My name is Shimrit Keddem.
INTERVIEWED BY Aneeza Agha x 3


DEPARTED FROM
Hod Hasharon, Israel

ARRIVED IN
Leominster, Massachusetts

YEAR
1988

AGE
12

NOW LIVES IN
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

COLLECTED BY

What brought you to the United States?

My parents decided to leave Israel when I was 11 years old. They were both immigrants to Israel and had lived there for seventeen years. After having children, they realized that they did not want to raise their children in a country with so much political conflict. Because my mother is American, we came to the US.

What mode of transportation did you take?

I flew with my mother, sister, and brother, but my father stayed behind to take care of remaining business and say goodbye to his family (who all stayed in Israel). He brought our dog with him.

Who met you / what were the circumstances when you arrived?

We landed in Boston Massachusetts in April 1988, one of the closest international airports to my mother’s family in Massachusetts. We didn’t have a permanent place to live at first, so my mother, brother, sister, and I all stayed in our uncle’s basement. We stayed there for several weeks until my father arrived. Because we arrived in the middle of the school year, we needed to find somewhere to go to school. My cousins all attended an Orthodox Jewish private day school in a nearby town, so we joined them at school to finish out the school year. I remember feeling very uncomfortable at this school because of how strictly religious it was. I had to wear long skirts to school and there was a lot prayer with which I was not familiar. English was also relatively new to me. My immediate family and I spoke only Hebrew to each other when we arrived, though we had some foundation in English. My mother was fluent in English since she grew up in the US. In retrospect, our first few weeks in the US were very hectic and stressful. I remember my father arriving a few weeks after us and immediately deciding that we needed to move out of the basement accommodations. We eventually moved to a temporary apartment nearby and then to the town where my parents still live today.


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