Sean Littman
Sean Littman

Sean Littman discusses moving to Israel and what he misses about Detroit.

Sean (or Zeesha) Littman, 31, made aliyah from Oak Park in 2011, about two months after he married Ilana. He credits the decision to his wife’s wisdom. They live with their children, Tamar, 9, Emuna, 8, Tzofia, 6, and Ahuva Roza, 17 months, in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

JN: Where did you move to?

Sean: At first, we lived in Tel Zion, which is a Yishuv outside of Jerusalem, where we knew one person who lived there. We ended up becoming close with the rabbi and rebbetzin of the shul. Eventually, we moved to Ramat Beit Shemesh, where we have been living for eight years.

JN: Where did you grow up?

Sean: I grew up in Oak Park and went to Avery Elementary, Norup Middle School and Berkeley High. I went to YBY Day Camp for many summers and became friends with many Orthodox kids my age. Around the time of my bar mitzvah, I realized that my friends wouldn’t come to Beth Shalom because of the microphone, so we had my bar mitzvah at Young Israel. My father became very close with Rabbi Reuven Spolter.

JN: Did you come to Israel for the year after high school?

Sean: I wanted to go to Yeshiva after high school, so I went to Derech Etz Chaim in Har Nof. I knew how to learn, but my (Hebrew) reading was not that great. The Yeshiva suggested that I go to Machon Bernstein in Meah Shearim to help improve my reading skills. It worked like a charm, and now I can read Hebrew and Yiddish flawlessly. I learned at DEC for two years, and with some very powerful advice from a very wise friend, I learned in another Yeshiva for about six months, and then Ilana and I got engaged. Eventually, we got married and moved to Israel about two months later.

JN: Tell me about Ilana’s idea to move to Israel. Where did that idea come from?

Sean: It was brilliant. She said we haven’t laid any roots here in Michigan yet and that it made the most sense to be in Israel. It won’t be easy, but it will be where we need to be. I was hesitant at first, but once we did it, I never looked back. She always says, “If you don’t want to be here than you’ll never make it.” 

JN: What are you doing professionally?

Sean: I’ve worked for a lot of companies and have done a lot of different things. At the moment, I am running three different companies: a property management company, a marketing agency that deals with nonprofits and a cybersecurity company that recently launched.

JN: Tell me about your kids.

Sean: My kids go to an amazing school called Talmud Torah Moriah, which has the educational approach of Harav Kook. My kids speak English and Hebrew, and they want to learn Russian because my wife speaks Russian. They love living here every single day. We were in America for five weeks this past summer, and we see how much better our life is here.

JN: What are their extracurriculars?

Sean: My children were very active in ballet for a while and now have switched to gymnastics and love every minute of it. The baby even joins in with them! 

JN: Is there anything that you miss about Michigan?

Sean: Detroit is a wonderful community filled with amazing people, but I really only miss Jerusalem Pizza and a good Sara’s Deli sandwich! 

JN: Do you have a message for anyone who’s considering making aliyah from Detroit?

Sean: If you want to make aliyah, move to Israel now. It’s an amazing place to be because there are so many different types of people here. I’ll give you my phone number, and if you have questions, are looking for advice or are looking to start a business, call me. 

Previous articleBroadway Bound: Sam Primack is on Tour in the Role of Evan Hansen
Next article‘The Survivor’ Review: HBO Original Film Tells the Story of a Boxer at Auschwitz