Aleeza Ben Shalom
Relationship and Dating Coach, Jewish Matchmaker

We Have One Red Lego, Who Wants to Trade? The Aliyah Tova Project

Avraham (8), Yehdua (10) & Moshe (10) Ben Shalom ready to trade their one red Lego.
Avraham (8), Yehuda (10) & Moshe (12) Ben Shalom, We have one red Lego, who wants to trade with us?

This piece is written By Devorah B. about her experiences in Israel and her connection to Aleeza and the Ben Shalom Family.

Devorah: Imagine making one of the biggest moves of your life alone to a foreign country in order to start a new chapter. Imagine making a friend, Aleeza, during the first few months of Aliyah, and keeping in touch with that friend for 22 years through summer visits to the US, telephone calls and short visits to Israel. And imagine that friend of 22 years moving her family of seven (1 husband, 2 teenagers and 3 boys under 12)  to Israel, during a pandemic! And the two friends’ lives are once again united. Kind of makes one believe… in something greater than oneself. That with time and determination, anything is possible.

I truly believe that collective human existence can be described through the telling of individual stories. After 22 years here in Israel, 18 of which have been devoted to teaching English at a wonderful high school of arts, I’m a changed woman in so many ways. Overcoming many challenges, I’ve found myself re-deciding yearly (sometimes daily) to remain, and continue to invest in my life here in Israel. Unfortunately, the recency effect is a thing, where recent memories overwhelm those gone by, making the effects Covid pandemic the “challenge du jour” for the past almost two years.

And that’s where the story of this single free-spirited secular woman collides with that of a religious family of seven – The Ben Shalom Family.

In times of disorder, souls are propelled to seek a safer space. And timing is everything. So, just as the timing of my Aliyah had coincided effortlessly with Aleeza’s post-college work trip to Israel, our reunion in March of 2021 seemed timed with similar perfection. My world had closed down as a result of a Corona that could not be bottled! And their world was opening up, as they realized their dream of moving to Israel.

Like butter melting on toast, our lives became interwoven, both physically and emotionally. I found a safe destination at which to socially reconnect, and the family, for which I had remained a distant entity, began their journey with someone to lean on. “D. – what does this mean? D. – how do we do this? D. – can you come with us?” Their many questions and requests melted my hardened heart, giving it permission to trust again. Best of all, I was hanging out with my favorite kind of people, little ones. Through the eyes and mouths of babes have I always found the hope to move forward.

And move forward we have in 2021! Fortunately, Aleeza could carry on her dynamic work remotely and in-person, giving her husband time to set up house and find work. While it was back to in-school learning for me, the search for the right schools for the five kids was on. The two teenagers have found a fantastic boarding school learning environment called Ayanot. The younger ones are struggling with Hebrew language learning, yet managing to fit in with their positive and bright (sometimes toothless) smiles leading the way. With the inspiration of their mom, who is an entrepreneurial beacon of connecting people, positivity reigns in their approach to the world. Another absolute bonus for me!

Here’s where this project comes in. Aleeza sensed that her family (me included) needed a project to provide a common goal to work toward, offering cohesion and an injection of some badly needed cooperation into the fabric of her family. An educational project where each member has a role, and each role contributes to the next step of the process. Called “Aliyah Tova”, our project’s emphasis is collaboration with others in Israel by trading up in order to achieve a much needed goal.

Inspired by Canadian Kyle Macdonald’s “One Red Paperclip” experience, and Demi Skipper’s “Trade Me Project,”  who both manifested a home of their dreams by trading up a paperclip and a bobby pin respectively, the Aliyah Tova project works similarly. You start with a small  item, and continue to trade up until you reach your intended goal.

At this point in their journey, in order to continue to have an Aliyah Tova, they’d like to obtain a reliable second-hand 9-passenger van and inspire people along the journey. We hope you can help make this possible. After all, anything is possible when we work together.

The first item up for trade is a unique red Lego piece which has been a fill-in piece for their missing red Settlers of Catan piece. Who wants one red Lego? What do you have to offer?

If you live in Israel, and want to trade, you can offer up what you have on FB (One Red Lego – Aliyah Tova) or TikTok (one_red_lego). We can’t wait to make the first trade, meet some new friends and learn some more Hebrew along the way.

About the Author
Aleeza Ben Shalom is a professional dating coach, author, in-demand speaker, and an expert in soulmate clarity. She helps marriage-minded singles in a relationship go from uncertainty and overwhelm to finding the clarity they need to confidently determine whether this is the ONE or if they should be done. Aleeza and her team guide singles through the steps to become engaged—regardless of age, affiliation, or stage in life. A regularly featured expert in the media, Aleeza's relationship advice has appeared everywhere from BBC World News, to NPR to Over the last 10 years, she has trained 100+ dating coaches and shadchanim, and has helped hundreds of singles manifest their soulmate. Aleeza is a dedicated wife and loving mother of 5 children and one lovable dog. Aleeza's lifelong dream of Aliyah came true March 1, 2021. She and her family reside in Pardes Hannah, Israel. To learn more visit:
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