#Meet_the_Oleh Kielah'Tiel W.A. Barton
Updated: May 5
Aliyah Date: November 2015
Made Aliyah from Queens, NY
Currently living in Ramat Gan
Kielah'Tiel made Aliyah from Queens in 2015 after a magical Birthright trip. Keep reading to see how she made her life working and living in the Mercaz!
Kielah'Tiel (Kai) grew up in the Addesleigh Park area located in Jamaica, Queens, New York. She made Aliyah in 2015 and lives in the diamond district of Ramat Gan. She says it's a lot like her neighborhood back home, with almost everything you need on one long street.
After watching some people pass away in a senseless tragedy, Kai wanted to take some time out of New York City. It all started on a Taglit (Birthright) trip. Kai's cousin encouraged her to come and breathe some new air. She did the Birthright trip for young professionals the week of her birthday. As could be expected, she met lots of new people and tried new things.
Something she wasn't expecting was to break her tailbone the night before her birthday, the same day they were supposed to hike Masada. They were at the Bedouin tents, and a Bedouin man performed a healing ritual on her because she refused to go to the hospital. Kai was still determined to climb Masada..and she succeeded! It was rather painful, but she accomplished her goal. After all that, Kai decided that this was the spot to have her Bat Mitzvah.
She didn't know at the time that she could have just taken the cable car up the mountain! Instead, she pushed forward with the challenge and now has the story to tell.
That wasn't the only experience she had during her time with the Bedouins and hiking Masada. There is also the story of "Kai's staff". After she broke her tailbone, she needed help walking through the Bedouin village. While she was walking, there on the path, lay a perfect cane-like branch made of very strong wood...only there were no trees in the village. It was freaky, but the cane was the right height and sturdiness. The most incredible part of all is that it disappeared the day she was supposed to leave Israel. One minute it was sitting on her bed before breakfast and the next it was gone. It served its purpose. This series of unexplained events gave her a strong desire to come back to Israel --because she felt this is where she belonged.
After all that, Kai made Aliyah. Currently, she works at Payoneer in Operations, a leading Fintech company for the last four years. She also organizes the spirit team for her department (basically the events organizer) for a year now. Along with that, Kai is in university studying Health Science. She has not figured out yet what she will do with this bachelor's once finished but she enjoys science and she finds learning about health and everything human to be very important--especially when it comes to knowing how to deal with oneself and others in different situations. Kai says, "People assume when you say science it's just about organisms, but truly it's learning about your physical health, mental health, and emotional health. What chemical imbalance one may have and how to detect it for treatment. How to deal with the behavior. How to understand the un-normal (not a word but it fits)."
The best part of Aliyah for Kai has been meeting different people from all over. Also, learning what her strong points and weak points are, and working on improving herself. It's all a learning experience. Every day is a new challenge since she's in a foreign country. She challenges herself to not get frustrated so quickly, and not curse to the moon and back since the shop doesn't understand that she wants a caesar salad, not chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. She has the patience of Midas (it took a lot of patience for him to not turn everything into gold!)
The challenges for Kai have gone hand in hand with the best parts, dating for example. It's difficult not just in language but in culture. She says, "Yes we are all Jewish but we grow up and practice differently. Trying to bridge the gap on this proves challenging because Israeli men watch way too many American movies and assume we are all Sex and the City. The confrontations can get ugly when you tell them to go home to their mama." But even so, it's an experience dating in a new culture!
Kai's tips for Olim are as follows: stay strong. If you survived home you can survive here. The ultimate goal is to learn who you really are and where your place is...or should be. Don't rush everything. Life looks like it's speeding past but in reality, it's as slow as molasses. You have all the time in the world to wake up see the beautiful sun, and soak in the beautiful water. At the same time don't be naive. This country can suck you in, in a bad way like any other place in the world if you let it. Don't try to absorb everything at once. Utopia is a state of mind. Be Happy. Stay Healthy. Am Yisrael mishapaha!
Kai does a podcast every Friday morning at 9:30IL on Stereo (app) called Keepin it Cute in Covid, where she talks about all things beauty and care tips for the everyday human. Tune in to "Keepin it Cute in Covid with QueenKai!"