Updated: Jul 8, 2021
Aliyah Date: December 2016
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Current City: Givatayim
Sometimes our Aliyah story doesn’t turn out as glamorous and perfect as we may have dreamed. Sometimes there are so many twists and turns, ups and downs, and uphill battles until we finally find our place here in Israel. But more often than not, the journey was well worth it.
For Joe Rubinstein, Aliyah led him on a long journey of self-discovery and true fulfillment.
Joe came to Israel in December 2016, hailing from the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. Joe had a good job working at a school in New York, but was not happy. He was looking for meaning, and knew he needed a change. Israel had always been on his mind, from the language and the people, to the feeling it gave him. So, he picked up and came to Israel as a madrich for a Birthright trip, and spent the next few months traveling around this beautiful country seeing if he can see himself living there. Still with many doubts, Joe decided to take the leap, make Aliyah, and learn Hebrew at an ulpan on a kibbutz up north.
He may not have known where it would ever lead him, but something was guiding him, and Joe chose to trust that inner voice, one step at a time.
After ulpan, Joe settled down in Givatayim, and spent a few years working at different sales and customer support jobs, trying to find his passion, but was filled with emptiness. He knew deep down that he wasn’t actualizing his fullest potential, and was struggling with his mental health as a result. With anxiety and panic attacks creeping up on him, Joe knew he needed to make a change. With the help of a bright therapist, Joe started making some changes. He bought a motorcycle, adopted a dog, and started searching for more meaningful things to add to his life.
Joe knew the importance of SPORT so began to try and get back into shape. He hired a personal trainer to come to his place, but wasn’t happy as he found it boring. So he started opening up to new ideas.
It was around then that he found Acro yoga, and finally Joe began to come to life.
You may have seen acroyoga enthusiasts in parks or beaches all over Israel, flying in the air, balancing on each other, and doing some pretty cool tricks. In case you didn’t know, Israel has the biggest and strongest acroyoga community in the world. The Facebook group alone has over 12k people.
What's magical about acroyoga is it's a sport that’s for everyone! It's a sport that you “play” with another person and it's based on communication and working together. There is a base (on the bottom) and a flyer (on the top). Having fun, interacting with another person, trying to find the balance in the sport, Joe immediately fell in love.
“Acroyoga is a sport, but with other people! It requires a lot of human connection and communication between bodies for it to work. The Acro world gave me the community and connections I was looking for this whole time. And it gave me my passion! So many olim move here with no community and no passion to drive them. It is so important to find a support system and community”
On top of all that, for Joe, it was the community he found that made it so magical.
Joe began dedicating hours a day learning, practicing, and experimenting with acroyoga, and after a little over a year, he finally left his job to pursue his dreams! Slowly but surely his business took off. He began teaching some classes in Tel Aviv, workshops abroad throughout Europe, and opened up different Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to spreading the sport.. Joe is known to be the best in Israell in Icarian, where you throw the flyer and catch her (hopefully). How impressive!
As Covid19 began, Joe jumped on the opportunity to begin teaching classes full time in Isreal, and with time, his business skyrocketed. Today, Joe has a studio with over 200 students and offers 8 classes a week! Not only is he more successful than ever before, but he is happier. Thankfully, Joe no longer struggles with anxiety the way he used to, and has found ways to feel whole and healthy.
What is Joe’s advice to future olim?
“Your own wellbeing is super important and you must work to take care of it. It is so important to find things that you want & like to do. So many olim settle for careers that don’t leave them fulfilled. It may take time, and effort, but don’t settle for anything less than your dream!”
Finding a community is a big one for Joe. Moving across the world to a new country can be pretty lonely, and can be the make it or break it factor in your success!
Find things you love, go towards things that make you feel alive. Try hobbies that force interaction, that come with a built-in community and togetherness!
So many new olim come to Israel, only to find themselves stuck in survival mode, without ever fully relaxing, and enjoying their new life.
“What so many of us don’t realize is that we can all make the changes and take control of our lives. We can choose. Be brave, and be willing to follow your passion. Invest in the things that you love, and your life will slowly build.”
As someone who went through the downs before the ups, Joe knows how worthwhile it is to keep pushing forward, to never give up.
Joe’s is the story of the Aliyah dream. It may not look like your classic fairytale, but it is most definitely magical.
Interested in working with Joe?
Follow him on Instagram at “AcroByJoe” to check out his amazing work, and be in touch at 0559902641