Be’er Sheva Proves to be Fertile Ground for Love

Arie Levy, Director of Federation CJA’s Israel and Overseas Division in Be’er Sheva, speaks to Tikun Olam about love, Jewish identity, and community.

Arie & Ruth Levy

Tikun Olam (TO): Hi Arie, thanks so much for speaking with us.  You and your wife have a beautiful relationship. Can you share your love story with our readers?

Arie Levy (AL): Our story is one of the Montreal Jewish Community. When Ruth and I met, I was a professional, Director of Centre Hillel and she was a volunteer, Chair of Campus Division at Federation CJA. In Purim of 2002, at a big event that was organized by Hillel, FedNext and BIEC at the Gare Windsor, downtown, we were introduced by a mutual friend. That’s when we met, a week later we started dating, a year later engaged, then married and made aliyah to Israel together!

(TO): How did you know she was the one for you?

(AL): That first night when we met and felt we should go out, I asked her for her phone number in a very atypical way. I told her that I was part of a group of friends making aliyah a year later to Be’er Sheva (Montreal’s partnership region in Israel) and asked her if she would join that group. I didn’t want to start a relationship in Montreal if I had intentions to move to Israel. So she heard about this crazy dream of mine, and without hesitating, responded she would definitely join.

(TO):  That’s beautiful! Can you tell us a little about your lives today?

(AL): Both Ruth and I were very involved in the Jewish Community in Montreal. Today, as Director of Israel and Overseas / Israel Office of FCJA, I have the privilege of witnessing how impactful our work is in Israel. Both Ruth and myself are involved in our children’s’ school, our synagogue and other causes in our community. On a more personal level, I cannot talk about our lives today without mentioning our children. Our pride and joy is our five beautiful daughters: Ayelet (9), Noa (6), Nili (4), Tehila (3) and Liora (1).

(TO): Why is your relationship successful?

(AL): I think because we shared and still share common ideals. We moved to Israel together and with a group of friends to Be’er Sheva. We decided to stay here together, and live our common ideals while exploring the balance between the Jewish People, the Jewish Land and the Jewish Values. Antoine de Saint Exupery wrote: “L’expérience nous montre qu’aimer ce n’est point nous regarder l’un l’autre mais regarder ensemble dans la même direction : Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

Arie & Ruth Levy’s five daughters at home in Israel.

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