Natasha & Rafi
We, both Rafi and Natasha, were born in Miami, Florida, on October 9, 1983. This wasn’t planned, but it turned out just fine. We also went to the same elementary school, a small Jewish day school in south Miami. No, we weren’t elementary school sweethearts or anything. In fact we never said more than two words to each other in 6 years because we were both shy nerds.
Natasha was the first to make the move to Israel. She grew up in the Young Judaea Zionist youth movement and her connection to Israel grew as time passed. After spending a year in the Jewish State, she realized something very simple: As a member of the Jewish nation, she had to return home. Our people have been praying and dreaming of our return to the Holy Land ever since the Roman expulsion, and now we can just go. For free. As easy as that is, God doesn’t make decisions for anyone, so she decided, on her own steam, to leave her birthplace for the Promised Land.
Meanwhile, Rafi was studying in New York. He always wanted to move to Israel but never had the courage to do it alone. One day, on Israel’s 59th Independence Day, he got an email. It was this girl from elementary school. She was kind of cute. An email exchange started, followed a few months later by Rafi getting an El Al plane ticket. The rest, as they say, is Jewish history.
We became “settlers” as they call us, simply because we were looking for a nice suburban area that we could afford, with people we could get along with and share a community. It only took a pilot weekend to decide we wanted to put down roots in Samaria, the Shomron. We’re here because God gave this land to us and we have a Divine responsibility to live on it.
Rafi writes the content for Settlers of Samaria. And just as Moses wrote about himself in the third person in the Bible, Rafi emulates Biblical heroes by doing the same. He’s a marketing manager. Natasha is an English and gymnastics teacher.
Tzivia was born on June 1 2010. She’s a baby, and as of yet does not know where she lives. But she eats a lot of food, that’s for sure.
(Rafi did not write this part. His footnotes are in italics.)
Hi! We’re Baron and Alix and we were both born in the UK! Baron was born in England and I was born in Glasgow, Scotland!
(The “Barixes” are not their real last names. They were given that name by Rafi when he just met them and didn’t remember their last names, but did remember that they were Baron and Alix, so he called them the Barixes. They kept the name. Rafi suspects they’ll have it legally changed soon.)
We grew up in what can only be described as the most tamest of tame environments, we wonder now if that could have been the inspiration to move to the biggest jungle of them all- The Land of Israel!
At the young age of 19, we both came to Israel- Baron served in the Golani fighting unit in the Israeli Defense Forces and Alix learned Hebrew in Jerusalem. Our paths crossed several times before eventually deciding we were destined to be here together when we accidentally met on the first day of University!
We love Judea and Samaria…. and our little boy Gidon- who is one year old!
(Gidon is quiet and likes playing with Tzivia’s toy cow. Tzivia doesn’t mind.)
Moshe & Suzy
The family so far consists of Moshe, Suzy, and little Aaron. Moshe moved to the Holy Land at the age of 3 and grew up with his British family in Raanana.
(Moshe is the brawn behind Settlers of Samaria. He speaks fluently, but because he moved to Israel when he was 3, he can’t spell so well. So Rafi fixes everything. Rafi moved to Israel when he was 24, so his spelling is fine.)
After completing the army and religious studies (yeshiva) he is now trained to teach magic and circus arts to kids all around the country. (Moshe does not, as of yet, own a Samarian circus elephant.) He has a strong passion for the Holy Land and what it means to be a Jew and to live here.
Suzy, his wife, moved to the Holy Land only 3 years ago, after feeling for some years that she could never quite fit in anywhere else in the world. She now works in marketing in the center of the country and in her (very little) spare time, loves to read and go for long walks. (There is no beach here. We’re in Samaria.) Although she has adapted to a lot of the traditions and customs, she makes sure to keep a steady stream of English tea available in the house so she never completely loses touch with her roots.
Sweet little Aaron has learned a lot of important lessons so far- like how to laugh, walk, play and most of all, how to make sure his parents never have a moment to get bored! He is the reason we want to build foundations here. He is our future. (Rafi is worried.)