Noam Weisberg’s parents moved to Israel in 1983, as pioneers of the Neve Aliza neighborhood in Karnei Shomron. Later, Ilana Teplow ’s parents moved there, when she was just a year old. Their grandparents had grown up together in America during the depression, sharing the struggle to survive. Fate reunited these two families when Noam and Ilana got to know each other as counselors at a local day camp. They recently married and have moved into the new mobile home neighborhood in Karnei Shomron. “I’m just not a city person,” explains Ilana Weisberg. “Having grown up in a community in Samaria, it is the only place that I could envision raising kids. Besides, I need the quiet, the peacefulness.” But Karnei Shomron wasn’t always so quiet. During the Second Intifada, shooting and stone throwing on the roads became everyday occurrences. Ilana: “I was very young and at first I was scared. But my parents helped calm me through their faith. You build up strength and then drop the fear and then your fear becomes ideology.” In February 2002 a suicide bomber infiltrated Karnei Shomron and killed three teenagers in the newly constructed shopping center…barely100 short steps from where she now lives. “I was shocked that the terrorism had hit so close to home; but I wasn’t scared. I was determined!” Shoshana Ellison remembers those times. “ There was shooting on the roads and my parents made us wear flak jackets every time we left the community. I will never forget the night of the terrorist attack . One of the victims was Rachel Taylor – she was just a year older than me and we were neighbors. But our community was very strong. It never occurred to me not “to live here as a result of the attacks.”
Shoshana was born in the U.S. but moved to Israel as a child. When she was four years old, her family moved to Karnei Shomron. At 16, she spent the summer in America, where she met Yosef. “We stayed in touch and then when he came to Israel for a year of Bible study, we started dating. We maintained a long-distance relationship for 3 years!” A year ago, Shoshana and Yosef were married in Israel and moved into that same new mobile home site in Karnei Shomron. “Everything is so new for Yosef. But it’s very special to be married to a new immigrant, to be with someone with so much idealism. I can appreciate the sacrifices that people who move to Israel make, in a way that my Israeli friends can’t.” Shoshana and Yosef look forward to being able to purchase a home of their own in Karnei Shomron. “Everyone here wants to buy something and settle down. But with the building freeze, you can’t plan. We don’t want to leave and we don’t want to build illegally.” Like the Weisbergs and the Ellisons, Tal and Noam Bloomberg live in the young couples’ neighborhood. Tal: “We were in kindergarten together, in school together, in the same Zionist youth group. I don’t think I really understood how special this place was until recently. I grew up on a street where religious and non-religious families lived side by side. Having grown up in that atmosphere, I have absorbed the tolerance and acceptance that has always been such a part of what it means to live in Karnei Shomron.”
Noam is currently serving in an elite commando unit in the Israeli army. “I love to hike in the riverbed, on foot and on my bike. There are natural springs, stalactite caves. The landscape is amazing – it ’s what connects me to this place!” When Noam was13, his mother, Tchiya Bloomberg, was murdered in a drive-by shooting. His sister and father were seriously injured and are both paralyzed from the waist down. “I was just at the beginning of my teenage years, at a time when you begin to become who you will be as an adult. Everything in my life changed overnight. But I have never doubted living here…this is my life.” Tal adds: “Noam’s father, Steve, is an amazing person. He represents the purest of ideology, to live here despite all the difficulties.” From the beginning, CFOIC was there, supporting the people of Karnei Shomron, funding the young couples’ neighborhood landscaping and a sweet little playground. CFOIC groups have even visited, planting trees at this lovely site. Ilana and Noam, Tal and Noam, Shoshana and Yosef. Three young couples starting out in a lovely neighborhood in Israel. Their connection to this community is anything but casual. Having experienced loss and tragedy at a young age, facing challenges that people twice their age have trouble dealing with, they have grown into very special young people. This is the next generation of Karnei Shomron. With young people like this, the future of Israel is a hopeful one, indeed. ?
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