Visitors like the taste of an Israeli future


A little bit of the Holy Land was transported to north London on Sunday as JW3 hosted the A Taste of Israel expo, featuring workshops, exhibits and talks on aspects of Israeli life from food to finance.

Organisers said 1,000 people attended over the day, in which the JC was a partner, to find out more about making aliyah. Among those offering advice was Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub, who said that "to see an event like this reaching out and helping people on their journey is extraordinarily moving.

"I know some people are at a developed stage of thinking about moving and for some it is just beginning.

"It will take you a year to acclimatise but it is worth it."

Richard Goorney, 39, from Watford, attended with his wife and two children. "We are thinking about making aliyah or buying property so it is perfect for us to get the information we need," he explained.

"It has been good to be able to speak to people and pick up leaflets to study at home without the pressure."

Visitors took advantage of the opportunity to sample some of Israel's finest food and wine and discover culinary secrets. "I'm here for the food," confessed 69-year-old Harry Posner. "I'm not planning on moving any time soon but any chance to sample the food and culture is a great thing.

"We watched the demonstration by Josh Steele having followed him on [Israeli] Masterchef and hearing him talk about the food he loves was great."

A photo exhibition, Israel in Full Image, traced highlights of the country's history and celebrated the contribution of immigrants through the decades.

On a more serious note, Israeli TV news anchor Amit Segal fronted a discussion on Jewish media support for Israel, an issue north Londoner Alex Welck felt passionate about.

"A lot of people are moving to Israel now with the problems in Europe with antisemitism," she noted.

"I still feel safer there than I do here. For me it's important that we support Israel because it feels like home.

"Even though there is stress and problems there, they feel like they are my stresses. We are responsible for them.

"I don't feel England is my home so much any more. There is a strong sense of community in Israel and I'm hoping by moving we will be a part of that."

Similar sentiments were expressed by Osnat Rafael, who said: "I've been here for 12 years and now I'm thinking of going back.

"My life here is finished. I've been married and divorced. My kids are grown up.

"But I've found the cost [of going back] frightening. And it is going back into the unknown."

For Leon Manson, 65, the journey will be easier."I have two children there and it is where I feel happiest and comfortable," he said.

"My son is in the army and I have to wait till he has a date for finishing.

"We have a home there already so it will be just packing a few bags and off we go, a very simple move."

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