My MMY~Where Are They Now?

Batya Cohen (MMY 5772) and Orit (Levi) Sinclair (MMY 5764)

This time, our alumnae profile is of two women - Oritt (Levi) Sinclair (MMY 5764)(Left) and Batya Cohen (MMY 5762) (Right) - who have each made Aliya and have built successful lives and careers here in Israel.
Though she grew up in Perth, Australia, Oritt knew she wanted to make Aliya since a family vacation in Israel at age 10. After spending two years learning in seminary, Oritt’s Aliya plans became more concrete. “I was overcome with emotion and knowledge that I needed to be in Israel now because it is my home, the place I am happiest, the place I am meant to be and where Am Yisrael is meant to be,” Oritt shared. After officially making Aliya, Oritt was a madricha in MMY for 2 years and an assistentit for one year. Concurrently, she studied accounting in Machon Tal, a religious women’s college in Yerushalayim. She is now finishing her internship to become a CPA.
Thankfully, the challenges Oritt faced going to college in Hebrew and developing a career in a new country were minimal, and she met them with optimism. “Studying in Hebrew was surprisingly fine, and now, most accounting terms I only know in Hebrew! It took willpower to start my career and life here without having the language and contacts and family, but it is doable- if you will it.” She found her job (where she has been working for a few years now) on an Israeli employment website.
Three years ago, Oritt met and married Yonatan Sinclair, a British-Israeli educator. They live in Katamon, in Yerushalayim, and they are still friends with many of Oritt’s classmates from MMY. In fact, Oritt is part of the new Monday night shiur series at MMY for adult women. Oritt and Yonatan gave birth to their first son, Akiva, in July of this year.
Batya Cohen similarly decided to stay in Israel after her year in MMY (5764). She spent a year doing Sheirut Leumi, figuring that it would be a great way to learn Hebrew, and learn about and contribute to Israeli society. Little did she know how much of an effect it would have on the rest of her life. Her Sheirut ended up being at Laniado Hospital in Netanya, in the delivery room. “I fell in love with the delivery room,” Batya said, “I realized that when I stood there, in a room where a new life was joining the world, I didn’t want to stand anywhere else.” Seeing how much she loved the work during her 8 months of volunteering, Batya decided to pursue midwifery as a career, with the goal of choosing for a career something she feels very passionate about. “I got really excited when I realized my parents named me Batya Chaya, which felt prophetic.”
Batya tackled the bureaucratic system and started nursing school at Hebrew University the next year. “It was a shockingly smooth acceptance,” Batya pointed out, “And I must say, of all the courses I took at Hebrew University, Ulpan was the hardest. For a little while I didn’t speak, then people thought I was French, but by the time the four years were up I was fluent and aside from the periodic faux pas that make Aliya exciting, the language is no longer an issue.”
After becoming a nurse, Batya worked for three years in pediatrics, and then started her studies to be a midwife at Tel Aviv University. By October of 2010 she started working as a midwife in Hadassa Ein Karem. It is a very challenging job, the hours are crazy, the demands are physically, mentally, and spiritually challenging for Batya. But, as she says, “I am so blessed to be doing a job I love and to be an active participant in the daily miracles I see. I always wonder what impact the words I whisper to these new babies has. But I find that I often say, ‘Welcome sweet baby, we were waiting for you.’”
In an uncanny statistical anomaly, Batya has actually been fortunate to deliver the babies of 4 MMY talmidot!  One of those, was her close friend, Oritt.
Oritt and Batya became friends when they were madrichot together at MMY for two years. Since then their friendship has grown, and they have become more like family. Additionally, they have a weekly chavruta, which they started when they were madrichot together, that they still keep up.  Batya accompanied Oritt through her pregnancy from early on, and was thrilled to be invited to her birth. “One of the greatest pleasures, and weighty responsibilities, I have in the delivery room,” continued Batya, “is the opportunity to help a friend through labor. I know it can be very calming for a woman to have a familiar face during this intimidating and uncharted process, so I am thrilled when I can relieve a layer of stress and be a part of the care-taking team for people I know and love.” Oritt fully trusted Batya, and felt lucky to have such a good friend be with her during this time. “On the day I went into labor (5 weeks early), she was calming, caring and professional,” Oritt said, “I could be calm because I trusted completely that her priority was my and Akiva's wellbeing.”
This was truly a unique and special experience for both Batya and Oritt, and we wish both of them and their families Mazal Tov and hatzlacha in continuing to strengthen their roots in Eretz Yisrael!

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