#Meet_the_Oleh- Lee'at Gentely
Aliyah Date: March 2009
Immigrated from: London, England
Currently living in Tel Aviv
Lee'at went from practicing law in London to creating cakes that can only be described as a work of art--and delicious! Find out how she ended up in such a sweet business below!
Lee’at Gentely made Aliyah in 2009 from London, England. It was the peak of the financial crash, and many people were making plans to move to Israel. And then...Lee'at got pregnant. She said to her boyfriend at the time (now husband), "We're moving to Israel." Within five weeks, they had upped and left their life in London for Tel Aviv. Suitcases in hand, they dove into their new life.
Lee'at and her husband are both half Israeli, so moving to Israel wasn't exactly a foreign concept. Still, there was a major adjustment. They made Aliyah straight to Tel Aviv, and they have been there since.
So, how did Lee'at get into baking cakes?
Lee'at calls herself an "accidental baker." The idea was, she wanted to make her children's birthday cakes when they were young, but she had no idea how to decorate them. Of course, they had to be themed cakes! For her daughter's first birthday, she wasn't sure where to begin. Her mother brought her fondant and all the supplies, and they muddled their way through a cake. From that point on, she was in the cake business.
Every year she grew and improved her skills. These were the pre-Instagram days-before you could get 100 tutorials in the palm of your hand. She used Youtube a bit to help, but being in Israel, much of what she found was in Hebrew.
It got to a point where many of her friends started saying "Can you help me with my cake -- and my cake?" and she would help her friends. And then it became friends of friends...and then the business grew exponentially! She was working from home at the time, back-office work and logistics. This meant she could experiment with her cakes at the same time. She did this for a while, and then a few years ago she decided to just do cakes. She officially became a "cake lady."
Social media has a massive role to play in all of this. With her cakes being a certain style- very aesthetically pleasing, they became super popular on Instagram because they are so visual! People love her colors and themes.
In Israel, it can be hard to open a bakery because of all the regulations. Lee'at is now opening a cake studio with another cake maker -- right off of Kikar Dizengoff! There she will be teaching workshops for cake making and decorating. So if you are interested, you too can start making beautiful cakes!
Many people come to Israel with the perception that it's not easy here. Lee'at suggests to come with the attitude that this isn't like your home country -- it's not the UK, it's not America. Change your mindset.
Lee'at uses her three children as an example -- she is so proud of their accomplishments. All of them were born here. She has put them through school with Israelis, and both of their parents are English, yet they have adapted to both cultures. They showed such resilience, especially during Corona pandemic. Life becomes a lot easier, and you begin to find opportunities! Lee'at was a lawyer before, but she has always been creative. She is able to express herself in Israel completely differently. Being willing to adapt and accept is key. Don't expect Israel to adapt to you. We all came here because were drawn towards Israel. Find your peace and where you fit in here.