An aliyah who follows in the footsteps of Abraham

As a teenager, Jeff Green was a committed and observant Conservative Jew with plans to become a Conservative rabbi, until a friend showed him a brochure for Pardes.

The Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem refers to itself as “an open, inclusive, diverse and intellectually challenging Jewish learning community.” For Green, one year at Pardes turned into two. “I overestimated what I thought I knew. I did not know anything! I had to learn to learn. “

During those years in Pardes and in Jerusalem, Green fell more deeply in love with Israel. “He had to be in Israel,” Green promised before returning to the United States to save money for his final return to Israel. He was determined not to date, even resisting his mother’s nudges. Then he devised a plan. He would agree to go on a date to please her, but there were enough caveats to ensure that he never went on a date.

“I said, okay, only the modern, attractive, orthodox, in the DC area and willing to make aliyah in a year!” Green and his wife of decades, Miriam Green, laugh as they recount this period in what seems like ancient history during our Zoom interview from their living room in Beersheba.

“Miriam was on my list,” he admits.

“We had mutual friends.”

The two started dating.

“I wanted to go out alone with someone willing to make aliyah in a year and not wait. We got married in September 1990 and made aliyah in July 1991. “

While the timing of their aliyah may not have been perfect (“We missed the Gulf War”), the Greens came to Beersheba with a plan and some support in place. Jeff’s sister and brother-in-law lived in Beersheba, where he was a professor, and Jeff had already been accepted into an MBA program at Boston University / Ben Gurion University.

“We knew we wanted to be here and raise children here.”

THE MUGHRABI Bridge leading to the Temple Mount precinct, with the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock behind it, in the Old City of Jerusalem. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL / FLASH90)

Green was blessed with a great career opportunity upon graduation.

“When I came out with my master’s degree, my predecessor was looking for a protégé. I became CFO in charge of donations. “

As he reflects on his nearly 30 years at BGU, he is proud.

“We went from 6,000 to 20,000 students, we have three campuses and we are about to double. It is interesting to be part of it ”.

He balances his professional work with a large dose of Jewish learning and teaching, including daf yomi (daily Talmud learning page). He and Miriam are also very involved in their local synagogue.

Jeff’s strong desire when he was in his early 20s to live in Israel only rivals Miriam’s commitment to the Holy Land.

“My trip to Israel began in 1949,” he jokes. “When my mother was 10 years old, she and her family made aliyah from England. His father fell ill in Krayot and they returned to England. “His desire to live in Israel never diminished.

“When I was 12, my family lived in Rehovot for a year,” Miriam reports. “That year determined me to return, which I did in 1982 with Habonim.” He spent 1982-83 at Kibbutz Gesher Haziv with Habonim (youth movement), then began his undergraduate studies at Oberlin College in Ohio. Israel was still very much on his mind. “I looked for all the people in Israeli sandals and became friends.” At that time, she made two promises to herself. “I would do Aliyah and keep writing.” Miriam hoped to always follow her love of writing.

“My grandparents made aliyah in 1983,” he says, “and when we arrived in 1990, we had the opportunity to interact intimately with them until their death.”

She reports that she always “had an ingrained sense that this is my country.” She recalls that 1976-77 were significant years, referencing the heroic foray into Entebbe and Israel winning the 1977 FIBA ​​European Champions Cup championship. Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Mobilgirgi Varese by one point, 78–77, in the final.

Miriam spent 1982-1983 at Kibbutz Gesher Haziv with Habonim (youth movement), then began her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College in Ohio.

Israel was still very much on his mind.

“I looked for all the people in Israeli sandals and became friends.”

At that time, she made two promises to herself.

“I would make aliyah and keep writing.” Miriam hoped to always follow her love of writing.

Miriam fills with pride when she reports, “We had five generations here at once, this is just amazing!” His grandparents lived in Netanya and his parents made aliyah in 1994, the year their first child was born. His father, a biochemist, had done a post-doctorate in Israel from 1964 to 1966.

While the aliyah of the Greens was a “storybook” in many ways, they faced challenges.

Miriam shared her experience in an article she wrote for “Guideposts” (, the publication of the nonprofit spiritual organization that fosters wellness through the creation of inspirational content and also maintains an outreach ministry. The article, titled “They Followed In Abraham’s Spiritual Footsteps: What Forced This Couple To Give Up Everything They Know To Move To Israel When They Couldn’t Even Speak The Local Language?” Miriam writes candidly about the difficulties in learning Hebrew.

“I struggled to conjugate verbs, memorize vocabulary, and refine my accent. Who knew that the word for ‘interview’ (ra’ayon) sounded like pregnancy (herayon)? These two words would define my greatest struggles in my new land: forming a family and defining a job. “

Miriam and Jeff dreamed of starting a large family.

“We wanted at least four children.

When a year passed without us being able to conceive, we went to the best fertility specialist in Beersheba. “

The Greens are proud of the support the country provides, including free IVF treatment for the first two children until the woman turns 45.

“We were delighted. We tried IUI and many rounds of drugs before we got the results we hoped for and prayed for. Jeff and I finally managed, with God’s help and an incredible array of doctors, to deliver three healthy children. We were blessed with countless babysitters and playmates for them. “

The Greens appreciated the support of members of their adopted community from Beersheba who shared similar stories of struggles to conceive.

Miriam, who had worked at the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States, had difficulty finding a comparable job due to her lack of fluency in Hebrew.

She then found a job that was a good fit, working to help new immigrants, through AACI (the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel).

This work, in turn, helped her improve her Hebrew while working with many government agencies in her advocacy work on behalf of clients.

Miriam worked with AACI for 18 years helping newcomers to Israel.

“Find a community,” he advises all new olim. She further explains, “Aliyah is like a smorgasbord – you need to know to go to it – it won’t come to you.”

She talks about the many services and supports available to the olim, if they want to take advantage of them.

Another challenge that Miriam has openly written about on her impressive website,, is her mother’s dementia. He has also written a book, The Lost Kitchen: Reflections and Recipes from an Alzheimer’s Caregiver. The book masterfully weaves poetry, recipes and anecdotes.

His mother, Naomi, currently lives at the Orpaz memory care center in Beersheba.

The Greens are great ambassadors for their Beersheba community.

“It is an open, friendly and warm community,” Miriam reports, emphasizing the many connections they have made in her synagogue and beyond.

They are happy that their 27-year-old son, 24-year-old daughter and 22-year-old son are living in Israel (although their daughter and her boyfriend, also a Beersheba native, are currently in Los Angeles and plan to return soon). One small source of frustration from the Greens’ report is property crime, which includes burglary and car theft.

The Greens are also ambassadors for aliyah. Jeff speaks for the two of them when he reports, “I can’t imagine our life anywhere else. I firmly believe that this is the place for me. “

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