|Ad designed by a cousin|
Dina Lustiger and Ilan Davidovics really, really hope you’ll vote for them in a contest to win a $10,000 grant toward making their future home in Israel.
The engaged couple is one of eight pairs of Israel-bound U.S. lovebirds taking part in the Wedding Gift Challenge (http://thisismyisrael.com/Contests/WG), an online competition sponsored by Nefesh B’Nefesh, a Paramus-based organization that facilitates aliyah from North America and Britain.
|Dina Lustiger and Ilan Davidovics|
“We will be getting married this summer and hope to move to Israel a few weeks after our wedding,” Lustiger wrote to the Jewish Standard. She is from Teaneck; Davidovics is from Englewood.
“For a young couple like us to win a $10,000 grant would be a tremendous help as we start our lives together. We are currently behind the first-place [contestants] by about 600 votes and we need to do something drastic if we are going to have any chance of winning.”
According to the rules, contestants must either have been married on or after January 1, 2011, or be married before they make aliyah by December 31, 2013. Through June 30, the public may vote for entrants via their official contest profiles. Sorry, only one vote per email address is allowed.
Aside from the single grand prize, Nefesh B’Nefesh also is offering cumulative prizes of a $1,000 IKEA Israel shopping spree to every couple earning 300 or more votes, a private Israeli vineyard tour and dinner for those garnering at least 150 votes, and a $50 gift certificate toward a 220-volt appliance to couples earning at least 50 votes on their contest profile.
The couple that gets the most votes in the Wedding Gift Challenge will win all these prizes. Davidovics and Lustiger already have the other three in the bag.
Following their wedding in Teaneck, they will be starting a job in August as house parents at Yeshivat Shaarei Mevaseret Zion, outside Jerusalem. This is the gap-year yeshiva Davidovics attended for two years following high school. He now is youth director at Teaneck’s Congregation Arzei Darom.
Davidovics is graduating from Yeshiva University’s Yeshiva College with a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew, while his bride graduated from YU’s Stern College for Women last year as a music major.
According to the contest entry they wrote together, they met on April 5, 2012, in Times Square, where they were participating in an annual YU-sponsored musical program in tribute to Israel. Davidovics proposed publicly at this year’s event on March 18.
“We can’t imagine any better place that we could have met. Ilan has been involved in [international religious Zionist youth movement] Bnei Akiva for his entire life, and Dina has considered her true home to be in Israel for as long as she can remember,” they wrote. “It means so much to us that we have been able to make Israel such an integral part of our relationship and our lives and we can’t wait to make our home there.”
Lustiger read about the contest on Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Facebook page. They were eager to put their hats in the ring for the grand prize.
“We’re not sure if it’s a grant toward something, or cash,” she said. “Assuming it’s cash, it would cover furnishing our apartment. Mevaseret is giving us money toward rent, but we will probably have to buy appliances.”
Davidovics added that they believe starting married life in Israel without debt would be ideal. Both cite the relative lack of materialism in Israel, along with the child-centered culture, as primary reasons they want to raise a family in the Jewish state. “We know that if we don’t do it now, it might not happen until we retire,” Davidovics said.
They are the only couple from New Jersey in the competition so far. The others come from Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, and New York.
“It’s been a little weird, having strangers coming up to us and saying they saw us on Facebook, but it’s worth it,” Lustiger said.