Rachel Schneider is a Wisconsin and Berkshires Ramahnik who participated in Ramah Israel Seminar. She made aliyah in 2006. She wrote to Ramah about her experience.
My Zionist family and education and my involvement in Ramah and USY motivated me to make aliyah. Since I was 12 I had always wanted to make aliyah, and when I went on Nativ I decided that the time was now. Ramah added to my Zionist education.
Seminar was a wonderful experience in Israel, and it was my first time coming to Israel for more than two weeks. On Seminar I learned so much, as I knew I would, and had an incredible time. When everyone cried as they boarded the bus to the airport I cried as well, but mostly because I didn’t want to leave Israel. I was one of the first people from my edah to make aliyah, so most of the help I had came from older staff. I made aliyah at the same time as the Kahn family from Minnesota.
We spent the summer at camp together (Rob, Camille and the kids) and it was nice knowing that I wasn’t alone in my experience. It was always nice going to reunions and seeing familiar faces. When I got out of the army and needed to rent an apartment, I got more Ramah help. Guy Eisenberg, who had been my mishlachat swim instructor throughout all my years at camp (and who knows my whole family), is a very successful lawyer who made sure to help me rent my first two apartments in Jerusalem. I am so grateful for his help.
I joined the army with Garin Tzabar. I was a morah chayelet for two years, and I lived on Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. I then moved to Jerusalem and started studying Visual Communications at Bezalel. When I started school in 2011, my sister made aliyah and joined the army. I am now in my third year of school.