Our Olim

By Laura K.H.
Magshimey Herut Europe

If you make Aliyah with World Magshimey Herut you won’t find any TV cameras or newspaper reporters waiting for you at the airport. There are no big parties for you and for hundreds of others that made Aliyah. There are no private planes either, but they offer more important things. Magshimey Herut will find you a real house to go to and a family that will host you for Shabbat in Israel. The chances are high that your host will be the `Director` of World Magshimey Herut.

Getting validation on your diploma or with your Teudat Zehut (Israeli ID) is a very difficult process in Israel and dealing with the bureaucracies alone is hard enough. But Magshimey Herut will send someone to help you go through the process more efficiently and effectively. And believe me in the “cold” government buildings, an Israeli you can trust is actually more important than the necessary paperwork!

In my Aliyah case, I couldn’t have been luckier. I was part of Magshimey Herut before I made Aliyah. I was a hanicha in Magshimey Herut and a madricha and participated in many madrich seminars in Israel.

And a year and a half after my Aliyah I still feel very lucky to be a part of Magshimey Herut. Not only do I know that I have people to help me in my ongoing Aliyah process I also know that I have a place to be active in a Zionist movement even here. Although I need to struggle with the everyday difficulties of being an ola hadasha (new immigrant) there is still a place for me to volunteer, to give a hand and to do the thing I like the most, Hadracha.

In Magshimey Herut everyone has a story. My story is only one of the many success stories. And I am very happy that Magshimey Herut is a part of my story.

A Life Changing Experience
By Samantha Bien

My name is Samantha Bien, I’m a 20 year-old from Costa Rica and I have just celebrated my first anniversary in Israel, a life-changing experience in all aspects, which I would love to share with you.

I first considered visiting Israel around two years ago, when I heard about Birthright. I applied for a trip in January, during my university break, and got accepted. I packed a small suitcase only meant for a couple of weeks of traveling and said goodbye to my family and friends.

On my way to Israel I was very excited but also very nervous, not knowing the language or anybody there, and not having any idea what to expect.

The first day, we visited Old Jerusalem and saw the Kotel. As I prayed there for the first time, I felt an indescribable emotion and couldn’t stop myself from crying. It’s hard to express how I felt in words, but I can say that everything in my life suddenly made sense. I was meant to be there and from then on nothing was ever going to be the same.

Immediately after praying at the Kotel, I called my father and told him that I didn’t want to leave Israel after the 10 day-trip and that I wanted to find a program that would allow me at least to stay for a little longer. He agreed and the following day I found out about a volunteer program in Ramla. I was very excited about joining but I was also a little scared because staying in Israel would mean that I had to drop out of med school and leave my family and my country. However, I decided to listen to my heart.

After spending more time in Israel I realized how much I loved it. It made me want to convert and go through the orthodox Giyur (conversion) program since only my father is Jewish.
Through a friend, I joined Magshimey Herut and met Karma Feinstein Cohen, the Executive Director of the movement who promised to help me find a place where I could study for Giyur (conversion). Sure enough, a week later, I had an interview with the rabbi of the Giyur program in the religious kibbutz Kvutzat Yavne. Karma and I went together to meet him and I got accepted in the Hebrew Ulpan class. After I completed the course I would be able to begin the conversion course. I moved in the next day.

Living on a kibbutz is not an easy task. There’s no room for laziness and your roommates and classmates become your family. But, on the other hand, you learn how to bond with people that have come from different backgrounds. Also, living in a religious kibbutz taught me how to create a balance between religious observance and loyalty to the State of Israel. This atmosphere increased my passion for Israel and gave me spiritual strength to face difficult situations.
It was not easy for me to move to the other side of the world, where I have no family and, at the beginning, no friends, but I knew that I wanted to start a new life here, in our Promised Land. My plans are to finish the Aliyah process after I complete my Giyur program and then become part of the Jewish people and actively participate in the story of the Jewish nation. Now I really know that my love for Israel is bigger than any fear I could have and I also know that I want to live the rest of my life here.