Kim and Mitchell German, formerly of East Brunswick, had been planning on making aliya for five years, but arriving in their new homeland as rockets and missiles were raining down was not part of the plan.
The couple and their five children, ages two to 15 years, were among 228 people from North America who immigrated to Israel on July 21 aboard a flight from JFK International Airport.
The plane was chartered by Nefesh B’Nefesh, which facilitates the immigration journey for new olim. Also on the flight was Yocheved Rubin, formerly of Edison.
Three days before leaving, Kim German acknowledged she was excited about her impending move to Hashmonaim in the West Bank, near Modi’in, although the current war in Gaza made the move “a little more concerning.”
“I have faith things will work out,” she told NJJN in a phone conversation a few days before their departure. “If we wait for a peaceful time, we’ll be waiting forever. We’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen and now the time has arrived. My husband always says that years ago people would have given anything to go there, and now we have a chance.”
The Germans decided that “we needed to be there as Jews” and, war or no war, “we feel we have the opportunity now to give our children a different life,” said Kim.
Mitchell has a background in computers and an Internet marketing business, which he plans to continue running from Israel. The couple’s only family in Israel are distant cousins they don’t know very well, but with whom they have been exchanging e-mails.
The rest of her family shares Kim’s excitement about their new life — and her concerns as Operation Protective Edge continues to drag on, and sirens warning of incoming Hamas missiles continue to plague Israel.
“We have mixed feelings of excitement, nervousness, and sadness that we have to say good-bye to our friends and family,” said Kim. “But we tell the kids we’re going on an adventure or a permanent vacation. They’re nervous and sad to say good-bye, but I think they’re more nervous about meeting new friends and going to a new school than anything else.”
The couple, who were members of Young Israel of East Brunswick, mindful of potential dangers, did pack an emergency kit to take with them. Kim said they also planned to immediately familiarize their children with their new home’s safe room and procedures to follow should they hear a siren.
About a week after their arrival, Kim sent an e-mail reporting that “so far living in Israel has been great.”
The Hashmonaim community “has been so welcoming and helpful,” she said. “We have been focusing on settling in, getting to know the area and all of the positive aspects of being here. There was a siren the first night we were here. We just followed the rules, went into our safe area and then went on with life as usual when it was over. No panicking or fear, just staying safe.”
Kim reiterated: “I have made a promise to myself to not live in fear and to trust in God.”