It was 1955 and Miriam was 21. She was married to Hananiah. He was the brother of her first husband, Yossi. Yossi died early in their brief marriage. Hananiah and Miriam named their first son Yossi in honor of his uncle. Sadly, he didn’t make it to his second birthday. I don’t know the details but from what I’ve been able to glean, he was around 19 months old and probably contracted smallpox or another equally devasting childhood disease. They had their second son, Avram in 1953. He was 2 years old when they left. They were traveling to a new land called Israel with their family and friends.They were fleeing Morroco during a forced migration of Jews. There are many interesting facts about Jews having to flee Arab countries. Their story was only one of many. But for me, their story is special. It is my children’s heritage.
When they first arrived in Israel, they were a sent to a “refugee center.” With so much land available, the government sent the men out to build small homes and create small fairly self-sufficient villages. The homes were tiny and functional but each family received one with 3 dunam of land (about 3/4 of an acre) to farm. These villages were grouped around a central village that eventually would house the governmental offices, schools, health clinic, bank and post office. After time, there was a small Kupat Holim (health clinic), a rec center, bomb shelters, an administrative office, a synagogue and a food market in each village. Not a bad situation.
Probably one of the hardest parts in their acclimation process was the diversity of the people emigrating to Israel around that time, There was a great influx of European Jews
There are so many stories, both fun and not so fun, endearing and also frustrating. I have included a movie clip that illustrates some of those first few months in their new land. Enjoy!
- Did you know that immigrating to Israel is called Aliyah? This means ascent. It was called this because most of the people had to go up in altitude to get there. Although there are many people who believed it is called Aliyah because Israel is on “higher/hallowed” ground, therefore, to move there would bring you up and closer to the lord.Food in Israel is very diverse mostly because so people have immigrated there from all parts of the world bringing their own ethnic cuisine and ideas! One of the things I’ve learned in life is how each ethnicity has a variation on almost every food type. Take a moment and think about a simple food like dumplings. AKA, knaidlach, pierogi, gyoza, potstickers, gnocchi……boiled, fried, sweet, savory….the possibilities are endless….When you taste a new dish in Israel, there will be at 3 women standing by to tell you how THEY would do it! Interestingly enough, they will all be delicious!