Aliyah

Fanny Fulfills Her Aliyah

After a journey around the world, Fanny finally returned home, to Israel.

Fanny de Geyer Dort, 32, feels as if she’s returned home after a very long journey.

Fanny was born in Paris; her parents didn’t raise her with Jewish traditions or foster a relationship with Israel. Her father’s work brought the family around the world, and when Fanny was five years old, they moved to an island off the coast of southern Africa after which they moved to the islands of New Caledonia in the Pacific.

"For ten years I lived outside of France and had no connection to Israel," she says.

Eight years ago, Fanny went on Birthright Israel – a ten-day trip around Israel for Jews ages 18-26. A year later, she joined a Masa Israel Journey program, which offers over 200 immersive Israel experience programs for people ages 18-30. Masa, which partners with The Jewish Agency, allowed Fanny to experience Israel in an immersive and authentic setting. While on Masa she learned Hebrew and the notion of Aliyah was sparked.

"I lived in Tel Aviv for an entire year as part of Career Israel Masa and after the program I decided to immigrate to Israel,” Fanny says. “For me it was a surprise because I did not come from a family that was involved or interested in Israel, but it was clear to me that Israel is my home.”

The Winding Road to Israel

Fanny’s dream of making aliyah was delayed.

"I got a good job offer working for the Joint Distribution Committee’s Paris branch so flew there. I worked at JDC for almost seven years," she explains. Despite liking her job, Fanny recalls “talking about immigrating to Israel all the time because I couldn’t feel the deep emotion that tied me to Judaism like in Israel or in Jerusalem."

Fate intervened when JDC cut back its French operations.  "He didn’t want to fire me," Fanny smiles, "but one day my boss told me he was forced to lay me off. I realized it was a voice from the sky calling me back to Israel.” Fanny seized the opportunity to fulfill her dream of life in Israel.

Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem

Today Fanny lives in Beit Canada, a Jewish Agency run Absorption Center in Jerusalem. She studies at Ulpan Eztion, an intensive Hebrew language program that helps young professional immigrants adapt quickly to the culture and language of their new home. Fanny is studying advanced Hebrew and the language pours off her tongue. She is also making every effort to find a job and a life partner.

"Fanny is a very special woman,” says Ziva, Ulpan Etzion’s social and cultural coordinator, “She organized a Zumba class for women and is very active in the program. Ask anyone here and they will tell you the same. She did a lot of great things in France but, here in Israel, the world is at her fingertips. "

Some 7,795 French immigrants arrived in Israel in 2015. Eighteen thousand French Jews attended forty Aliyah fairs in France in the same year, representing more than fifty thousand potential new immigrants. This represents a dramatic increase from the 1,920 immigrants in 2012. The numbers, bolstered by impressive professionals like Fanny, increase every year.

"I want to build a home in Israel because that is my life’s dream," she says.

 

19 Sep 2016 / 16 Elul 5776 0
  •   Print