Jason Rozen

Hashtag Purim pontifications hashtag Aliyah

My Aliya story is probably similar to others. In the summer of 2011, my family — my wife, Bruria, and at that time, our 4 little ones — boarded a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight with six one-way tickets. Nervous and excited, we took our first bold steps away from our very beloved community in Oakland, CA and headed for our new home in Beit Shemesh. We had planned as best as we could and we felt confident that at least I had a solid job there once we landed. I had a Golden Ticket.

Fast forward six months into my Aliya. The job abruptly folded. In the States my profession defined so much of who I was. Beyond paying the bills, my role as an educator gave me a respected place in my community. It brought family and friends to my Shabbat table.   Suddenly, I was stripped of all that.

It seemed like many people shared the same story — the “job” you come with is not the “job” you keep. I’d heard other people’s horror stories. I never once thought that it would happen to me. Nor could I have imagined where my journey would lead me next.

So, I juggled a few part-time jobs and spoke to anyone who would listen. Many different plans and ideas were formulated and just as many were squashed. To keep myself busy and maybe learn something new, I enrolled in Mati Jerusalem, an introduction to business course.

During one class, as the morning caffeine buzz was wearing off, a fellow class member came up to me and said, “You love tea and coffee — you must talk to my daughter and son-in-law, Efrat and Elli Schorr.” Apparently they also shared my passion for tea. So I called. We met and schmoozed up a storm about all things tea. Where did this lead? Nowhere. But it’s always great meeting some real nice folks.

Photo creds to Sharon Altshul @RealJStreets
Photo creds to Sharon Altshul @RealJStreets

Time went by, a half a year or so. I was still running between one part time job and another to pay for all the shwarma. But one day, as I was huffing up the stairs to one of my jobs, I received a call. My tea friends, Efrat and Elli, had just taken over a growing tea company in Israel; Cérémonie Tea. They offered me a job! We piled into the car and drove up to the factory in Migdal HaEmek, in the Galilee region to check it out. From that point on there was no looking back. I had jumped onto the tea trail.

Prior to making Aliya, my professional life had been dedicated to education. Teas were a whole new world for me. I have always been passionate about drinking tea, but now was being offered an opportunity to step into the big leagues and go pro.

It’s been almost a year making tea with Cérémonie. Everyday is still an adventure. Everyday I am learning something.

Purim has always been my favorite holiday. This year I view the story differently than previously. We all make plans; we have to. We understand that the world works in a certain manner, therefore you try to plan accordingly. But as I reflect on the characters this year I am reflecting on Haman, the bad guy of the story. He had everything planned. He was even called Memuchan, the prepared one. And without fault or exaggeration, everything he planned for worked against him. He was no dummy. Where did he go wrong? Maybe his downfall was his arrogance in assuming that he could plan for every possibility and control the results. Haman forgets that there is a Divine Plan beyond himself.   And even with all the plans you can muster, The Good L-rd may see things differently.

I thought I had the Golden Ticket; the job. But I was wrong. My Golden Ticket is being open to the new adventures life will bring, to putting in my effort and seeing where it will lead me. Living in Israel has taught me that I must approach everyday as an adventure, in order to experience that which I could never have imagined. The lessons of Purim have helped me reflect on my Aliya journey and helped give me strength to keep truckin’. That is truly a golden ticket!

About the Author
Jason & his family moved from Oakland, CA to Bet Shemesh, Israel. In Israel, Jason joined the ranks of Cérémonie Tea where he blends the teas and talks about tea to anyone who will listen and drink with him.
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