Few people have the chance to reinvent themselves, but I did just that about five years ago. I called myself “The Bride Who Knew Nothing” when I wrote my first Quick & Kosher cookbook because, well, I really did know nothing about cooking when I got married. When I finally learned to cook, I passed along my discoveries (and humiliating failures) to other clueless cooks. That book led to another book –and to the largest kosher food website, JoyofKosher.com, a slew of cooking shows, a magazine, and another cookbook in the works. I don’t do things halfway.
All of this didn’t just happen, of course. In my past life I was a TV producer and marketing exec for HBO and CNN, a life which is quickly fading in the distance. Somehow, my Hubby (a terrific, unbelievable Hubby, my inspiration for everything…) and five kids (the yummiest bunch you’ve ever seen – don’t get me started…) have created a new reality for me. It’s a long uphill road from “Executive Producer” to “Mommy,” but I’m learning the ropes.
So you’ve already guessed that I crave a challenge. And the next one is the biggest of all. My family is making Aliyah this summer – and the announcement shocked everyone, including me. Hubby told me on our first date that he wanted to live in Israel. And I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. The idea promptly made it to the top of my list of nevers, along with “I’ll never cook, never bake, never give up my media career, never live in the ‘burbs, never haul kids around in a minivan.” Now that I’ve done all of those nevers, I can add one more never to my list. Never make resolutions too early in life.
So the wild tale of our family’s upcoming Aliyah – with all its glory, emotion, and unvarnished realism – will be publicly documented as such a journey has never been before. That’s what happens when a media gal takes on the biggest test of her life.
This summer, my husband and I will be realizing a lifelong dream of ours, our parents, our grandparents and the Jewish People for the past 2000 years. We and our children will be making aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh on the August 13th 2012 Charter Flight. We had decided to do this over a year ago, but the whole picture didn’t come together till quite recently.
And along with the prospective move, a fantastic new idea took root in my mind. Here’s the back story.
I met Laura Ben David, Social Media Coordinator for Nefesh B’Nefesh exactly where you would expect to meet a social media coordinator, on Twitter. As I was reading her profile, I saw that in addition to her day job at NBN she was also the author of the Moving Up: An Aliyah Journey. I just had to get my hands on that book! With our aliyah plans becoming more tangible every day, I was making it my mission to get my hands on anything that would prepare me for this challenge. So Laura and I decided to swap books: she got the cookbooks I got the handbook.
Hubby and I proceeded to study every word of that book for the next 48 hours. It’s an inspiring, hilarious, emotional journey, and as I am reading about what it takes to make aliyah – how it happens, what it’s really like – I was struck by Laura’s remarkably positive attitude through it all. At the same time, I thought (as a TV producer thinks) this story, this great story of a family upping and moving to Israel, must be made into a movie.
Then I figure, it’s so good, it must have been done already. So with as much intensity as a Google search will allow, I researched like crazy and came up with – nothing! I check with Laura, sure that NBN must have done something like this, and again… nothing.
I was alternately thinking a movie like this has to happen, maybe it’s not gonna happen, how can I make this happen…Pulling out my hair trying to figure out how/what/when, coming up with a budget, then slashing that budget like a jungle explorer with a machete, thinking some more, improvising… Long story short, 200 phone calls, tweets and emails later, with bursting with excitement, I announced a partnership between our company – The Kosher Media Network – and Nefesh B’Nefesh.
We are producing a real time (or as close to real time as possible) aliyah documentary, called Joy of Aliyah!
We started on June 26th and almost every Wednesday through Rosh Hashanah, we will be releasing a clip or episode of our journey, an online aliyah diary.
We will cover everything from our lift on both sides of the pond, our Goodbye BBQ, our last 24 hours in America, the airport flight and landing in Israel, and our first 48 hours – everything from the exhilarating to the mundane – registering for school, health insurance, drivers’ license, Ulpan, meeting family, friends, neighbors, first day of school, and our first trip to Yerushalayim.
This will be an honest and vivid portrayal of what it takes to make aliyah, what it feels like to join our brothers and sisters in the Jewish homeland.
I hope that people will see that on so many levels, dreams do come true. The soul cannot be denied its return home. I am overcome with emotion, anticipation, and awe that, G-d willing, we will be in Israel soon.
Much of the production arm of Kosher Media Network will be moved there. In my new kitchen I will continue shooting my regular cooking show, as well as a new show for PBS about Chanukah, set entirely in Israel.
So my website, the books, cooking shows, events – everything will continue. I’ll share new and inspiring recipes, experiences and pictures on JoyofKosher.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube, and on Instagram. Lol, does it really matter where I happen to be located?
Well, yes. It makes a world of difference to me.