Written by Ramona Hirshfield
Hello everybody I want to share a story with you about finding the place called home. My story is probably your story too.
My name is Ramona Hirschfield, I am a South African citizen born in Romania. Ever since I was little I had a problem with a place I was living in. I didn’t like the fact that in those times you couldn’t speak up and say what you want to say or to do what you think is right for you. First I started with believing in the system I was growing up in. Soon as it was possible, it hit me hard right in my head, hurting my soul and making me cry and die slowly inside.
I was in school, and because I was good at maths, economy and a few other subjects my teachers decided to send me to the school contest. The rules were simple: if you pass the exam with the kids in your school you go further for another exam with kids in your area. Next step with kids on your city, then onto a country exam and the last and the most amazing one you could go have an exam with kids from all over the world! I looked at that last step and I knew I could get there too. I could if the teachers were fair when they decided the points for the exam.
I actually reached the right up to that desired last step. Then tragedy! They “ forgot” to add a rightfully earned few points on my exam and the moment I went to fight for it they told me – “ sorry its too late now, maybe next year?” Even now as an adult, I cannot forget how unfair it was and that nobody cared about it. I made myself a promise that when I grow up I will not end up in that unfair system and for nothing in the world would my future children be a part of it.
Time went by and I finished the University in Agriculture, and decided to try my luck in finding my destined place called home, in Sweden. I was 23 years old and ready to hit life hard. Everything was going fine there with work, but I wasn’t happy enough. That place is much too cold for me, lots of people depressed and miserable. Because I was not that happy there I thought of starting to make more money, at least to compensate for the missing feeling of home. So I got back to Romania to open a branch of the company I was working with, to import cars in Europe and sell them.
Back in Romania I met the most amazing man, David, who brought lots of changes into my life. He was living in Canada, and together after 3 months we went to South Africa because he was also an SA citizen being born in Cape Town. I looked up at SA like being my chance to get ‘my home’. I really liked Cape Town, and initially enjoyed every second of it. We got married and both found jobs in Johannesburg. My husband works in the film industry, and because he knew I liked negotiating for prices, he hired me for his film production work. We spent almost two years there and I fell pregnant with our first daughter Gabriella.
Because of the increasing securities issues in SA, we decided to get back to Romania when I was 8 months pregnant. I give birth in Romania, because it was the only place I knew safer for our family.
Soon as we could, about another two years later, we left Rumania again, still in search of our rightful home; this time to Canada. I was now into my fourth month of pregnancy with my second daughter Kayla. This time we were looking for our home as an extended family with kids. However, for some reason, I hated Canada since the first moment I got there and tried staying just because my husband insisted we spend almost a year there.
Once again, it was back to Romania, this time to think out our next move. Spent lots of time thinking about countries to go to. That was the first time I thought about Israel.
Too bad I didn’t insisted enough, because my husband was telling me that Israel is not a safe country, and reminded me about the stress we went through in South Africa. OK, so there we decided to go to Belgium. It was another bad move, that wasn’t our home either, so back to Romania! This time I thought that we must think about our next move much better. Then Divini Woman our jewelry business was born, she was like our 3rd child!
The best I did at that time was to transform my hobby into a business. We imported items for our business and we learned together, my husband and me, how to put these pieces together. I always believed in my business because in every piece of jewelry I made, I put a piece of my soul into it. I could sit down at the working table for 9 or 10 hours keep working, forgetting most of the time about having lunch or dinner; I was in my own world of beauty. Everything was full of light and emotions of how it’s all going to look in the end. I now had an exclusive market in Romania and business was building the right way. But it was still time to go home…
I insisted once more with urgency at my husband, and this time we decided that it would be best for our family is to go to Israel.
It didn’t matter that I had never been there. I had a very strong feeling inside me that for the first time in my life, something was calling me from somewhere. It was Israel! Soon we started to make papers for Aliyah, and a few months later here we are. When we got to Israel our kids were going crazy, they were so happy and excited I’d never seen them like this before. Now it’s a month passed since our making Aliyah and I’m loving every second I am spending here.
As far as I see Israel has a fair system, you can fight everything you think is right and eventually you’ll get it. I brought my tools with me, and my business. Divini Woman will grow here in the same time with us.
Gabriella started school in grade one and Kayla goes to gan. From next week I am starting Ulpan and will learn how to speak Hebrew. We came here and didn’t know anybody, and now we have Beryl from Telfed, and her family looking after us, and most importantly loving us!
Israel is different from all the places I’ve ever been to. Here is light, and here people are alive and smiling to you on the street. Here you can walk during the day or night and feel safe. Here is my HOME, in Israel, in Rishon Lezion. Israel is the best for all of us!
Ramona Hirshfield has established a wonderful jewelry business in Israel, Divini Woman. Her remarkable story proves that with the right attitude, anything is possible in Israel!