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"becoming israeli" the book

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is the first and only book to share the voices of multiple English-speaking olim (immigrants to Israel) and their experiences with the inspiring, emotional, as well as challenging moments of making aliyah and acclimating to life in Israel.

"This should be required reading by the Jewish Agency for anyone making aliyah. It is a golden handbook for those who live or are thinking of living in Israel. Never have I read such a composite of experiences and worthwhile tips concentrated in one great book." - Shari L., made aliyah from NY

more about the book

Olim (immigrants) who move their entire lives and futures to Israel which necessitates acclimating to a new language, culture and society, engage in a process that inspires a wide range of feelings, from inspiration to frustration, from confusion to deep pride.

"Becoming Israeli" is a first-of-its-kind collection of essays written by Akiva Gersh and 40 other olim, capturing the inside story of moving to the Jewish state and beginning the process of becoming Israeli.

The book is a record and a testament to what inspires olim to uproot their lives and move across the globe, gives voice to the challenges they face along the way, and illustrates vividly why they would never want to live anywhere else.  

You will literally laugh out loud as well as wipe away tears as you journey through the world of aliyah with these writers who want to share their unique story. A story which is, essentially, the story of the Jewish people coming home. 




“This wonderful collection from the new generation of Western olim deserves to be widely read among all who care about Israel. My own experience as an oleh a generation earlier was to a very different Israel than the one described in this book. And yet the basic elements of the aliyah process remain the same: adjusting to the often perplexing and occasionally maddening aspects of a country that never ceases to surprise even itself, experiencing a sense of wonder at the endless diversity of Israel and most of all feeling a sense of gratitude that only grows stronger with the years for the privilege of being part of the Jewish people’s return home.  


Funny, profoundly moving, at once intensely personal and generational, these are voices that need to be heard and amplified in Jewish life. They are the light that is coming out of Zion.” 


—  MICHAEL OREN, Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. former Israeli MK, and author of multiple books including Ally: MyJourney Across the American-Israeli Divide.

“Each voice in this book is a vital expression of faith in the Jewish state. We are Israelis by choice, rather than by birth or force of circumstance. Each of us, simply by leaving the safety and prosperity of our countries of origin, has proven the depth of the Jewish people's love for this land. However few our numbers, we are an indispensable affirmation of the rightness of the Jewish return home.

Making aliyah is a form of making love. Every person in this book first fell in love with the idea of a Jewish state. But that is never enough to sustain aliyah; all of us who remain have also fallen in love with the reality of a Jewish state. The writers of this book are our great contemporary lovers of Zion.” 


—  YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI, Senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and author of multiple books, including Like Dreamers and Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.

about akiva gersh


Akiva Gersh first visited Israel in 1998 at the age of 22. Within days, he knew that he wanted to make Israel his future home; a dream he fulfilled when he made aliyah with his wife Tamar in 2004. From 2007-2020, he taught Jewish History and modern Israel at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, where he guided visiting high school students through the story of the Jewish people, mainly through tiyulim (excursions) to historical, cultural, religious, and ecological sites around the country. He has since taken his Israel teaching online through his business @Israel. He is also a contributing blogger at the Times of Israel as well as a musician. In 2010, Akiva created Holy Land Spirit, an uplifting and spiritual musical experience for Christian groups visiting Israel that fosters interfaith celebration, understanding,and dialogue. Akiva holds a BA in Religious Studies from Brown University and an MA in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. He and his wife live in Pardes Hanna with their four children.



in the press

`Click on the following to read articles or listen to interviews about the book. 

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