I had the pleasure to speak to Chanale Fellig Harrel about her family’s journey to Israel.
Chanela is a singer-songwriter and mother of 4 from Miami Beach Florida. She grew up in an Orthodox home and met her Israeli born husband in Manhattan at age 24. They moved to Florida when her children were of school age, preferring the warmer weather than the bitter cold.
There is always a moment when the wish to live in the holy begins to fester in the mind. This happened to Harrel’s during the 2016 tumultuous election year.
‘’At that point, we began to question whether our commitment to life and success in America was a worthwhile investment considering the tumultuous nature of the recent elections and the rising anti-Semitism sentiment we felt all around us.’’
Chanale and her husband looked at their children and knew the decision has been made, that they should be in the one true place to can connect with the culture, history, and holiness of Judaism.
“We have 4 children, 3 girls and a boy, Hadassa 10, Yaffa 8, Sarah 4 and Netanel 2. When we told them that we were considering Aliyah, they were so excited. My children have learned all about the holy land and its connection to the Jewish people that they wanted to know if we booked our tickets yet!’’
Although their hearts were set to make Aliyah, it wasn’t an easy decision at all. ‘’It’s very difficult to uproot an established life with four children, a house and a business, and walk into such an unknown,’’ she says.
‘’A big hurdle for us was the major financial burden such a move would take. We trusted in G-D and he sent us Operation Exodus USA.’’
Operation Exodus USA is a Christian organization that exists to assist the Jewish people immigrating to Israel.
They are affiliated with Ebenezer Emergency Fund International, a ministry started in the United Kingdom in 1991 by Gustav Scheller.
‘’When Kathy Ardino the Aliyah Director and Debra Minotti the President of the organization called us, and enthusiastically said ‘’we are here to help’’ it was the 1st time I felt that we weren’t alone on this journey. Both Kathy Debra made us feel like family. They were there to encourage and support us every step of the way.’’
‘’I could tell from the moment I spoke to both Kathy and Debra what type of special people they are, which truly reflects what their organization is all about,’’ Chanale recalls.
I was shocked to learn that they have assisted over 160,000 Jewish people with their return to Israel from many different nations. Remarkably, they have representatives in over 50 countries around the world.
‘’Not only before Aliyah were they there for us, but even after Aliyah. As a loving parent would do for a child who just moved they check up on us to just say hi and see how we were doing’’ says Chanale
Chanale suggested I speak to them myself to learn more about this organization that many potential Olim don’t know about.
I took up Chanale’s offer and contacted Ms. Ardino to learn about this resource that many potential Olim doesn’t know about.
Personally, I must attest to how blown away I was while speaking to Kathy myself. Just like Chanale told me, I felt like I was talking to a family member even though I already made Aliyah!
Kathy told me all about their experiences working with Chanale and she had this to say;
”Working with Chanale has been a whirlwind an experience! She is a remarkable, active, busy stay at home mom that never seems to be in one place for very long. Truthfully, she is a hoot! She sings and makes videos of her life! Her deep love for Israel is infectious.
While she was sad to leave her parents, she couldn’t wait to take the next step in her and her family’s life. Their move to Israel had been carefully thought out and planned.
We shared with Chanale that we would be praying for the success of her and her family as we both felt that it was G-d’s own will.”
I asked Ms. Ardino why they are so proactive in helping Jews make Aliyah? She enthusiastically told me that it is because, ‘’we have been called by HaShem according to Isaiah chapter 49, verse 21
“Thus saith the L-RD GOD: Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and set up a Mine ensign to the peoples, and they shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.”
JOL would like to echo the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Christian Media Summit on Oct 14th. ”We have no better friends in the world than our Christian friends and I take this opportunity to thank you for your steadfast support. You are standing up for Israel and you are standing up for the truth and we stand up for you.”
Today Chanale and her family live in Bet Shemesh and could not be happier with their decision to make Aliyah. Chanale continues to document about her life in Israel, on her Facebook page.
To learn more about Operation Exodus USA, visit their website at www.AliyahUsa.com or ask your Jewish Agency Shliach