“I reached the conclusion that I needed to make aliyah in order to realize my Jewish side, and to discover my legacy,” Alama said. “I love Hawaii, but I realized that Judaism is a central part of my existence and Jews need to live in Israel.”
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Alama, 21, is the daughter of a Jewish mother from Virginia and a non-Jewish father. Her parents met in Hawaii, and there she has been living her whole life. Her mother has relatives in Los Angeles, and it was there, Alama said, that she first experienced the Jewish holidays. But this was not enough for her.
“I came to the conclusion that I wanted more. I wanted to learn more about my Jewish identity,” she said. “As much as I’ve spent my life on the beaches of Hawaii, I feel that I missed the connection to Judaism and to Israel. I decided that I wanted to make aliyah and to realize my Jewish identity, and also try to play professional ball in Israel.”
Alama, who is 6’1”, also has a warm spot in her heart for Israeli basketball. Over the last few years, she played college basketball in the US, for the University of California, Northridge. Now she is slated to join Elitzur Holon’s professional women’s team, with the hope of reaching her dream of playing for the Israeli national team.
Hawaii is home to approximately 7,000 Jews. “It’s not every day that a new oleh from far-off Hawaii lands in Israel," said Erez Halfon, vice chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh, which is assisting Alama in her aliyah preparations. "Violet is a talented basketball player and I have no doubt that the State of Israel will see her wearing the national uniform and successfully representing us.”
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