Living in Atlanta and in need of a change in 2014, I decided to finally pursue Masa’s Israel Teaching Fellows program, which I knew I wanted to do for two whole years prior. My life trajectory suddenly changed dramatically when I filled out the paperwork and was accepted into the Rishon program for 2015. Being a native of Atlanta and alumna of the University of Georgia, I never knew if I would make Aliyah since my entire life was in Georgia. But now, with the opportunity to live in Israel for ten months, I could really get a sense of what living in Israel was like.

Fast forward to my Masa program, and I was loving my Israeli life. I was traveling all around the country whenever I was able, and I had made a lot of friends. In fact, I enjoyed my time so much that after my program ended, I went back to Atlanta for a year and then decided to take a leap of faith and make Aliyah!

Now that I was living in Israel permanently, I downloaded Tinder on a whim one day, and swiped right on a cute guy’s Tinder profile. How was I supposed to know that with just the mere act of swiping my finger, I had just connected with the love of my life, Yuval? After a few months of dating, Yuval and I knew that our love was anything but fleeting, and just one year after meeting, we were engaged. Our engagement lasted a quick nine months before we got married in July 2019 at Alma in Even Yehuda, and we now live happily in the same city we fell in love in: Tel Aviv.

Rachael Bar-Hai is a Masa alum of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, a program with Israel Experience.

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