From little Luxembourg to the IDF – Journeys

Host Rogel Alpher meets Emmanuel Heymann, a 26-year-old Luxembourgian with a fascinating story to tell.

Rogel Alpher with new ‘olah’ Meredith Ross – Journeys

Meredith Ross’s biological parents gave her up for adoption and chose to give her a Jewish home. She chose to take it further and made aliyah to Israel.

Rogel Alpher with ‘plastic cartoonist’ Hanoch Piven – Journeys

It took Uruguay-born Hanoch Piven a while, and a few trips abroad, to realize that Israel is his true home, despite his initial – and protracted – feeling of alienation.

Rogel Alpher with artist Hanoch Piven – Journeys

Ernesto Piven was 11 years old when he moved to Israel and became Hanoch. Initially feeling like an outsider, he began drawing caricatures. Eventually he moved to New York and achieved international success as an illustrator and caricaturist. But something was missing…

Rogel Alpher with Yossi Peled – Journeys



In order to protect him during WWII, Major General (res) and former politician Yossi Peled’s parents sent him to a Christian foster family in Belgium where he was brought up Catholic until the age of eight. When his mother returned for him, his entire identity transformed overnight. His mother was not well following the war and he ended up alone in an orphanage in Antwerpen. He arrived to Israel in a boat of 300 children and lived with his uncle in Negba Kibbutz.
During Yom Kippur War he was serving in the Israeli Defense Forces as commander of the reservist 205th Armored Brigade that moved from Jerusalem to the Golan Heights and engaged the Syrian Army on the northern front.
Towards the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Yossi Peled discusses the state of Israel’s security: “Israel has not only the right to protect itself as any other nation, it is a historical obligation. We are the only Jewish state around the world… Whatever the price is we must make this country exist forever, this is the house of the Jewish nation.”
Peled currently serves as the Chairman of the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co.



אל תשליכני לעת זקנה
השריון שישים ותשע
אנא בכח

Rogel Alpher With Pamela Neilson (California) – Journeys



After her parents separated, Pamela Neilson was put under the care of her father, who ultimately chose her stepmother over her when the choice was forced upon him. Dealing with abuse throughout her life, she found that religion both comforted and empowered her, and became an Evangelical Christian.
Neilson and her husband set up “Fly-in,” a bed and breakfast that also became a place to study the Bible. A chain of events led her to uproot her entire family and move to Israel, embracing her Jewish heritage. Her story is one of rejection, rebirth and redemption.


The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreaming
The Beach Boys – California Girls
Carole King – You’ve Got A Friend
Alan Jackson – Chattahoochee
Tim McGraw – Down On The Farm
Martina McBride – Anyway
Ofra Haza – Yerushalayim Shel Zahav

Rogel Alpher With Meir Javedanfar (Iran) – Journeys



Born in 1973 to a Jewish family in Tehran, Iran, Meir Javedanfar was forced to leave his country at a young age. At the age of 32, after having made Aliyah, Javedanfar became a commentator of Foreign Affairs at BBC Persian. Within a year, he set up his own Middle East analysis company.


Bros – When Will I Be Famous
Queen – Hammer To Fall
Ethnix – BMW Shchora
Osú – Radio Tarifa

“Journeys” – Rogel Alpher with Henry Foner (Wales)



Originally from Berlin, Germany, Henry Foner was born as Heinz Lichtwitz. When he was just six years old, he was sent on the British ‘Kindertransport’ program to live in a foster home in Wales. After making Aliyah in 1968, he began working at the Geological Survey. In May of 2013, he published a memoir book titled Postcards to a Little Boy.


Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau –  Morriston Orpheus
Vera Lynn – Bless ‘Em All
On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at
Kathleen Ferrier  – What Is Life?
Yehudit Ravitz  – Assif
Arik Einstein  – Oof Gozal

“Journeys” – Rogel Alpher with Ion Braun (Greece)



Ion Braun grew up with a Greek father and an Israeli mother. After experiencing an identity crisis, he decided to define himself as a Jew. This is his story.

Νατάσα Θεοδωρίδου – Τις Δύσκολες Στιγμές
Gaya – Yachad
Stratos Dionisiou – O Salonikios
Eleytheria Arvanitaki – Tsifteteli Tourkiko


Photo by Bongo Vongo, Flickr