On August 14, Dr. Yossi and Dr. Steffie Sipzner, both 33, will board a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight, together with their three children, Moriel, 10, Sammy, 8, and Gidon, 4. Residents of Teaneck for the past 11 years, the Sipzners daven at Shaare Tefillah and send their children to Yeshivat Ben Porat Yosef.
What led them to this momentous, life-changing moment? According to Dr. Yossi it was inevitable. While a sophomore at Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, he spent two weeks in Israel, touring and learning. As a Moshava camper he spent a summer touring Israel with Mach Hach Ba’aretz. For Steffie, her summer serving as a counselor in the Sulam program of Morasha was pivotal. For both Yossi and Steffi there was no question that they would be making their lives in Israel.
Yossi grew up in West Orange and attended Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy through high school. He spent his gap year and a half at Reishit Yerushalayim and returned to Yeshiva University. He then went on to study dentistry at UMDMJ and has been an associate at Smile Central Dental for the past five years.
Steffie is a native of “modern” Lakewood, where she attended Bezalel Hebrew Day School and Hillel High School. She studied at Brovenders during her gap year and returned to Stern College. A graduate of New York Medical College in Westchester, Steffie has been an attending pediatrician at University Pediatrics at Rutgers for the past two years.
The Sipzners are grateful to Nefesh B’Nefesh for all of their invaluable assistance throughout their aliyah process. They are particularly grateful for NBN’s assistance in beginning the process of their medical licensing in Israel. Both are confident that their medical specialties will land them positions in Israel. For the near future, they will be attending ulpan to hone their Hebrew spoken- and technical-language skills.
Upon arrival, the Sipzners will locate to Modiin, in the South Buchman area. Hopefully within two years their apartment, in a newly developed area of Modiin called Tziporim, will be available to them as well as to several of their friends from Teaneck who will become their new neighbors.
The Sipzners are not joining too many close family members on the other side, though Steffie's grandparents, Sydney (a"h) and Henny Teitler made aliyah a few years ago. "That was a tremendous inspiration to us that they did it at their age when it was definitely not an easy thing to accomplish," she said. Also, the family support in the US that they have been accorded from parents and siblings is wholly positive. The other set of grandparents have already booked tickets to spend Sukkot with their new olim.
When asked what they foresee as the major life changes for themselves in Israel, Yossi shared that their new lifestyle would focus considerably more on the “ruchniyut” (spirituality) of life and much less on the “gashmiut” (materialism) that often overwhelms families in the U.S. As for what the Sipzners foresee for their children, the response was that fewer hours of school per day would afford them more opportunities for independence and the pursuit of hobbies and many other interests. Their eventual ease and fluency in Hebrew are an integral bonus.
The Sipzners’ message to the community is that if aliyah is your dream, “put it on your radar and have ongoing discussions. Whether in the near future or 20 years hence, make a plan.”
Our best wishes to the Sipzner family for a seamless aliyah and a positive kelita!
By Pearl Markovitz