• iKonnect

#Meet_The_Oleh Eedie and Mark Fitzsimmons

Updated: May 2

Aliyah Date: March 2017

Made Aliyah from Vancouver, B.C.

Currently living in Tel Aviv

"Have you ever been to a restaurant outside of Israel and you said to another customer, ‘That looks so good!’, and they cut you a piece and say, ‘Here try it?’ That only happens in Israel!”


Mark Fitzsimmons giving bunny ears to Eedie Fitzsimmons with both wearing large glasses and plaid bowties

Mark and Eedie Fitzsimmons never planned to move to Israel, but then their daughter, Camillia, did and it suddenly became an option. With a twinkle in her eye, Eedie said, “She thought she could get away from us but we followed her.”


Camillia came to Israel on a #Masa program called Bizright, where in addition to the typical Birthright program, they also visit businesses and meet business leaders from different industries. Five months later Camilla came back on another Masa program to work for a hi-tech company. At the end of the five-month program, they offered her a job and she decided to stay.


Originally from Vancouver, B.C., the couple was in the middle of downsizing when they went on vacation to Israel. They immediately felt at home, “We loved the vibe, loved being here, and we were excited at the prospect of being close to our daughter.”


The only question was would their son be open to moving to Israel. When he said yes, it sealed the deal. After they sold their house they looked for a new home in Israel. Many of Olim go straight to Jerusalem, but Eedie and Mark felt more at ease in Tel Aviv. They loved being able to walk all over the place. “Tel Aviv is so liveable. I go downstairs and I am around the corner from everything I need, kosher butcher, coffee shops, and supermarkets.” Their favorite part of Israel is that, regardless of observance level, everyone celebrates the same holidays. They feel like there’s a Jewishness about everyone in some way and it feels like family.


"Have you ever been to a restaurant outside of Israel and you said to another customer, ‘That looks so good!’, and they cut you a piece and say, ‘Here try it?’ That only happens in Israel!”

They have had a few amazing experiences since moving here, including one time when they took a trip to Ikea in Rishon L’tzion. They don’t have a car because they don’t need one in Tel Aviv and frankly, they don’t miss driving.


Usually, it’s not a problem, but this time there were no buses and they couldn’t find a cab to the train station. They asked a few people for help and one guy said he would take them as close as he could and ended up driving them all the way home!


As new immigrants, it’s easy to get caught up or misunderstand cultural differences. Eedie noticed that in North America when someone yells, something is wrong. Here when people are yelling they could be saying, “I love you! See you later!”. Yelling doesn’t mean the same thing.


Eedie and Mark Fitzsimmons enjoying a meal at a restaurant with a few friends
Night out with friends.

What are they up to now?

When Eedie and Mark made Aliyah in March 2017, they started researching the markets to see what they could do with their combined expertise. They noticed that even though there are 50,000 weddings every year, there are no exhibitions to connect brides and grooms with wedding suppliers.


Six months after they arrived, they started Wedding Fair TLV and produced their first show on January 25, 2018. The goal of the fairs is to get to know the suppliers, do research and have fun. They recently expanded their services by creating an English website for anyone planning a simha in Israel. They saw that so many people come to Israel from abroad to celebrate but there was no English website to help people navigate their planning. They created it themselves - you can check it out at www.israelsimchalist.com.

What’s their advice for other Olim?

Really do your homework before you come. It’s very easy to get caught up in the vacation of it all, but the cost of living is way higher so you need to plan for it. Also, leave your appliances at home but stock up on crest toothpaste. It’s the little things that you miss!

Although there are challenges and frustrations of living in Israel, “If I had to move Canada for any reason, I would miss Israel," Eedie reflected. "I miss people in Canada, but I don’t miss Canada."