May 18, 2011
The class of 1961's Roya Sitkoff has lived in Israel since she graduated nearly 50 years ago
Roya Aviva Sitkoff Harel spent her youth in Levittown, but soon after graduating from Division Avenue High School in 1961, she moved to Israel and has been there nearly 50 years.
Although they are not indigenous to Israel, her pet is an iguana (see photo). According to Roya, "They live in the tropics and Mexico and the larger ones are eaten like chicken. They make great pets, don't make any noise and mine even got used to being cuddled."
The other photo is Roya with her grandson Ely, now 13, taken six years ago. Her fascinating story follows:
By ROYA SITKOFF HAREL '61
During high school I was very active in the Young Judea Zionist youth movement and always knew that when I finished school I was going to live in Israel. I attended the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem but when I married my husband who was serving in the Israel Air Force we had to relocate to an Air Force base far from Jerusalem.
I have two children - my daughter Mickey and her husband have three boys who are 23, 19 and 17 years old and live in a town in the center of the country not far from me.
My son Noam and his family live in Minneapolis where he holds a faculty position in neurosurgery and radiology at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research affiliated with the Medical School of the University of Minnesota. If you Google “Noam Harel” you can get an idea of the scope of his research.
I worked for many years as the office manager of a law office and then for an international hedge fund but had to stop working when my husband’s illness was diagnosed. My husband Nissim passed away five years ago after 44 wonderful years together.
I have never regretted coming to live in Israel even though life here is very different than in the United States. Here our security matters are paramount and the country has gone through three wars in the past 50 years. The prospect of living peacefully with the neighboring countries seems impossible as the Arab countries surrounding Israel are becoming more belligerent and continue to deny the legitimacy of our country. Only time will tell if we will ever achieve normalcy.
Roya Aviva Sitkoff Harel can be found on Facebook, along with more than 100 other early Division Avenue High School graduates.