Live from Jerusalem! It’s Avraham Avinu!

So by now, if you are a member of AACI, you have received a letter in the mail. And if you receive our free enewsletter, or if you are like us on facebook, or follow us on twitter, then you may know that Avraham Avinu was recently sighted in our Jerusalem office in Talpiot.

Here are some highlights of his visit.

Please like and share the video. And of course, you can donate by clicking here.

AACI is the home for English Speakers in Israel with offices in Jerusalem, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva and Haifa.
AACI Jerusalem – Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center Pierre Koenig 37, corner of Poalei Tzedek 2 (across from Hadar Mall) Talpiot, Jerusalem
Buses # 10, 21 & 49 stop on Pierre Koenig across from AACI; 71, 72, 74 & 75 stop at Tzomet Habankim, a 10-minute walk away.
(02) 566-1181 for more information about any programs or to register.
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SPOTLIGHT ON A SUCCESSFUL OLAH-Sarah Weinstein of 4U Gifts.

Sarah Weinstein (this article originally appeared in the May-June 2011 edition of the VOICE)

Sarah Weinstein, former financial planner, current small business owner, full-time Mom and AACI volunteer, celebrated her 10th aliyah anniversary last June.

Sarah made aliyah June 21, 2001 from Mahattan New York. Her original plan, to join her parents who lived here, was disrupted by the death of her father, z”l, a few months before she came to Israel. Thus, when she got here, she found herself without a crucial pillar of support she had counted on.

Despite that, Sarah knew this was where she wanted to be. “This is the best place for me to raise Bonnie [her daughter], and I’ve always had a connection to Israel. I thought, if not now, when?” Bonnie was 4 and a half years old when they made aliyah, and has been thriving since. “My daughter is very comfortable. She loves it here. When she goes to America she says, ‘I’m ready to go back to Israel.'”

“It was crazy when I made aliyah, because I moved during the second intifada. It was a dream I had.”

Did you have a plan when you came?
I had absolutely no clue. My father died before I got here. I had been doing financial planning in America for 25 years, but I couldn’t keep my license once I moved to Israel.

What are the biggest challenges of living in Israel?
The language. The bureaucracy is the same all over the world, I don’t believe Israel is any worse when you have to wait online for something. You’d have the same problems in America. It’s no picnic there either!

What do you like best about living in Israel?
The friendships I’ve made are much deeper because everyone is in the same boat. Most people don’t have family here.  And I’m very blessed to have my mother here. And my friends have become my family.

Tell us about 4U Gifts.
6 years ago, a friend told me 4u was for sale, and a few weeks later, I bought it. A few months previous, I had gone to the AACI employment department. I had always wanted to own a boutique on Madison Avenue, but this is much better than being on Madison Avenue.

It’s a Gift Shop, housewares, and our primary business is bridal registrees. People can purchase online from all over the world. We import a lot of high-end brands, not like any other store in the country, customer service is just like America. People in the shop speak French, English and Hebrew.

I love buying, love being with people, love my clients, never two days that are the same. I loved financial planning because I was very much involved with peoples lives, but I was selling an abstract product. Now I see instant gratification. People generally come in happy and leave the same way.

How did you get involved with AACI?
I had known Josie (Arbel, director of Klitah Services and Programming). Josie had helped me before I made aliyah, and I knew that one lack I had was that I was heavily involved in the Jewish Community in America, but when I moved here, I was limited in what I could get involved with because of the language. I knew about AACI because my father, z”l, had wanted the AACI merger to happen. I had known about AACI for a long time, and I needed something to get involved with, so this was a logical place.

How did AACI help you when you first came to Israel?
AACI is always there as a sounding board. Any questions I have, I always talk to Sheila (Bauman, Klitah counselor in Jerusalem office) or Josie. I email Sheila, she gets back to me.
I sit on the Management Committee, was heavily involved in acquiring the building. I did the picking out of everything that’s in the offices. Chair of Development up until this year. Not involved in day-to-day operations, but in the overall where-we’re-going, what we’re doing, a board perspective, behind the scenes. Half the staff might not know who I am, and that’s fine, I don’t need to be known.
Loves AACI cruises – spends quality time with her mom, a very special time to be on that cruise.

4U Gifts – 41 Hebron Road, Jerusalem Tel. 02-671-8406 Email sarah@4ugifts.co.il

Editor’s note:  Do you have an Israeli story — a personal story of life in Israel — that you would like to share with us? We are always interested in stories that will inform, uplift and inspire our readers. Of course, we reserve the sole right to publish or not, and to edit before publishing. Please submit your story, preferably including (non-copyright) photos as well, to bjacobson@aaci.org.ilLooking forward to hearing from you!

AACI Jerusalem – Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center
Pierre Koenig 37, corner of Poalei Tzedek 2 (across from Hadar Mall)
Talpiot, Jerusalem
MAP
Buses # 10, 21 & 49 stop on Pierre Koenig across from AACI; 71, 72, 74 & 75 stop  at Tzomet Habankim, a 10-minute walk away.
(02) 566-1181 for more information about any programs or to register.

AACI has been “Welcoming Us Home” for many years… Remembering Lynn Davison z”l

As we celebrate AACI’s 60 year anniversary, we give tribute to the memory of a special woman who epitomized the activist, volunteer spirit of AACI’s founders  – Lynn Davison z”l.  Many of our members, including Executive Director David London, remember Lynn greeting them at the airport upon aliyah, with a warm “welcome home,” and assisting them in their first steps.

AACI was saddened by the death of Lynn Davison, who passed away on Oct 12, 2010, shortly before her 90th birthday.

Lynn grew up in New York at a time when ideologies were discussed, debated and argued with great intensity.  Lynn was a feminist long before it became fashionable, and was not afraid to speak up and fight for what she believed in.  In the US Lynn worked for the ILGWU, the dressmaker’s union, and she stood up to bosses who wanted to pay their workers as little as possible.  She picketed the White House when the Rosenbergs were sentenced to die in 1953.

Lynn made aliyah in 1970, even though the Shaliach told her to send her children, because Israel didn’t need people her age (she was a very sprightly 50 at the time).  She came anyway.  She worked for the Machon L’piriya V’Yitsur for a number of years and traveled around the country to help improve efficiency and working conditions in many garment industry factories.  When she sat down at the sewing machine and showed young workers how to do something, they immediately recognized that this woman was not a high and mighty manager, but one of them, who understood what it meant to sit bent over a machine without enough light to see what they were doing.

From 1980, Lynn was an active volunteer at AACI.  She was a board member of the Central Region (now Branch), Chairperson of the AACI Seniors and National Vice President for Klitah.  Her pet project however, was meeting new olim at the airport, helping them through all the paperwork and sending them and their luggage off to their destinations in their new home.  She loved to greet them with a big smile and a “Welcome home.”  For 13 years Lynn trained and organized the team of AACI volunteers, taking up the slack when no one else could meet a late flight, even in the middle of the night.  It was not unusual for Lynn to go to the airport up to three times the same day.  She was fierce in her conviction that this was THE most important service AACI offers, and it must be done properly!

On January 28, 2001 Lynn Davison was honored with a Volunteer Award by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.  Then-Minister of Klitah, Yuli Tamir, awarded the recognition, and Lynn was invited to the President’s house with other American immigrants who had made extraordinary contributions to Israel.

When she moved to Ra’anana and retired from those activities, she volunteered to tutor students in English, both for the bagrut (matriculation exams) at Ostrovsky High School and Bar Tov elementary school.

Lynn is survived by her daughter Judy Himmelfarb and son Michael Davison and 2 granddaughters.

As we witness the nation taking to the streets to fight for social justice, all of us at AACI who knew Lynn can imagine how she would approve.  This feisty, strong, determined, articulate, intelligent woman strongly believed in “social justice” and that government is obligated to take care of all its citizens equally.

Lynn’s daughter Judy said at the end of shiva: “I admired your courage, your integrity, your intelligence…I am thankful that you were the kind of person who deserves to be described with these adjectives.”

AACI thanks Judy Himmelfarb for sharing Lynn’s history and her memories with us.

A Peek into “PEAK”

A new program called “PEAK”– a Place for English Activities for Kids– has now officially begun its activities at AACI’s new Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center in Jerusalem. I had the pleasure of speaking to PEAK’s dynamic volunteer coordinator, Fonda Weiss, who has many original and creative ideas for ways to engage children and teenagers in unique English-speaking activities.

PEAK launched its activities on September 20th with a very successful Sukkot arts & crafts workshop with over 60 attendees, most of them visiting AACI for the first time. 

 

First PEAK event at AACI's Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center in Jerusalem

A number of junior and high school students were involved in guiding the younger kids, and in taking individual photos of the kids for future PEAK membership cards. A huge thank you to Fonda for her organization, and to all the volunteers who made the event such a success.

How does PEAK differ from regular after school activities? Fonda explains that she hopes for PEAK to establish a new paradigm, by creating a place and structure for kids to make decisions and take initiative in deciding what they want to do. Developing volunteer leaders to run activities is an important goal of PEAK. Fonda also wants to tap into the unique synergy which takes place when young children, youth and teenagers interact. Volunteers will participate in training sessions to develop their skills and confidence in working with children. An added bonus of volunteering with PEAK is the opportunity to meet other English speaking peers in Jerusalem and to make new friends.

Fonda has been conducting market research to discover the interests of Jerusalem youth. She envisions the creation of a clubhouse where kids of all ages will come together to put on shows, play games, share hobbies, dialogue, do projects, read and enjoy one another’s company.

Dates and times of PEAK events will be announced in future AACI e-newsletters and in “The Voice.”

How can you get involved?
• Adult volunteers are needed to join either a goal-setting “board” for PEAK, or a hands-on PEAK steering committee.
• Teenager volunteers are need to help run PEAK activities. Volunteers will be trained.
• The donation of a portable stereo system with CD player, double cassette player, USB port and speakers (to amplify into a crowded room) would be greatly appreciated for future PEAK activities.
• Donations for supporting PEAK activities are also welcome!

Fonda is considering changing the words behind PEAK to a Place for Expression & Action for Kids, and she welcomes your feedback.

To volunteer or for further information about PEAK, please contact Fonda Weiss at peak4kids@gmail.com.