Who Knows Where Your Path Will Lead You                             

“Coming to America offered me opportunities to further my education…”

Noa K.

David Shichor: Immigrated from Hungary

December 16, 2019

He takes off his glasses and sits on the couch. His back is slightly hunched, and his hands are folded over his legs. He smiles at me. His eyes crease in the corners, gentle. My grandfather is the wisest man I know. He begins to talk. I realize I can only understand about half of his English through his intensely thick Hungarian accent. Only when he starts to speak in Hebrew, can I fully understand him. He’s more animated when he makes the switch. It’s evident that he’s more expressive and fluent in Hebrew.

As he begins to recount the story of a 14-year-old boy forced to escape a war-torn country, he makes eye contact with me, his voice trailing off at the end of his sentences.  I wonder if he is reliving the fear that he may have felt sneaking onto a crowded boat in the middle of the night, having to say goodbye to his parents, not knowing if he would ever see them again.  He smiles as he remembers friends he made when he arrived and odd jobs he had. He tells me how he had made it through college in Israel only to realize he didn’t know what to do when he was done. “Sounds like kids these days who finish college and don’t know what to do.” he says playfully shrugging his shoulders.

An offer came from a Rabbi to come to America to teach Hebrew at his Temple.  It wasn’t his plan. He didn’t how that decision would change his life. This allowed him to pursue graduate school while he was in America.

He hesitates for a moment, his lips purse as he lets a deep breath out. He looks at me and grins, pulling my hand into his. “The idea was always to return to Israel but coming to America offered me opportunities to further my education.”