I’m Tamar Weissman-Dunbar and I was born and raised in a very Jewish home. Our family observed Shabbat (Sabbath) and all the holidays; kept a kosher kitchen, following all the dietary laws prescribed in the Torah; and never missed going to synagogue. Every summer I attended a Jewish girls’ camp, and growing up, I was fed a diet of books on Israel: its brave pioneers and freedom fighters. I even had plans to settle in Israel after graduation from college…
My first day at University I met my best friend, my soul mate, my bashert (romantic destiny). John was perfection in every way. After school, we married and enjoyed the Southern California lifestyle together. John was a facilities and operations engineer for a large aerospace company. I left my job and remained home to raise and homeschool our five children.
We lived frugally – and beautifully – on a stretched-to-the-max single income. I learned organic and sustainable gardening and food preserving. I collected antiques, selling from a small shop and over the internet. Interior design, art, and architecture were my passions, and I helped many friends on a tight budget decorate their homes. Being so busy with so many other things, Israel Dreams was pushed way off into an old dusty closet of unfilled dreams.
It was our youngest, Max, who re-ignited within me the spark of Zionism and the intense love of all that Judaism offers. After Max’s Bar Mitzvah, John, Max, and I made our first trip to Israel. We fell in love with the land, the people, the history, the lifestyles, the diversity. After three weeks of feeling both “at home” and connected, something within me was rent when I had to leave. I’d never felt anything quite that intense before.
Over the next couple of years, as it grew closer to my husband’s retirement, we began to discuss options of where we would live – Texas, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts? There was no way I’d dare bring Israel to the table as an option. It would just be asking too much. But G-d was working on both of us simultaneously in different ways. In January, 2014, when John suggested I go for an extended period to check out the feasibility of our move to Israel, I was truly and completely in shock!! We had been praying what I now call “the most dangerous prayer” together: HaShem, G-d, close any doors in our lives that need to be closed. Open all doors you would have open. Turn all our stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and put us in the very center of Your perfect will.
Last March, I traveled the Holy Land by myself for five weeks from the North to the South, East to West – looking at communities, jobs, education, cultural opportunities, military service, religious communities for both myself and John – and had an amazing time. I met up with old friends from America (by “chance!!”), as well as people I’d met three years ago. I stayed for awhile with our good friend and internet Hebrew teacher – and made lots of new friends and connections. All doors and windows were wide open. Two days after I returned home, John was placed on forced early retirement in another round of company downsizing. Now that was our first obvious door slamming shut!!! After the summer of applications with Nefesh B’Nefesh and seemingly endless interviews for immigration(very atypical); home remodeling; a daughter’s wedding; Max’s graduation from high school – we sold our home and are excited to be on our way to our new home in Israel. This March, the adventure begins: destination Karmi’el in the Upper (mountains) Galilee, Northern Israel! Come join us via Israel Dreams… March 2015