Ariela first visited Israel as a child. As a teenager, she participated in the Jewish Agency’s Tapuz summer program at Kibbutz Ein Gev.
After considering aliyah, she was told to study a profession abroad. She studied biochemistry for five years, learning molecular techniques. She worked for a pharmaceutical company producing proteins from blood. In addition, she studied theater in Cordoba, including a stint in theater work.
When Ariela was finally ready to live in Israel, she contacted the Jewish Agency which informed her about the Professional Internship program. This program provides young adults from around the world with the opportunity to gain professional experience in Israel by serving as volunteer trainees in their fields. Ariela interned at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, where she conducted research for three months. “It was the first time that I was in an academic setting in Israel. The experience was excellent and I enjoyed the research.” In addition to the Weizmann Institute’s highly acclaimed staff of scientists, Ariela appreciated its modern labs, so lacking in Argentina. While at Weizmann Institute, Ariela attended its ulpan for scientists from around the world. She completed the internship in April 2005.
The Jewish Agency Professional Internship Program clinched Ariela’s decision to make aliyah. “It was the first time that I lived here on my own. Although I was not exactly an Israeli, I worked with Israelis. I learned to shop in a supermarket like Israelis. I lived independently without the constant presence of a counselor as in other programs geared for youth.” However, she was able to contact the Jewish Agency coordinator for assistance when necessary.
|"I developed a connection to the land and its history," said Ariela (left).|
The internship included trips to unusual places throughout Israel, where Ariela met participants on the internship program from many countries. “It was the first time I visited many of the places, and I developed a connection to the land and its history.”
Ariela came on aliyah in July 2005 and studied at the Jewish Agency’s Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem. “The staff was wonderful and always on the lookout to help us in whatever way possible. For example, they smoothed the bureaucracy for us by bringing immigration officials to the ulpan. They also helped me find an apartment in Tel Aviv.”
Ariela had always dreamed of living in Tel Aviv, where she has South American and Israeli friends. Ariela started working in a job related to her field of biochemistry and would like to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry once she finds the suitable framework.
Ariela’s grandparents had left Europe to South America, moving around a few times. Her parents also moved several times. “My family had a long journey. They were like wandering Jews. By contrast, I feel Israel is my place in the world. In Israel, I’m Jewish and feel like I’m planting roots.”
Written by Batsheva Pomerantz