October 22, 2008 / 23 Tishrei 5769
"I chose a completely different path, I feel like I'm living my life now for a greater cause." Chava Vento's life path evolved from living in fast-paced New York City to converting to Judaism, visiting Israel through the Jewish Agency's sponsored Taglit Birthright program and the MASA kibbutz ulpan program, and finally moving her life to Jerusalem. Her experiences on those two programs helped mold her dreams into reality, letting her experience Israel through learning and travel before making the final step of aliyah.
Chava Vento lived in New York, working and participating in a Julliard performance group when she decided to pursue her interest in the Jewish religion she was exposed to as a child. Disconnected from her Catholic traditions, she was intrigued by Judaism. Chava learned about Judaism through her friends: religious discussions, Passover Seders and Bar-Mitzvah celebrations were her first tastes. She explored her interest, reading about Judaism and consulting with Jewish religious leaders. Eventually Chava was hooked, and when the time was right she underwent orthodox conversion.
Chava pursued her newfound passion, traveling to Israel with the Jewish Agency sponsored Taglit-Birthright program several years ago, after which she decided to study in a women's seminary in Jerusalem. As the program progressed however, she realized that in order to develop her life in Israel, she must first conquer Hebrew. A Jewish Agency MASA kibbutz ulpan program on Kibbutz Yavne allowed her Hebrew skills to develop in class and while working in the kibbutz dining room. The program included exciting opportunities like gadna, which gives participants a two-week introduction to the Israeli Defense Forces, and trips around Israel. During her stay at kibbutz Yavne, Chava was introduced to her fiancé. Her MASA counselor lent a hand, helping plan Chava's engagement party.
While her fiancé studies at yeshiva, Chava takes joy in transitioning their lives to Jerusalem as she prepares to join the Israeli workplace. She loves the atmosphere of Shabbat, and looks forward to settling down and finding a new women's group to which she can add her voice.