Date of Aliya: April 20, 2005
'You need that time, not just for the language,
but to get to know other people in the same situation.
We made friends [in the absorption center] and we
had time to adapt to Israeli society,' Debbie says.
Status: Married plus one
When they read about what is going on in the country
of their birth, Venezuela, Debbie and Daniel Horowitz
are happier than ever that they decided to make aliya
three years ago and now live in Kfar Saba with their six-year-old
"There has always been a certain level of anti-Semitism
there, but now it's more than usual," says Debbie. "The
people themselves are friendly and it was more on a government
level, as it sees Iran and Cuba as partners."
They always knew they would come to Israel and they came
for Zionist reasons rather than because they were running
away from any threat.
"We are worried for our friends there, but we try not
to get emotionally involved," Daniel says. "We want to
put all our energies into succeeding in Israel."
His parents were born after the war. His grandparents
on his mother's side were from Romania and survived the
camps, and his mother was born in Italy. His father's
family had fled to the West Indies, and he was born in
Trinidad. Her grandparents on her mother's side had come
from Palestine to Venezuela to start a business and her
mother was born in Panama. Her grandparents on her father's
side had come after the war from Romania to Venezuela
where her father was born.
They married in Caracas in 1999. They had both had a
good Jewish education and Daniel worked as a teacher of
roots projects in a Jewish school and also had a company
building Web sites. Debbie was a manager in a store and
worked in Internet programming. Their son, Yoel, was born
They went straight to the absorption center in Ra'anana
and joined the ulpan there.
"We knew Hebrew from our schooling, but we still recommend
that all new immigrants go to the ulpan and refresh their
Hebrew," Debbie says. "You need that time, not just for
the language, but to get to know other people in the same
situation. We made friends there and we had time to adapt
to Israeli society."
They also attended a program run by the Jewish Agency
which helps prepare people to enter the workforce by teaching
how to compose CVs and behave in interviews.
They put Yoel into a kindergarten and both did part-time
work during the time they were learning Hebrew. Debbie
did some baby-sitting, Daniel worked in translations and
in customer support for an Internet company and they both
acted as extras in a movie being filmed in the absorption
center, which they enjoyed.
Eventually Daniel found permanent work building and running
the Web site of MichaelUnique, a Judaica gift store in
Ra'anana, and stayed in this job for almost three years.
Debbie worked in marketing but for the moment is on maternity
leave, the baby being due in a few weeks.
Daniel changed jobs and now works for an Internet company
a family network Web site with software and Internet tools
for people to investigate their genealogy. As far as he
is concerned, it's the perfect job.
"Genealogy is my passion," he says. "That's basically
what I taught in Caracas. So now I work with the computer,
the Internet and genealogy; I couldn't be happier."
After two years they bought a pleasant four-room apartment
in a modern building in Kfar Saba near the parents, who
help out a lot with picking up Yoel from Gan. Between
her parents and his, they have a schedule worked out for
Before Debbie's maternity leave they both worked very
hard, out early in the morning and home about seven.
"We have dinner together and put Yoel to bed then perhaps
do a bit of housework," says Daniel. "Do I help make the
dinner? Well, if I don't cook it, I bring it."
Once a month they have a meeting of the Jewish
Family Research Association, a genealogy group for
which Daniel is the webmaster.
They have friends from many walks of life and many countries.
There are friends from work, friends from the absorption
center and parents of other children in nursery school
with Yoel. There are job friends and old friends from
Venezuela who settled here before they did. They estimate
there are 10 to 15 Venezuelan families in Kfar Saba alone.
When they first arrived, they were overwhelmed with the
amount of financial help they got from both the government
and family, as well as from total strangers who donated
used furniture. They both earn enough to live on and even
save a little. Going to eat at the parents or having them
baby-sit helps to reduce their expenses.
"We're traditional," they say. In Caracas they used to
go to synagogue every Friday night but find that it's
much harder here.
"There we had a three-day weekend, but here we have to
run around getting things done and Friday is our only
free time," Daniel says. But they try to go on festivals
and impart Jewish values to their son.
"We are 100 percent Israelis, with some percentage of
Venezuelan," Daniel says. "We can never forget we came
from there, grew up there and still have some family living
"To keep working hard and try to be happy every day.
To keep our children safe, to enjoy life and travel."