It was 1882 when Reuven Lerer met Risler, who had come from Germany to Odessa. Risler told Reuven about the land he owned in Wadi Hanin that was "close to Jerusalem". Reuven liked the idea and with a handshake the two gentlemen traded their lands. Risler now owned Lerer's land in Odessa (20,000 dunams), and Lerer was given Wadi Hanin (2,000 dunams). Reuven Lerer then took his son Moshe and they immigrated to Israel in order to see their new land. Reuven was greatly disappointed seeing the land he had purchased was not so "close to Jerusalem".

But a religious Jew like Reuven would not despair, and so with the help of his son, they began the restoration of the dilapidated khan, the well with the antilia which had been leaning sideways, the destroyed water reservoir, and the neglected orchard. After a year working on the land's restoration, Reuven Lerer left his son Moshe in Wadi Hanin and sailed to Odessa to bring his family to the Land of Israel.

The Lerer family, two parents with five children, lived alone on their land for four years. They were surrounded by Arab villages with no doctor, supplies or assistance of any kind. Detached in winter and suffering from malaria, they continued the renovations and planted a new orchard. Reuven Lerer was the first Jewish citrus grower in the settlements of Yehuda.