Young people went to Israel and found each other

BY LEAH HAKIMIAN

Change your place, and you change your luck. It’s on old Jewish saying. On July 14, 2004, Aaron Greenberg met Jennifer Zeichner at JFK Airport. They were both moving to Israel. On Jan. 5, 2006, Aaron, 29, and Jennifer, 31, were married.

Actually Jennifer was dating someone else when she met Aaron — someone who was waiting for her in Israel. When that relationship ended, she did not feel that she was in the right place to start a new one. She and Aaron were both studying at Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem, which provides classes and living accommodations for singles between the ages of 18-35 who spend their days studying Hebrew. It’s a great place to learn Hebrew and to make friends, says Jennifer, but not a place to date. “Everyone knows everyone else’s business.”

ADVERTISEMENT
MERS Goodwill ad


That didn’t stop Aaron from flirting with Jennifer. But she stood her ground, and wouldn’t date him until they had left the ulpan. They are both thankful for Thanksgiving, 2004. Aaron went over to her apartment to cook a turkey for Jennifer, and their relationship began to jell. Then, at the end of December, came Adopt-a-Dog Day in Jerusalem. Jennifer went over to his apartment to check out Aaron’s new pet. Love me, love my dog.

Jennifer enjoys Aaron’s sense of humor. He didn’t disappoint her when he proposed. Aaron bought two rings — one was a toy ring like the kind in a Cracker Jack box and one was a real gem. He used the toy ring when he asked her to marry him. When she said yes, he gave her the real one.

Jennifer and Aaron are best friends. They were brought up with the same values. Aaron was raised in Tucson, Ariz., and grew up in the Conservative Movement — very active in the high-school youth movement United Synagogue Youth. Jennifer, who grew up in Marlboro, N.J., was also very active in USY as a student and later as a USY adviser.

They both grew up with a love for Israel. Aaron starting thinking about Israel because of his first-grade teacher at the Tucson Hebrew Academy, Shoshana Brandwein, of blessed memory. “We all called her ‘Morah Shoshana,’ says Aaron. “Morah Shoshana had a son living in Israel, and she always spoke about Israel.” From the time he was in Morah Shoshana’s class, he knew he wanted to live there.

The best of dreams can use a little help, and Aaron and Jennifer found it in Nefesh B’Nefesh (“soul by soul”), a non-profit organization established to remove the financial, professional, and logistical obstacles for Jews who want to “go up” (make aliyah) to Israel. Its Web address: www.nbn.org.il. During the summer of 2006, Nefesh B’Nefesh helped 2,100 new immigrants make the transition to Israel. About 25 percent of that number are singles.

These young people use the organization to enhance their lives professionally and socially says, Yael Katsman, its director of communications. “We are extremely proud of the Nefesh B’Nefesh couples, those who have met on our specially chartered flights, as they symbolize the greatest contribution, of planting new seeds and creating future generations for the Jewish people in the State of Israel.”

For Jennifer and Aaron, their aliyah has been a success. They are both employed at IDT, a telecom provider and work the same shift. They are expecting a baby and they are upgrading their housing as they move to Modi’in, a town between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with a population of about 50,000.

Jennifer and Aaron both feel they got the right help with housing and employment. The baby they made on their own. Mazal tov!