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Dad's job is in New York, his family is here

פברואר 9, 2007. Haaretz: Daphna Berman
"It's been a tough year because I want to be here to help my family get settled, but my job is in America," Nesher admitted recently, just hours before he was to board a flight back to the U.S., where he works as a software engineer.

Anglo File has been following the Brodericks' adjustment to their new life since they immigrated to Israel from Long Island in August, 2006.

In the months since their arrival, their children, ranging in age from 2 to 16, have settled into school here, made friends and slowly become more comfortable speaking Hebrew. They celebrated their first Israeli Hanukkah and have taken a family vacation to Eilat - but mostly without Nesher, 44, who still spends most of his time in New York. Chaia likes to joke that she has a "ghost husband."

The family has a web cam and an American phone line, as well as a constant e-mail connection. But the seven-hour time difference makes things difficult and as Nesher admits, it's hard to discipline children long-distance.

"We miss each other, but I'm mostly fine during the week," said Chaia, who has been alone with their five children during a six-month period heavily laden with adjustments and new starts. "Shabbat is tough. That's the hardest part. I think that if we had really little kids, we would have gone back."

Chaia insists that she is "not a commuter wife" and indeed, they are hoping that by this coming summer, Nesher will leave his current job and set up an Internet company that will enable him to spend more time here.

"I know people who have been doing this for years, but for us, this is only temporary," he said.

Perhaps ironically, it was Nesher who decided that it was time for the family to make aliyah, even if he has spent far less time here than any other member of the group.

"About two and a half years ago, I had an epiphany and I decided that all Jews at this point in history had a responsibility to analyze themselves and decide if aliyah is something they can do," he said. "I can't explain why we had to do it - I just know we had to do it and we couldn't wait. It wasn't great timing because of the war [with Hezbollah over the summer] and my job. I'm sure other people would have said 'let's wait to see what happens,' but I thought that every year that passed would be harder to move, especially on the children.

"My original concerns were over army service, culture, and income. But now I'm too old to serve, everybody speaks English [in Ramat Beit Shemesh], and I realized that God provides if you make an effort."

The children certainly miss their father, but are managing to adjust nevertheless. Azriel, 6, proudly counts on his fingers in Hebrew to prove that he has developed the rolling reish of a native-born Israeli. He says words like kadur, or ball, with a smile and when his older brother, Doniel, 11, repeats the word after him, a blunt American "r" sound emerges instead. Rachel, 13, has made a new best friend, while Yehuda, 16, admits, "I'm starting to settle in - sort of." The youngest child, Sammy, will be going to Mt. Meron for his first haircut when he reaches his third birthday in April.

Nesher will be back for Purim and the family is already counting the days. "It's just a couple of weeks each time," he said. "That's how you get through the year."
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