"Of course, we always felt a strong sentiment for Israel, our country. We also wanted a place where we can feel free," recalls Meyer.|
When Meyer Dadouche and his family came on aliyah recently, he was fulfilling his dream as well as that of his parents. They had seriously considered aliyah from Morocco many years previously, but without success. "I was lucky to be born in Morocco," states Meyer. "I received a traditional Jewish education with an emphasis on speaking Hebrew. Although I still have more to learn, it is definitely an advantage."
Like his eight siblings, Meyer, 36, left Morocco at the age of 18 to pursue his studies in Paris. He learned accounting and taught the subject for ten years in a Paris university in addition to working for an accounting firm. He met his wife Yael while both were visiting Israel. Yael, from Lyons, studied law and worked for a commerce bank.
In 2003, the Dadouches started to contemplate aliyah. They were parents of an infant daughter, Salome. "Of course, we always felt a strong sentiment for Israel, our country. We also wanted a place where we can feel free. In Paris we felt restricted in many ways. At work it wasn't easy for me to wear a yarmulke. I had to constantly come up with excuses for avoiding the lunch break with my colleagues," recalls Meyer.
The Jewish Agency office in Paris helped Meyer by providing information, books, and contacts with Israelis. Meyer and Yael came on a pilot trip organized by Shalom Wach of Alyah de Groupe together with the Jewish Agency. The group had first spent two Sabbaths together in France before the trip. "During the intensive trip, we met representatives from various offices providing us with details about life in Israel. A pilot trip is indispensable preparation for aliyah!"
The Dadouches made aliyah through AMI, a voluntary organization established by a French businessman to help French Jews implement their aliyah. AMI grants financial aid to those who need to pay back loans or move their businesses to Israel, as well as stipends for students making aliyah. It also helps with finding employment and providing retraining courses. "The assistance from AMI is a great help," says Meyer.
Yael with Salome|
Over 300 French olim arrived on July 25 in two planes organized by the Jewish Agency and AMI. The Dadouche family arrived a week before these flights and were welcomed in their apartment by a Jewish Agency representative.
They live in the new Har Homa neighborhood in Jerusalem. "We felt that if we come to Israel, Jerusalem is the place to be! The view of the hills surrounding Har Homa and the quiet attracted us to the neighborhood. Both don't exist in Paris!" The neighborhood is popular with young families, including French-speaking Israelis.
After two months in the country, Meyer and Yael are learning Hebrew in two different Jewish Agency ulpans. Meanwhile, Salome is picking up Hebrew in her pre-school and making friends. After completing ulpan, Meyer hopes to enroll in a tax advisor course, which emphasizes Israeli tax law. "Thanks to the assistance of AMI and the Jewish Agency, I don't have to think so much about work during these first months in Israel."