By Shmuel Katz
Having only seven weeks in which to find somewhere to live and then pack up, move, and unpack is quite unsettling. The stress and anxiety of being in such a situation is high, and the whole “state of flux” issue begins to feel overwhelming.
We are quite grateful for the e‑mails of support and encouragement (as well as some helpful suggestions) sent by many 5TJT readers and friends. Although at times it was quite depressing to have to answer the question “Did you find anything yet?” over and over, it was still nice to know that people care.
And in answer to the question, yes, we found something to solve our short-term housing problem. Just down our block is a house that came up for rental. It had been for sale, but the owners want to make some modifications before they take it to market (I assume to enhance its salability). When I heard about it being taken off the sale market, if only for the time being, I did some research to find the owners and reached out to them about a possible rental.
At the end of the day (or in this case, after a month of anxiety), we have somewhere to live for the upcoming year. The house is right down the block from where we live now, which solves many of the problems that we had worried about.
Most importantly, Mordechai will be able to celebrate his bar mitzvah in his shul and with his friends, both from his school and from the neighborhood. This is such a meaningful rite of passage and having to leave the neighborhood or city and celebrate with a bunch of kids he does not really know would have been difficult for Mordechai.
We also get to keep the kids in the same schools and routines. They were all set for the coming year, and having to make changes for them, especially in early to mid summer, when schools have already closed their registrations for the coming year, would have been a lot of work (for Goldie—I am quite busy working to open the yeshiva in August).
The benefits extend to Goldie and me as well. Schools. After-school activities. Shul. Doctors (which for us is a huge issue). There are so many different areas in which having to make a major change would be incredibly disruptive to our lives. I think that a change is coming; we might need to move next year or the year after. But right now, with the yeshiva opening and considering the kids’ various needs, the timing of a major move is not right.
Change is coming, you ask? Yeah. Our lease is only for one year. Should the landlords sell the home, we would have to move again next year. We would have preferred a longer lease (and have a renewal provision in place in the event the house does not sell). Yet the owners were adamant about not wanting to go long-term. With only weeks to go, we decided to grab the one year; should we need to move again next year, we will have much more time to prepare and to find something.
Another reason we might be seeing a change soon is the yeshiva. G-d willing, we hope it continues to grow and be successful. At some point, having the yeshiva in a shul and renting apartments will become impractical. Should we relocate the yeshiva (either to our own building within Modiin or to some other location), it might be advantageous for the Katzes to make a move to be closer to the yeshiva. While this is years away, it is definitely a consideration in our long-term plans.
We actually had planned and expected a move within the next 2–5 years. With an expected two-year lease renewal, we thought we were covered until the time came to take the next step in our lives here. Apparently, that was not to be.
So we pack and prepare for as small a change as we could possibly arrange and we hope and pray (and isn’t this a little selfish of us) that the landlord does not sell the house until 2015. We might be ready for the next step at that time. Although, if you have followed our aliyah at all, you will know, as we do, that being prepared for anything is simply a requirement for us. v
Shmuel Katz is the executive director of Yeshivat Migdal HaTorah (www.migdalhatorah.org), a gap-year yeshiva opening soon. Shmuel, his wife Goldie, and their six children made aliyah in July of 2006. Before making aliyah, he was the executive director of the Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.