Jerusalem-born American woman makes Aliyah at 101

Stellah Rokoff says she is proud to call Israel her home, after leaving it as a little girl in 1920s; looks forward to reuniting with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren already residing in the country

Itamar Eichner|
One-hundred and one-year-old United States resident Stella Rokoff became the oldest person in the past five years to make Aliyah to Israel.
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  • Stella was born in Jerusalem in 1921 and left with her family to the U.S. when she was five years old. Now, 96 years later, she has returned to her place of birth accompanied by her daughter and son-in law.
    Stella Rokoff makes Aliyah at 101
    (Shai Getzoff, courtesy of Nefesh B'Nefesh)
    Rokoff says she is fulfilling a life-long dream, and is most looking forward to reuniting with grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who are already living in Israel.
    She presents her birth certificate issued in Mandatory Palestine in 1921 - written in Hebrew, English and Arabic.
    Rokoff's family settled in Brooklyn upon their arrival to the U.S.. After marrying Rabbi Herman Rokoff in 1940, she moved to Pennsylvania, where her husband led a local Jewish community, and the couple's four children were born.
    2 View gallery
    סטלה רוקוף עם תעודת הלידה מפלשתינה
    סטלה רוקוף עם תעודת הלידה מפלשתינה
    Stella Rokoff
    (Photo: Shai Getzoff)
    After she was named the secretary of the Rabbinical Council of America's board of directors, she and her family returned to New York and settled in Manhattan.
    In that role, she had worked closely with American Jewish religious leaders, and was involved in the preparation of the council's annual conferences as well as the cooperation with institutions inside Israel. That career, she says, kept her close to her Jewish and Israeli roots.
    With the help of the "Nefesh B'Nefesh" organization, and in cooperation with the Absorption Ministry, the Jewish Agency, and JNF-USA - Stella Rokoff along with her daughter Ilene and son in law Michael - joined 60 other immigrants on a flight to Israel.
    2 View gallery
    סטלה רוקוף, שעלתה בגיל 101, מוקפת בנכדים, נינים ואף בני נינים החיים בישראל, שבאו לקבל את פניה
    סטלה רוקוף, שעלתה בגיל 101, מוקפת בנכדים, נינים ואף בני נינים החיים בישראל, שבאו לקבל את פניה
    Stella Rokoff being greeted by her family upon arrvival in Israel
    (Photo: Shai Getzoff)
    Rokoff says that when she left Israel, the Jewish state was no more than an idea. Now, seeing the Israel become a leading player on the world stage in many fields, she says she is proud to call it her home.
    With over 20 close family members in Israel, Rokoff says that what she was most looking forward to was seeing her grandchildren and great grandchildren - who were on hand to greet her at Ben Gurion Airport.
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