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It’s Been 1 Year Since I Made Aliyah and My Break the Fast Menu


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Just about a year ago, Hubby and I decided to pick up with our five children and move from our comfortable home in Monsey, New York to a cottage in Israel, a place where we would all have to learn the language and culture, a place where we would be immigrants, just like my parents had been in the USA.  People are still asking me why.

Why move to Israel?

When people ask me “why”, they’re really asking “Isn’t it hard? Why do it if it’s so hard?” I confess this is not my own observation. It was made by one of the most funny and fascinating rabbis on the planet, Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky, but I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Almost everyone who moves to Israel is asked this question sooner or later.  Your visiting friends, relatives, parents are aghast that life in Israel is so challenging. It can be simple stuff – like getting used to different paper towels, tissues and toilet paper, learning to live with Israeli milk bags (in pitchers!), bagging your own groceries at the supermarket – or real issues like, housing in quarters less than half the size of what you had in the States, the suffocating heat of a chamsin in the summer, nuclear threats from our Arab cousins. Every oleh can provide a long, personalized list, I assure you.

In my case, leaving my birthplace (which was actually Philly), my parents (my mom visits a lot), my old friends (hi Atara and Simcha Rus), my favorite coffee shop (shout out to Purple Pear), everything familiar, to live in Israel was the natural destination of my personal spiritual trajectory. I had gone from one level of Jewish living to the next; then suddenly I was gripped by the awareness that it’s all very nice to build lovely Jewish communities in outposts all over the world, but that Israel’s gates now are open to us. After two thousand years, we can go home! How can we turn our backs on that? So it seemed kinda natural to just pick up and come to the Holy Land – not expecting it to be easy, and alert to the challenges that lay ahead. Yet it was a monumental thing to do, a historic act. And I’m all into doing things that make a difference.  Truth is it’s most probably an eternal difference.

And yes, it’s hard. Very hard.  Can’t deny it. Nu? What’s so terrible about that? If you look back on life, you’ll notice that just about everything worth doing is hard. Marriage is hard. Childbirth is hard (but not as hard as raising children). Pesach preparation is hard. Learning to cook is hard. Writing cookbooks is hard (even though it looks like fun.) Reinventing yourself in a new country is hard.

But the result is a life that’s rich in purpose, a life that actually moves in a consistent direction. It’s a life that’s aware, precisely because the choices were hard and you had to grow into them. I’m not saying my choices are right for anybody else. They’re right for me.  And as long as I can stay true to myself, I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror every morning and know that I’ll never have to look back with regret.

In case you missed the last episode of JoyofAliyah (or just want to see it again) watch it here:

And for no other reason that the fact that this reflective post was written around one of the holiest days on our calendar, here is my Quick & Kosher post Yom Kippur menu.  Easy Fast and G’Mar Chatima Tova!


Parsnip and Celery Root Soup


Lemon and White Wine Broiled Sole

green bean casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Fettucine with Pumpkin Sauce

Lemon Yogurt Pie

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About Jamie Geller


Jamie Geller is the only best-selling cookbook author who wants to get you out of the kitchen – not because she doesn’t love food – but because she has tons to do. As “The Bride Who Knew Nothing” Jamie found her niche specializing in fast, fresh, family recipes. Now the "Queen of Kosher" (CBS) and the "Jewish Rachael Ray" (New York Times), she's the creative force behind JoyofKosher.com and "Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller" magazine . Jamie and her hubby live in Israel with their five busy kids who give her plenty of reasons to get out of the kitchen - quickly. Check out her new book, "Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes."




28 Responses to It’s Been 1 Year Since I Made Aliyah and My Break the Fast Menu

  1. you are soooo lucky! one day we hope to join you. it has been our biggest wish to live in Israel. i think we all know its hard but the plus side out weigh the downside. have an easy fast.

  2. avatar says: Carol

    Where did you find parsnips? I’m here 11 years and think I only saw them once, PERHAPS, many years ago.

  3. avatar says: Judy

    Where do you live here? I still get asked why I left England 45 years ago. Where have you found parsnips?

  4. avatar says: Judy

    Hi Carol. I didn’t see your message. Sorry. I can’t find them either. I suppose one could use root! Looks the same. Are you all religious?

  5. avatar says: Judy

    @pennyweeks. Why do people say they can’t wait to come. What are you waiting for. Get yourselves here ahad shtiyim.

  6. I love reading about your move to Israel! Last year you had an amazing pre fast Yom Kippur menu. It had cornish hens and I can’t remember the sides. the meal sustained us and I would like to make it again, but can’t find it :( Thank you and have an easy fast.

  7. avatar says: EstiK

    Congratulations to you Jamie! I remember learning at a Shiur once that since we are still in Galus, there have to be Jews who make the decision to live in the Gola. Which is why my Husband and i have made the decision to be Gola Jews. I would say that it is not an easy decision and that it is difficult to live in a country (USA) whose values are so not aligned with our own, but we felt it was the right decision for us. That being said, we greatly admire the brave families who make Aliyah! Kudos to you!
    Shana Tova.

  8. avatar says: Fredi

    Jamie,you make it sound like you are suffering in your kitchen here!What is different about paper towels,tissues and toilet paper?? My kitchen is more modern than any of my American friends and certainly bigger than any NYC kitchen. it is European designed and sleeker and more chic thanAmerican design. Change to a cheaper supermarket that does bag groceries, but better go to the Shuk where you can be assure that all your produce is local from a 100 mile radius.
    you should have mentioned that you live in a kosher Disneyworld and don’t have to think twice about buying your kids ice cream or potato chips on the street.
    Brucha Habaah–start cooking like an Israeli and you will never yearn for junk like marshmallow fluff again! you made the right decision and your children will thank you one day.

    • Hi Fredi! you make me laugh. I am not suffering – there are just things that take getting used to. Thank you for your support – I do know with 100% clarity that this was the most amazing, powerful, important and meaningful decision we could have made for our family and our future as Jewish people.

  9. Mazal Tov Jamie! Your menu looks great for break fast!

  10. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my grandparents and why and how they left their homelands. The journey and getting used to a new place is hard, as you say, but for my ancestors it turned out to be a wise choice and a blessing. I wish the same for you. Best to you in your new home.

  11. avatar says: Diane

    Shana Tova! I enjoy everything about you. Glad I found you. Have used quite a few of your recipes.
    I wish you gmar chatimah tova. A year of health, b’sirot tovot and delicious and fattening, ok, throw in less fattening, recipes.

  12. I love hearing your aliyah story. Life is hard but it’s also one’s outlook that can make it harder or easier. You seem to have a lovely outlook on things, which will make transitions that much more easier and will be a nice lesson for the kiddos to pick up!

  13. avatar says: Elana

    Kol Hakavod! I enjoy getting your menu every week in my email and now that I know you are making the recipes in Israel I will enjoy them even more! We made aliya almost 30 years ago (my husband is also from Monsey) and never looked back. Our children and grandchildren are Israeli’s and that’s exacly what we wanted! Good luck with the transition and thanks for sharing your story. Chag Sukkot Sameach!

  14. Happy 1st year in Israel, and may you have all the rest of your years there!

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