Meet Miriam Naiman, Nefesh B’Nefesh post Aliyah advisor specializing in the 50+ community, the greater Bet Shemesh area, navigating the Israeli healthcare system and navigating the special needs system in Israel.
Miriam, originally from Buffalo, New York, made Aliyah in the summer of 1996 from Baltimore with her husband and 6 children ages 1.5 to 12. Following their Aliyah, the Neiman family was one of the first 30 families to move into Ramat Bet Shemesh.
For families planning to make Aliyah with children, Miriam has a unique insight- and hindsight- on making Aliyah with young children.
“Be supportive, be present, be available. Your children will need you to be upfront with your own emotions too,” said Miriam. “They miss their friends and the conveniences of their home country and so do you.”
According to Miriam, a huge part of creating a successful Aliyah for your family is in keeping your expectations realistic.
“I never believed that my kids would be participating by Chanukah and fluent in Hebrew by June,” Miriam explained. “It didn’t happen and I didn’t expect it to happen. Language is a huge challenge to work through for both you and your kids. “
One of the biggest adjustments Miriam had to face was learning how to parent an Israeli child.
“It’s a totally different world. I had to give my 12-year-old independence where there was none previously and I had to humble myself to the knowledge that I couldn’t do first grade homework.”
Miriam feels that, in hindsight, the struggle adjusting and learning a new language all paid off in the long run.
“Today, you would never know my kids spoke English when they speak in Hebrew. They are all married and successful. Some have married Olim, some have married Israelis, and they all have children. It is now that I get to see the fruits of my labor.”
The Naiman family is now expecting their 18th grandchild.
“For me, working for Nefesh B’Nefesh means I get to help people find solutions to barriers that have come their way both before and after they complete their Aliyah. I have the honor of greeting people in Israel after having met them in their planning stages when their dreams were just potential. It is just amazing,” said Miriam.
For those attending the NBN Mega events from March 11-18, you can meet Miriam and learn what it means to keep it real.
“It is important to figure out what real means for you. This is your journey- it is not the journey of your best friend who already moved to Israel. This is your journey and you need to make it yours,” explained Miriam.
What does it mean to keep it real? For Miriam, it means having realistic expectations and having your eyes wide open.
“Be real about your employment opportunities. Be real about your salary expectation and the distance from your potential job to your potential community,” said Miriam.
“With the proper plan in place and realistic expectations, you too can learn that there is no place like home.”