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Sisters win video contest on how Israel inspires

Story of family’s aliyah journey in poetic prose yields $8,000 prize

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

A poetic video exploration made by two sisters about their decision to live in Israel won the $8,000 first prize in an “Inspired by Israel” contest hosted by the Israel Video Network.

Called “Olah Chadasha” (“New Immigrant”), the video was made by sisters Sivan Felder and Batsheva Shachnovitz, and shows Shachnovitz, a twelfth-grade high school student, walking through Jerusalem, in the Mahane Yehuda market, past Yad Vashem and Mt. Herzl, at a bus stop where soldiers wait.

In the video, it is Shachnovitz’s voice reading the words that her sister wrote, using simple, expressive language to describe their feelings of safety and comfort in Israel.

The sisters’ video, and the other winning videos in the contest, are love letters to Israel, whether showing off Israel’s innovations in Africa, its athletes, or the daily lives of regular Israelis, with Israeli soldiers featuring prominently in many of them.

Judges chose the winners from the 10 submissions with the most votes garnered during a 10-day period of public voting hosted on the Israel Video Network.

A total of $20,000 in cash prizes was awarded to the winning videos, sponsored by the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation in partnership with the 12Tribe Films Foundation.

The sisters, originally from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, moved to Israel five years ago with their mother and two brothers, after their father passed away.

Sivan Felder, whose video about her family's aliyah won the top prize at a recent competition (Courtesy Sivan Felder)
Sivan Felder, whose video about her family’s aliyah won the top prize at a recent competition (Courtesy Sivan Felder)

Felder, who is 26, and married with two small children, works for a production company and produced the video while on maternity leave.

“I wanted to get my sister involved and thought she would be a good voice for our story, since, as a teenager, she has been the most affected by our move,” she said.

Their father was Israeli, and Felder and her siblings grew up involved in Zionist organizations, but wanted to live in Israel.

“Shev and I decided we wanted to tell our story,” said Felder, who wrote the video’s poem and filmed her sister. “Over the years we’ve spoken to so many people about making aliyah, and we realized that despite the fact that it definitely is very hard, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

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