Living in Israel: A Conversation with Grizzy Miller
Born in Cuba and raised in Florida, Grizzy Miller and her husband moved to Israel in 2010 and settled in Jerusalem, only a short drive from three of their children and many of their grandchildren. Today, Grizzy runs her Florida-based pediatric home medical equipment company from Israel, and also serves as a JWRP Momentum Bus Leader. Grizzy shared with us what she hears each morning when she opens her windows and what it’s like to live around the corner from the Machane Yehuda market.
Tell us about your journey to Israel.
My husband and I have wanted to live in Israel since we got married 44 years ago. We lived in Israel for a year when our children were teenagers, but the country was so different in 1988. It took eight months just to get a phone installed in our home! Now, it’s possible to be 100% connected within minutes of landing in Israel. Once our children moved out of our home in Florida, my husband and I created a five-year plan to move back to Israel, and thank G-d, everything worked out. Today, Israel is an exciting place to live, filled with growth, amazing technological advancements, and best of all, a sense of family. People care for one another and for their country in ways I’ve never experienced before.
What is it like to live in Jerusalem?
We live in Nachlaot, which is home to people from many different communities. My neighbors are seventh-generation Jerusalemites, Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, Haredi families, and recent college graduates. There are tons of opportunities for great conversations on the street. Our apartment is in the center of Jerusalem, and a short walk from the Machane Yehuda outdoor market. I know all of the merchants, as well as where you can get the best potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers — and they are all in different places! I find myself in the market about two to three times a day. My husband jokes that we don’t even need a refrigerator anymore.
When we first moved to Jerusalem seven years ago, I thought that eventually, the city would become humdrum to me. But it hasn’t. In fact, my connection to Jerusalem has only grown stronger.
What are some special things about your day-to-day life in Israel?
Every season in Israel has its own special character. During the current Jewish month of Elul, the shofar is blown each morning. There are 80 synagogues in our small neighborhood, and when I open my window, I hear the sound of shofars. It is very moving. Nachlaot is also filled with plaques that tell the individual histories of different families who once lived where we live today. Even when I’m simply picking up milk from the market, I feel a sense of history. Another wonderful part of our life is seeing so many of our grandchildren every week. They live a short bus ride from us and love to stop by.
As an American living Israel, what have you had to adapt to?
Learning Hebrew has been challenging. I have not gone to an Ulpan (an immersive Hebrew course) because I’m too busy with work. But I do know basic Hebrew from school, and I practice speaking Hebrew on the street. Israelis often answer me in English, but I still think I’m doing alright. In Israel, preparations for Shabbat begin on Wednesday, so I spend a lot of time cooking. We love having guests. I also walk a lot more than I ever did in Florida. There is always so much to see in the streets. Aside from that, I haven’t had to adapt to much — except maybe a slightly harsher winter than we experienced in Florida.
What are some ways that JWRP sisters can continue to engage with Israel?
Bring your family to Israel and send your kids on trips to Israel. I recommended reading Israeli media outlets, like The Jerusalem Post or The Times of Israel, to get the full story of what’s happening on the ground. Get involved in Israeli organizations that support causes that are meaningful to you.