Marcy Tatelbaum discusses what she does professionally, what she misses about living in Detroit and making aliyah.
Marcy Tatelbaum, 44, made aliyah in 2007 with her husband, Yehuda, and their three children, Meir, Yakir and Techelet who are now 21, 19, and 16 years old. She loves living in Israel where every day contributes to a meaningful existence.
JN: Do you remember an early trip to Israel?
MT: When I was about 8 years old, we came on a family trip to Israel for two weeks. The next time we came was when my sister was here in seminary, which was her 12th grade year at Akiva (now Farber).
Starting when I was 15, I took many trips on my own, for winter break and summers to visit family and friends and then to Michlelet Esther for seminary after high school. Once I married my husband, whose family lives here, we used to come every year or two.
JN: Where did your family go to shul and where did you go to camp in the summers?
MT: When I was a young child, we lived near Shomrei Emunah, and then when I was 9, we moved to the Young Israel of Southfield area. I went to Camp Stone every summer from age 9 until 14.
JN: Did your family promote Zionism in your house?
MT: Yes, very much so. My father was deeply in love with this country. He took his first trip to Israel in 1967. He used to come on trips specifically during intifadas when nobody was coming to Israel, just to support the hurting tourist economy as much as he could. My father was very dedicated to local organizations that were Israel-strong, such as Young Israel and Akiva.
JN: Were you always planning to make aliyah?
MT: In my heart, I had wanted to live in Israel, but my fears always held me back; and I didn’t want to be so far from my family. But once my kids started going to Akiva, I realized I was raising my children with this “Israeliness.” The Torah Mitzion organization was very active then in Akiva and in the community. They brought Israel to us and a light to our community, and I wanted to live that way. For me, it was an authentic way of life that you couldn’t compare to life in Detroit. As a Jewish parent, I felt strongly that it was my responsibility to give my children the opportunity to grow up in a Jewish country.
My oldest, Meir, was in first grade at Akiva; and there, if you were moving to Israel, you were a superstar!
JN: What was your aliyah flight like?
MT: We were on a charter flight with Nefesh B’Nefesh so it was fun and hectic. The arrival was really special. We were greeted by family and friends. After living in Jerusalem for one year, we decided to move to Maale Adumim.
JN: What are you both doing professionally?
MT: Yehuda is an attorney; he specializes in personal injury law. I started out as a content writer for several startups and eventually took a writing role at Hometalk. That role evolved, and for the past 13 years, I was the director of human resources. Recently, I started a new job as head of HR at a global startup, Triple Whale.
JN: What are the kids up to now?
MT: Meir just finished his army service through Yeshivat Hesder Tsfat, where he will be studying for the next year and a half.
Yakir completed a year of Mechina (army preparatory year of study) at Ein Prat, in Kibbutz Sufa on the southern Gaza border, which he loved. In August, he started his army service in Shiryon (tanks).
Techelet is in 10th grade at the local Amit girls high school and is an amazing student.
JN: Do you miss anything about living in Detroit?
MT: I miss the people. The way people take care of each other in the Detroit community is second to none.
JN: Do you have a message for anybody who is reading this interview and thinking about making aliyah?
MT: For me, living in Israel opened my eyes to diversity. Because it’s so homogenous in Detroit, especially within the Modern Orthodox community, you really don’t have the chance to meet and learn from Jewish people from other cultures. I’ve learned in Israel that there are all different types of Jews. There’s no one way to be a Jew and to love God.
Living in Israel is a gift of an opportunity for growth in every way: personal, spiritual, professional. The opportunities here to live a happy and satisfying life are boundless.