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Shari Arison

66

the divorce, I moved to Israel on my own and lived for six months with my uncle and cousin until my mother joined me. I lived in Israel until I was twelve, and after my bat mitzvah I returned to Miami and lived there until I was seventeen. During all those years, I traveled back and forth between Israel and the United States, all of the time. I had friends here and there—in both worlds.

Despite the fact that I only had one more semester before graduating from high school, I decided to come back to Israel, take my matriculation exams, and enlist in the army. This move was very important to me because I felt that life was more meaningful in Israel. When I left the army, I traveled to Miami, thinking that I was coming for a vacation—to go out and have a good time, enjoy myself, and then come back to Israel—but I did not have the money to return, and my father refused to pay for the ticket. I had already worked at a fast food restaurant at age thirteen to earn my allowance, so I knew that I would have to make do on my own. Therefore, I immediately started to work. But then I met my future husband, got married, had children, and found myself staying in Miami for the next sixteen years of my life.

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