a country that is growing and prospering; a country that provides a sanctuary for Jews of all persuasions, a safe haven and a home. We invite young Olim to join us and to get involved in a unique community within Israel. You can follow the Youth Committee on Instagram – @telfedyouth.

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Published in the print edition of the December 2020/January 2021 issue.
Download the Dec/Jan issue PDF here.

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