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After leaving Israel for Toronto as a child, I finally achieved my childhood dream of coming back home

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From Russia to Israel to Toronto, and now finally making Aliyah back to Israel; photographer Alice Zilberberg is confident she has a bright future in the Jewish State. (Photo: Supplied)

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When my parents fled the Soviet Union and resided as new Olim in Israel, they didn’t exactly arrive because of a deep ideological desire to live there. They did, though, have a deep desire to escape an oppressive regime; undercurrents of antisemitism and experience success on their own terms. We lived in Israel for a number of years – happily – until Canada beckoned and my parents left the Holy Land for good.

As an 11-year-old, I was crushed. I loved the bucolic kibbutz life my parents provided for me. I remember riding my bike for hours and thinking to myself, as long as I could be free like this, nothing could ever really trouble me.

I missed the simplicity of living here and the sense of community.

Canada, of course, gave me a lot. My teenage and young adult years were robust, but despite achieving professional success as an artist, surrounded by family and friends, I still felt something was missing.

I never felt quite at home in Canada. As a child, I didn’t know how good I had it until I left Israel and sometimes the pain of being so far away from the country I loved was too much to bear.

I visited Israel as often as I could. Always with a camera in hand to capture its diverse landscapes. After all, only in Israel can one capture glistening ocean waves and a desolate desert on the same day.

Ultimately, artists need to live where it’s best for them to create and Israel is that place for me.

Now that I’m here, thanks to Nefesh B’Nefesh, I plan to live in Tel Aviv – a city that effortlessly weaves bohemian artistic life with capitalistic high-tech enterprise. I know I’ll feel right at home with my people: Like-minded individuals who beat to the tune of their own drum and find beauty in much of what they see.

Moreover, I’ve already built a life for myself here. I speak Hebrew comfortably and with ease and most of my friends are Israeli. And as for work? I know there will always be ample opportunities for me to work in a place like Israel – always dynamic and inspirational.

I’ve also established myself as an artist back in Canada and made valuable connections that enables me to now embark on this new chapter in my life without a sense of anxiety and dread that I’ll have to rebuild a career from scratch.

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Ultimately, I think I accomplished whatever I could back in Canada – winning first place titles in competitions such as the International Photography Awards, the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, and the Fine Art Photography Awards, I think I’ve paid my dues to my career and am now looking forward to doing what makes me happy.

Now is the time to begin anew and build upon the work I’ve already done.

This polar bear photo illustrates the world class talent of Alice Zilberberg. (Photo: Supplied)

Due to the Covid crisis, I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot anything for months. I can’t wait to arrive on Israeli soil, pull out my camera and get to work.

As such, moving to Israel makes sense logistically, professionally, and emotionally. But most importantly, it’s something I wanted for 20 years.

Very few of us are fortunate enough to say that we’ve made our inner child happy. Moving here and fulfilling a promise I made to myself over two decades ago, I know that I’ve managed to do just that.

Alice Zilberberg made Aliyah from Toronto in July with Nefesh B’Nefesh. Since 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA, has facilitated the Aliyah of more than 65,000 North Americans to Israel.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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