The Move to Israel

(Continued from The Aliyah Decision Page)

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Post 6:

 

My luggage eventually made it on to the plane, but I only made it on to the plane after I had put on 20 pairs of underwear, three pairs of pants, five t-shirts, a sweatshirt and a sweater. (It felt like sorority pledge ship all over again, which I did not enjoy too much the first time around.) Did I mention that it was the middle of July and I also had to carry my winter coat? I had found out the hard way that it can get pretty cold in Israel when I spent the semester in Jerusalem and because of the bad heating systems and the desert architecture (which keep the cold in and the heat out), you unfortunately need a coat inside, as well as outside.

 

I figured that this flight from Minnesota to New York was going to be the most uncomfortable flight in my lifetime – I was soon proved wrong. I was now on my way to Israel, the land of milk and honey . . . or of thorn bushes and cactuses?

 

I made aliyah through this amazing organization, called Nefesh B’Nefesh that basically hands out money to people who want to make Aliyah to Israel. When I first heard of it I thought it was like the Jewish “Make A Wish” Foundation, but for people who are not sick . . . at least not physically.

 

I found out later that the organization is a non-profit that tries to bring Jewish souls (not Jewish opinions . . . that would have been a disaster waiting to happen!) together in Israel. The funny thing about this organization is that some of its funds are raised from evangelical Christians that want all of the Jewish people to move back to Israel, which is supposed to bring about Armageddon and eventually the return of Jesus Christ. I wonder if they expect to get their money back if that doesn’t happen?  Cause us Jews are not that good about giving back refunds.

 

The organization is truly a spectacular concept and it truly helps with the Aliyah and absorption process. Besides handing out money, it also helps with the brutal Israeli bureaucracy. The things this organization can do to get around the bureaucracy should be documented as modern-day miracles, right up there with the biblical ones. On top of it all, Nefsh B’Nefesh also provided me a free ticket to Israel – just like Birthright does. I didn’t realize until after I landed that, unlike Birthright, the ticket Nefesh B’Nefesh gave me was only a one-way ticket. I guess that is how they keep us in Israel!

Post 7:

 

I flew to Israel on a flight chartered by Nefesh B’Nefesh and completely full of other American Jews making Aliyah. They were people just like me who had packed up their entire lives, left their entire history behind them, in order to begin a new life in a completely strange and foreign country. I got to the check-in area and instead of seeing a bunch of young adults who are about to make their way in Israel by themselves, far away from their loved ones, I see hordes of families, little children running around screaming, babies crying, women in long skirts and hair coverings and men gathered together in one location praying.

 

It is not that I have anything against the religious; I just wasn’t expecting to be on a plane that could double as a daycare center. After seeing this scene, I stopped dead in my tracks and thought that this must be a sign from G-d telling me, “You are making a mistake, go back!” Now this is a very powerful sign for me, considering that I have contemplated the existence of G-d. Yes, its true, I’m Jewish and I’m a Zionist who has made Aliyah and I have had such questions, but that just goes to show that I am a truly complex, intellectual and deep individual. It has nothing to do with being confused, lost or depressed . . . at least that is what I’ve been trying to convince rabbis . . . and psychologists. Rabbis have recommended prayer, psychologists have suggested Valium . . . Now do you understand why I’d have the tendency to lean towards secularism? *

 

While contemplating my Aliyah decision, out of the sea of families, a young twenty-something year-old woman wearing pants and a tank top appears. Her name, from the Torah, was Ester (which I though must symbolize her grace and wit, but I later figured out later that it more accurately represented her ability to charm men). Ester and I quickly hit it off. We soon found out that we would be living, working and studying Hebrew together. I could already tell that we were going to be very close and go through a lot of amazing and probably difficult experiences together. I was thrilled to have somebody else to be a part of this amazing Aliyah experience with me. This instant friendship and incredible coincidence made me realize that I was making the right choice and I decided to leave the signs from G-d to the men with the kippas.

 

*Please note that this is meant as a non-offensive joke and should not be taken seriously. I do not have a prescription for Valium . . . unfortunately.

Post 8:

 

As anyone who has flown on El Al knows, you have to go through an interrogation before being allowed to reach the ticket counter. I remember the first time I had to undergo this process and I actually was quite flattered because I thought that they were just really interested in getting to know me and I ended up developing a crush on the glorified male flight attended. However, after enduring my plane ride to New York and anticipating a fight about my packed luggage at the desk, I was not in the mood to be interrogated like a terrorist. Luckily however, everything went smoothly – there were no cavity searches and surprisingly no complaints regarding the weight of my suitcases (I guess they knew that if I had bothered to pack all of that stuff, then I must really need it or they just simply knew that since I didn’t pay for my ticket there was no way I would be paying for my luggage). I was then handed my “Aliyah Ticket” – the first and the last free thing I would ever receive from Israel.

 

After wandering around aimlessly in the airport for a few hours, spending my last few hours in the states sitting next to some strange, smelly Indian guy, it was finally time to board the plane. Unfortunately the parents that were at the check-in area were also arriving to the boarding area and had decided to bring their multiple children with them on the plane instead of leaving them to fend for themselves in the states. Now, I know that children have a tendency to cry and scream, but I don’t have a very high tolerance for them . . . especially not in small, enclosed spaces when my only options are to deal with them or dive out of a plane to an unpleasant death.

 

Imagine the reaction of a small child who has been told that he is leaving his friends and family for a different country, and not only do they speak an ancient language but buses and restaurants are blown-up on a regular basis. Obviously they spent the entire 11 hours crying, begging, pleading and trying to get their parents to turn the plane back around – good thing El Al has reinforced doors, otherwise there might have been a coup by those kids.

 

After pushing through the families, I finally got to my seat – next to two religious girls about my age. (Couldn’t I be sitting next to a cute guy on my Aliyah flight to Israel? Is that really too much to ask? I mean, there should be plenty of single Jewish guys on this flight.) I organize everything and sit down and get comfortable. Just after getting my pillow in the exact right position a religious girl standing in the isle looks at me oddly and walks away. I figured she didn’t like my tank top and I lay my head back down. Then two minutes later, I am disturbed by a tap on the shoulder and some blond-haired, tall guy asks to check my ticket. At the first sight of him, I think – wait, this doesn’t make sense – one of us is on the wrong flight – either he is supposed to be on Swedish Airlines or I took a wrong turn. It turns out, that this girl went to go tattle on me for being in the wrong seat. Yes, a 20-something girl tattle-taled on me on my Aliyah Flight. In the end, they double booked us. This guy, who had so rudely disturbbed me (an judging by his profile, was obviously part of the Jewish nation) offered to move me to an empty row of chairs up front. I quickly gathered up my belongings and left the tattle-taler with her mouth hanging open to go make myself comfortable.

 

I had expected that this flight would be one that I would never forget, as it was one of the biggest steps of my life. I didn’t imagine, however, that it would be full of babies crying, children screaming, men praying and nine cats meowing, yes NINE. Luckily the Israeli flight attendants would occasionally bring around food which would shut-up the children for awhile and some wine to calm the adults. I think there was even a point in time where I contemplated giving some of the really loud kids my wine so they would be quite. I did not do this of course, not due to any ethical or moral concerns, but because I wanted the entire bottle for myself. After using the bottle of white wine to help me swallow my sleeping pill, I was finally able to pass out for a couple of hours.

 

In between my pill-induced comatose, I met a few other young adults who had also decided that they also needed a change in their life – and a new pair of jeans just was not enough. One of the people I met even shared my last name – Fishman. I was so excited that I finally met another Fishman since I had never run into any others in the States. After playing some Jewish Geography and tracing our family roots, we realized that we were not related and to my dismay, I figured out that he spelled his name incorrectly – with a C! Who ever heard of an animal called “FisCh”? Despite this being an argument we continue to have 5 years down the road, the fact of the matter is that our last names are spelled the same in Hebrew and often people think that we are a married couple, since we look nothing alike. (I don’t know why we have yet to take advantage of this to get discounts – If you are reading, then we should really start doing this!) Then after being in Israel I learned that there are quite a few Fishmans, even one very wealthy and famous one. Wouldn’t it be great if I ended up being related to him?! Unfortunately, I have yet to be invited over for Friday night dinner at Tamir Fishman’s house, but give me time, I will somehow find the family connection.

Post 9:

 

At some point in time, the sleeping pills and the wine must have taken effect, because I woke up groggy, tired and with the worst kink in my neck about a half-an-hour before landing. I was not awoken by the flight attendant announcement to buckle my seatbelt or put my seat in the up-right position, instead, I woke up to the sound of people singing and dancing in the isles of the plane. While some people might consider this to be an amazing and heart-warming experience, please don’t forget my current state. I was hung-over . . . or still drunk for that matter  . . . and people, who in all reality look crazy, are dancing on a plane. I was absolutely in shock by what was going on around me.  Even though I was excited to be moving to Israel and to be making Aliyah, I didn’t feel any need to do the hora and make a fool out of myself. I again decided to leave that to the people wearing the kippas on their heads. I do have to admit that I did get a little caught up in the excitement of everything. After all, I was making one of the biggest moves of my life, what would it hurt if I sang a few songs? (Unfortunately I am tone deaf and I can actually do a lot of damage to peoples’ ears when I sing . ..  uhum .. . try to sing.)

 

However, at the time, I did not realize why everyone was so elated until a few days later. It turned out, that Nefesh B’Nefesh had arranged the impossible – getting an agent of Israel’s Internal Ministry on the plane. And not only that, the agent was actually working on the plane. I don’t know how they were able to trick an Israeli Internal Ministry Agent into actually working, but somehow they did. Didn’t I tell you that Nefesh B’Nefesh is a miracle worker? The agent was there to set up each person on the plane with an Israeli ID Card. (Since the Israeli Internal Ministry is either on vacation, on strike or has a huge line outside of it, getting an Israeli ID card on the plane was crucial to a successful and easy Aliyah process.) Unfortunately, since I was in a state of comatose for most of the plane ride, I did not receive my card. To this day, I do not understand why the agent did not wake me up. For crying out loud, it is not like being woken up for crappy airplane food!

 

People were still dancing in the isles after the seatbelt sign was turned on and there was no indication that the dancing was going to let up. After unsuccessfully asking people to sit down, the flight attendants began physically forcing people into their seats. I was surprised how strong the El Al flight attendants actually were – I wonder if that is a requirement for the job.

 

After everyone had been seated, Nefesh B’Nefesh began handing out ugly baseball caps and told us to put them on our heads. I couldn’t understand why the organization would want to enforce the stereotype of dorky Americans making Aliyah and I almost refused to put it on, but then I figured that was the least I could do for all the money they had given me.

 

Normally getting off a plane after 13 hours of being cramped up with a bunch smelly kids and cats is exciting enough, but when the doors of our plane opened up, it looked like the entire country was throwing me, yes me and only me, a surprise party. There were soldiers waving Israeli flags, people singing and even government officials who had come to welcome us to Israel. I was greeted by some of the highest political officials in Israel. I shook hands with Ariel Sharon and Bibi Netenyahu. (Now that I think of it, it might have been an election year and that was the reason they came. In any case, it meant no difference to me.) To this day I have a picture hanging on my wall with me standing in between Ariel Sharon, Bibi Netenyahu and Sallai Meridor (The Jewish Agency President). Despite Sharon being an extraordinary leader, I never noticed how extraordinarily overweight he was until I saw him in person. Then when I developed the photograph that I took standing next to him and I could barely see myself next to him, I knew that he was one of those people that I would not have wanted to be sitting next to on the airplane. Even worse was seeing that the shirt I had decided to wear on this unforgettable day when I was standing next to such a historic and respectable man was see-through!

Ariel Sharon and Me -Upon my arrival in Israel

 

I had just landed and I felt like I was receiving a celebrity’s welcome. Not only were we welcomed by the highest political personalities in Israel, but we also got luggage carts for free! I learned later that luggage carts in Israel are always free, which surprised me. For some reason, in Israel, where people like to make a shekel on everything, the luggage carts, which cost $5 in the States, and the wi-fi access are free. In my opinion, this is a type of false advertising for the country. Think about it! If you were a tourist in Israel and upon your landing you received free wi-fi and a free luggage cart, then imagine your surprise when you walked outside and tried to catch a taxi.

 

In any case, it’s a good thing that I did not get used to this special treatment, because as soon as the party was over, everything was back to normal – have to argue and struggle to get anything accomplished.

Post 10:

 

No more than five minutes after the amazing welcome ceremony ended, we were already hit with the notorious Israeli bureaucracy. (It was obvious that this treatment would not last for long.) I believe that the reason Israelis seem so angry all the time is because of all the frustrations caused by the Israeli bureaucratic systems. For instance, every year the Internal Ministry goes on strike. It is not technically a strike, because they are in their offices everyday, but the thing is that they do not actually work. They do not answer phone calls, they don’t return faxes and they do not meet with people; however, no one actually realizes that they are on strike because this condition does not actually deviate from their normal work habits. The oddest part about the strike is that it happens once a year at exactly the same time. It is almost as if it has become a national holiday. (The international media always makes a big deal about the Palestinians that have to weight hours at checkpoints and make it sound like it is the most inhumane treatment in the world. I don’t understand why there hasn’t been any coverage of the Israelis that have to weight outside the Internal Ministry for hours.) In fact, it is not just the Internal Ministry that goes on strike – it is the trash collectors, the banks, the airport, the teachers, the students, everyone! Each year, there is a period of about a week that all state workers go on strike. Trash piles up, nobody can get money out of the banks and worst of all, the airport shuts down, so there is no way to escape the mess and the stench. Where are all the NGO’s and the UN organizations during these closures??? The weirdest strike of all in Israel, is when university students go on strike to protest rising tuition. Only in Israel, would people go on strike against something they themselves are paying for in order to make a point. The funny thing about this is that one year the students go on strike because tuitions are rising and the next year the teachers go on strike because their salaries are too low. It’s almost as if they don’t see the connection between the two figures.

 

The wait in line in order to register myself as a citizen made the 11- hour flight short and pleasant, while the documents I had to fill out made the SAT’s seem simple. The questions I had to answer and the all the information I had to supply made me genuinely prefer to have been interrogated by the Shaback, and I’ve heard that that experience isn’t very pleasant.

 

At this point I also found out that I was the unlucky sole that did not receive a Teudat Zehat (an Israeli ID card) and they threatened me that they wouldn’t be able to help me. I fought to the bitter end and in the end, I received my Israeli documentation that would be necessary for all of the other government ministries and bureaucracy that I would be dealing with in the coming days, weeks and years (that is, when they are not on strike.) Most importantly I received my first monthly government allowance, which I realized would only be enough to feed me for the next few days.

 

Once I actually was free to leave the airport, I decided I had changed my mind. It was the weirdest feeling. I realized that I was leaving the airport and going home to a place that I had never been to before. No matter how much I loved Israel at that point, all I could think about was warm American apple pie – and not in the way that the movie uses it.

 

I quickly had to overcome my fear and panic in order to find a ride to my new home from the airport. Part of the welcome package from the government of Israel is a ride from the airport to anywhere in the country. I, like any normal, rational person, went straight to my new home in Jerusalem; however, if I had been thinking like an Israeli, I would have taken full advantage of this benefit and traveled to Eilat for a week of sun and fun on the government’s bill. Instead, what actually happened is that the taxi drivers, like true veteran Israelis, took advantage of being the end receivers of the government’s money and stuffed as many people into one car as humanly possible. This system allowed them to charge for multiple rides, while only having to make a single trip. They put us one on top of the other, holding suitcases, sitting on suitcases, on the floor – I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had tied us to the roof or put us in the trunk if they had thought that they could get away with it.

 

The entire ride to my new home, I was stuck with the people that had been on the flight with me, but by this point the men were smellier, the children crankier, louder and more annoying and the women were just plain worn out. It was the middle of July and the air conditioner was broken or at least that is what the driver said because he didn’t want to waste money or gas running it. The windows were open, but it didn’t help, the air that was whacking me in the face, felt more like a hot hairdryer than a burst of fresh air. Not to mention, that all of the air that was reaching me was streaming through the sweaty arm pits of the man in front of me. At one point, I asked if I could be strapped to the roof of the car just so that I could be allotted some fresh air. When I asked that the driver began yelling at me for not asking in the beginning because then he could have fit another person in the car. Now, this was a much more appropriate welcoming for Israel than the ceremony!

Post 11

 

After the two hours it took to get to Jerusalem from the airport and drop off every single other passenger, we finally got to my destination: my new home. When I got out, the taxi driver practically threw my luggage at me and I didn’t even have a chance to yell at him because he just took off, leaving me in the dust. At that point, I turned around to look down towards my new home and all I could think about was, how in the world was I going to get my overweight suitcases up to the third floor.

 

When choosing where I should live once I made Aliyah, I had two main options – due to financial constraints, either an absorption center or a private commune. The absorption center is basically a state run institution for new immigrants to live in for a few months after moving to the country and most closely resembles a cross between living in a homeless shelter and college dorms. I had previously lived in an absorption center while I was on a volunteer program in Israel the year beforehand. I was provided the bare essentials – a mini fridge, a stove top, a cot that was harder than the floor and a shower and a toilet that I could use at the same time. I was lucky enough to find some cardboard boxes that someone must have thrown out and turn them into some shelves for my clothes. The other residents at the absorption center were Ethiopian immigrant families that could barely speak Hebrew (and absolutely no English) and were not yet familiar with modern technology. They didn’t know what a fridge or a stove was and often would use them to store their clothes. Every time that a new family would move in to the absorption center, there was bound to be a few accidental fires until they got a hang of things.

 

The Ethiopian children at the absorption center were louder and more hyper than all the kids on the plane. I know that Ritalin is over prescribed in the states, but it was definitely under prescribed in this absorption center. These kids were so full of energy, that you would think that they sucked on sugar all day long. They never calmed down and it was weird, because their parents were always so calm and relaxed. I wasn’t sure if the kids had run them down or if they had used up all of their energy when they were kids themselves.

 

The other option, which in the end became my new home, was called Merkaz Hamagshamim, technically meaning A Center for people who fulfill their dreams. The name of the commune is reminiscent of the days of Israel’s establishment, when the Jewish people immigrated from all over the world to settle and build the country. The commune continued this tradition of gathering together all different types of people . . . no matter how odd, strange or peculiar. Built on the foundation of multi-culturalism, pluralism and tolerance, the center’s purpose was to help absorb Anglo-Saxons into Israeli society. Most of the residents were from English speaking nations, i.e. the U.S., Canada, Australia or England, but they tried to sprinkle a few Israelis into the crowd to give it more of an Israeli feel. With the variety of characters that came to live at the center, knowing how to accept other people’s views and opinions was crucial. The center had a way of attracting the most extreme people.  The center was a very colorful experience, from Uri, the quirky, very left-wing and outspoken film student who would eat and watch movies on the religious fast days to Tziporah and Yisrael, the young, recently married right-wing orthodox couple who recently moved from the states and was trying to get pregnant while fighting all of time, from Jackie, the openly and flamboyant gay guy studying to be a Rabbi to David, the overweight vegan, from Efriam, the guy who’s room smelled like something had died in it and downloaded porn for all the guy’s at the center while complaining about the lack of his sex life to Joey, the bald-headed guy that looked like a penis with his hat off and of course the two newest additions – Ester, who turned out to be a promiscuous thespian with breast implants exploring her sexuality and ME.

 

All of the residents would often participate together in different activities that the center held, from movie nights to yoga and from plays to Friday night dinners in the courtyard. These gatherings always proved both amusing . . . and a bit frightening. Typically when four Jews are put in a room together, there will be five opinions and a lot of yelling. This was also true of our dinners. Things would normally start out friendly and cheerful, but it only took a few minutes for things to turn nasty and for people to start yelling and screaming.

 

It would often start out with some jokes and people telling one another about what happened to them during the week. Jackie, the gay Rabbi in training, would begin telling us about the portion of the week, for instance, about Abraham and Isaac, but then he would be quickly sidetracked and begun telling us about the “totally hot guy” named Isaac that he met at the dance club earlier that week. This of course would bring about a response from the religious married couple about the sanctity of the relationship between a man and woman. However, they were quickly drowned out by the curiosity of Ester innocently wondering where he goes out and if she could come with him the next time. And then, Uri the film student would want to know if he could possibly tag along with Ester the next time she goes out and bring his camera. Over all of the commotion, the vegan wants to know if bread has any honey in it for flavor because if it does, he can’t eat it since the bees could have been abused in the process of making it. I would often look around at all of these people and think how incredibly weird they were and how happy I was that I wasn’t really one of them. (Unfortunately or possibly fortunately – I soon realized that I was one of them). There were times during my stay at the Merkaz Hamagshamim that I felt like I was participating in MTV’s Real World TV Show.

 

However, getting out of the taxi, I, of course, was unaware of the crazy atmosphere at the commune and had no idea of what I was about to get myself into. After the long trip that I had just been through, I was so happy to be able to finally be able to rest, that it didn’t matter to me where I was.

 

Post 12

 

When I first arrived everyone was very friendly and welcoming, especially the guys (I later found out that they were actually more horny and lonely than friendly). A few of the guys even helped me carry my bags up to my new room and spent the whole time bitching about the weight of my suitcases . . . I’m just glad they didn’t tell me I’d have to pay extra for my overweight bags because at that point, I would have pushed them down the stairs, suitcases and all.

 

We finally made it into my room, my new home, which was essentially four bare walls, a cot and a broken shelf. The sight of my “home” made me feel as if all those Jeff Foxworth fans who thought I was moving to the middle of the desert were correct. I almost started to cry. No, they were not tears of joy for having realized my Aliyah dream; they were tears of exhaustion and a bit of fear. Walking into that room, I all of the sudden realized for the first time how different the rest of my life was going to be from what my life had been up to this point. Everything was going to be hard, from learning Hebrew to going to the grocery store and from making money to my new mattress. However, at that point the only thing that mattered was sleeping and I knew that at least that wouldn’t be too hard to do. The one thing I did before I fell asleep was decide that I was going to have to buy a new bed as soon as possible.

 

The next thing I know I wake up confused and disorientated at five in the morning to a rooster crowing. I was not quite sure where I was or in which year. I thought that somehow I had been transported to the time of the founding of the State of Israel. That I must be one of the pioneers of Israel because that was the only rational explanation that I could figure out for why there would be a rooster crowing n the middle of Jerusalem. I am still tired and jet lagged and so I try to go back to sleep; however, after an hour of trying to block out the rooster crowing, I decide to get up and get an early start on my day.

 

I realized that I had quite a long day of bureaucracy in front of me, which meant I would need a lot of energy in the event that I would have to get into a wrestling match with someone. I started making a list of all the things that I needed to get done. I realized that I would need to go to the Internal Ministry to get my permanent I.D. card, the Absorption Ministry to get my Absorption I.D. card and sign up for my absorption rights, the bank in order to open up an account, the cell phone store in order to buy a phone and set up an account, to Hebrew Ulpan in order to sign up for Hebrew lessons, to the Insurance office to sign up for an HMO and the Education Ministry to transfer my university degree. While this might sound straight forward, don’t be fooled, nothing is easy in Israel, especially when it comes to governmental procedures. It is almost as if the government is trying to convince new immigrants to go back to their native country or give them a chance to re-think there decision. To me the whole process felt more like a test, as if the people that were able to make it through all of these procedures alive were officially awarded the privilege to be called an authentic Israeli and won the right to live in Israel and the others got sent away.

 

More on the Israeli Bureaucracy next week . . . .

Responses

  1. Great article. I believe the actual one way plane ticket is an “Aliyah” benefit from the Sochnut. From what I understand, they partner with Nefesh B’ Nefesh and have the flights ticketed on one the Nefesh chartered flights. This may have changed, but that’s how it was previously set up…….

  2. Tahg is correct – The Jewish Agency pay for Aliyah flights whether with NBN or flying separately on a regular El Al flight.

    The money is not as much as it used to be (or used to be reported to be) – maximum for a young single now is $5000 – still not to be sneezed at.

    Who was your Shaliach?

  3. Just to clear things up: I know and knew that The Jewish Agency and NBN provided a one-way ticket. It was supposed to be funny!

    Also, at least when I made Aliyah, The Jewish Agency also paid for your connecting flight, which is something Birthright does NOT do.

    The Jewish Agency provides all Jews that want to make Aliyah a ticket to Israel. Nefesh B’Nefesh is responsible for organizing the chartered flights – the next post will be about that interesting (and somewhat painful) experience!

    • I’m planning on making Aliyah this summer…Did anyone make Aliyah with a dog? I have a mini schnauzer and need some information please.HELP

    • We (I) want a follow up blog! What’s it like there? You did a great job describing your journey and are funny and cute. I live in Colorado and want to make Aliyah. Every day, I dream of being together with my brethren and living in Israel. I have a business and a house and dogs. I can telecommute and put a caretaker at my house but I want to bring my dogs! I’m going to continue researching but you should totally write more. I know I want to hear about it!

      Thank you 🙂

  4. My husband and I will make aliyah in 2009. Unfortunately, no 2009 aliyah dates are set as of now. I do hope Nefesh B’Nefesh does that soon so that we can finalize our plans and we are very excited to know that date, too. We each have our own businesses to sell, a home to sell, etc. However, this is not my reason for writing this.

    I wonder if any of the aliyahsurvival bloggers have had any of these specific experiences: have any of you brought your dog from the U.S. to Israel? If yes, how did the dog do? Was the dog mildly sedated and had to ride in a cage in the luggage compartment underneath the plane? Is it cold in that compartment? Are any dogs allowed to ride (sedated) in their crate in the passenger area?

    We also hear from bloggers that there is some financial help to Olim for the airplane ticket to Israel. Is this true for everyone or only for those who qualify due to lower income? We make enough money and do not qualify for any assistance but we live modestly and don’t have a lot left over. Is there an agency who will help financially to get us and our stuff to Israel? Is there any help for the pilot trip that is required by NB’N? Perhaps there are some free or low cost hotel rooms for people on their pilot trips? Any information would be helpful. Thanks

  5. i am so impressed with your determination to go forward even in the face of the screaming children and religious women & men, and everything else that would intimidate me! (so, for clarification, that would be everything about this experience!). i’m loving reading your stories.

  6. I stumbled upon your blog in Facebook and as an Israeli Tzabar (born and raised) it’s lovely to read about an Aliyah story through a comical point of view, I hope that your writings will inspire more people to make Aliyah.
    I wish you all the best and you will find out as the time flies by that there is no other country as beautiful as Israel.
    cheers

  7. Rose Mary,

    You can make Aliyah any time you like. If you want to go on an NBN flight however you’ll have to wait until they release the dates. If history is anything to go by they’ll be two US flights in July, two or three in August and one in September. The exact dates won’t be finalised until Spring 2009 in all probability but a week here of there shouldn’t make that much of a difference.

    People go with pets the whole time – smaller animals can go on board in a carrier, larger ones go underneath. NBN are well aware of the regulations for this.

    Flight is paid for by the Jewish Agency without a means test when you make Aliyah. Getting to the airport from which the flight leaves is your own responsibility however – the Agency doesn’t pay connecting flights.

    Neil

  8. El Al, yuch, I will never, ever fly El Al again. And I don’t give a @#$! that it’s Israel’s national airline (besides, it’s been partially privatized).

  9. Following Neil’s information on the Jewish Agency’s help to Olim, Toshavim Khozrim (Israelis that have lived out of Israel for more than 4 years) are entitled to specific programs of insertion. Especially this year (Israel’s 60th birthday), there should be attractive programs. Check the Agency’s wewbsite.

    Tom

  10. Great post! It reminds me of my first trip to Israel in June/July of ’06. From the airport, my ujc group and I went straight to Kfar Giladi. When I awoke the next morning, i went to use the computer in the lobby to email my folks and confirm I had arrived, safely. However, I needed a special key to access the the PC terminal. When I approached the front desk at “Hotel Kibbutz Kfar Giladi” I saw this really good looking raven haired woman in her early twenties. Being in the mind set of being a guest at a hotel, I approached, smiled, and politely requested access to the computer. This beautiful looking young lady simply looked at me with a look of scorn that I will not soon forget, and spit out the word, “what(!)”. I repeated my request with no improvement in her tone. I must admit, it had me thinking – “Did I sound rude to her?” It really took me aback. In the months that have followed, and the reading I have done, and the people I have spoken to, I have learned to reflect back on that instance and say to meself; Ahhhhhhhhh……….I see.

    • What did you do that was so bad?

  11. Great blog. Thanks for sharing. We’re trying to figure out what to bring when we make aliyah. So what did you bring with you that in the end, wasn’t worth bringing? What did you leave behind that you wish you had brought? Anything difficult to come by or outrageously expensive in Israel that we should stock up on and include in our shipment from the States? Thanks.

  12. I regret having made Aliya.

    Israel high tech is dominated by ex army types so there is a glass ceiling for immigrants and an abrupt end of work life at 45 or so.

    Although it is politically correct to moan about the hate Askenazim have for Sephardim it is the Sephardim who are the most destructive. My Moroccan inlaws don’t speak to my children because they are not dark enough and didn’t speak to my life for 10 years after we were married.

    Israel is a corrupt society. I had a bike accident and the cops want to charge me with dangerous driving because i refused to say that I lost consciousness while riding.

    Even my children curse me for coming to Israel. The school system sucks, the army is a nightmare, the ultra orthadox have stolen judaism and north americans are simply not wanted.

    Oh …after I returned from the hospital with a concussion and a brain injury the owner of the story decided to make the best of it and give me change for a 50 eve though I gave him a 200.

    Fuck the people. Fuck the country. Go to OZ instead. Go anywhere …just not to Israel.

    Mr Leslie Sheldon

  13. first of all, girl i like ur blog, and just happened to fall on it because i was looking for some real info from ppl who actually did the aliya, not by a company sending u there (nefesh n nefesh) anyway, from the sound of it, seems like ur kinda having a “fun” time with all the drama going on.

    im thinking about doing aliya and i have a lot of family there but im just so worried as to what is my better option, currently i live and grew up in montreal canada and im a single mom with a 3 year old girl,,,can anyone help?..im sooo confused about what to do

  14. I would advise anyone from Canada or the US against making Aliya but the choice is ultimately yours.

    Consider the following:

    1)If you don’t speak Hebrew fluently you will be marked and pay for it dearly. You will not be able to help your kids in their homework and this is a requirement in Israel

    2) You will be viewed as a fool by Israelis whose dream is to go to the US or Canada. Russians mostly non-Jewish who only came to Israel to move to the US later will openly laugh at you

    3) Most US Jews are Askenazim while most Israelis are Sephardim and there is nothing but enmity between the 2 groups, only you will not know how to deal with all the Israelis who look and act like Arabs

    4) My half kurdish/ half Moroccan nephew beat up his wife and then beat up his mother in law, so girls don’t think Israel is a solution to finding a quality husband unless you want to destroy your lives and that of your children.

    5) Israelis are not the noble, brave warriors we were led to believe. 90% are lying gutless scum who will try to cheat you and bully you however if they lose a fight which they started they will run to the police. Yes they are for the most part bullies and cowards.

    6) North Americans stay here because they are trapped as I am with kids in high school or in the army, Israeli spouses if they really screwed up and have passed their window of opportunity for a successfull return.

    7) Career opportunities are less for non-Israelis because you will not fit so easily into the society which runs bu a completely other set of rules.

    8) I once met a man closer the my current age 56 when I came to Israel at 40. He had spent 5 or so years in Japan. He told me that after spending 5 years learning the culture, the language, the country he came back to Israel knowing that he would never fit in Japan and urged me to go back to Canada. I wish I had taken his advise.

    9) As a 56 year old man who came to Israel at 40 I have nothing but regrets. Not only have I managed to destroy my own life but I have endangered the lives of my children. I only hope they leave the country.

    • Your observations ring as the most true on this blog. You sound mature and straightforward. I also understand that the housing in Israel is very strange; that you must buy your own refrigerator, stove, A/C unit, carpeting etc. This is a huge monetary expense and these amenities are already in even the lowest of apartments in the U.S.A.
      I fail to understand the big push to get all Jewry back to Israel. To me, it’s almost sinister because now they can round us up, and they won’t have to go far.
      It sounds like Israel is a great place to visit if you like Eilat or the Mediterranean Sea. It also sounds like only older people with MONEY when they got there will make it. I heard recently from someone who visited Israel that she saw many homeless there. Hate to be negative, but it sounds like unless you strike it very lucky, and you’re young, ruthless and ambitious, the dream could become a nightmare before too long.
      This sounds like an adventure for the very young, risk-takers…I used to to one of those but have grown wiser. Thank you for you frank posts.

    • Hi, I was saddened reading your post. It sounds like you are very disillusioned and having a really hard time. So can you move back to Canada? We are actually living in Montreal (I am a Jew from Russia, my husband is Montrealer) and planning on making Aliyah @ end of November, in 6 weeks from now. We do not have much money at all, and trying to be optimistic, but if it does not work out we will be back in 3 years, in Toronto. Good luck to you and all the best. Olga

    • I’m so sad that you had a bad aliyah experience. It happens. I disagree with some of your points. It seems like you’re looking at this (or looked at this, given how old your comment is) in a very all or nothing way.

      Sure, it’s tough helping kids with homework, but not impossible, and it does get easier. I recommend starting with young kids – you learn as they do! As for “nothing but enmity” between different types of Jews here? I’m sorry to hear that that is true where you live. I haven’t seen it, and we’ve just finished our first 2 years here.

      I’m the first to admit that aliyah to Israel can be tough, may actually be the hardest thing you ever do. But it is not without rewards, and if you keep your eye on the reasons why you came, it can also be the most meaningful thing you ever do.

  15. Thanks for this funny informational blog about your aliyah experience. I’m currently in the process of applying for aliyah and I hope to move to Israel in August 2010.
    I’m a little nervous about it but I want to move and I’m getting all the information and advice about it.

  16. Hello everyone, I’m confused and not sure what to do. My sister moved to Israel about four years ago with her husband and kids. I got laid off from my job here and tried to start a construction business which failed. She’s always telling me to move to Israel. I’m not sure that’s a good move for me. Yes I’m unemployed and have nothing going on here for myself. But, would that be any better for me to move to Israel? Any advise would be great. Would I be worse off if I moved to Israel?

  17. Very good stuff, I super agree with you! Just to let you know, I find this style very nice, I’ll add it to my bookmarks 🙂 Keep up the good job!

  18. Absolutely hilarious blog- loved it! Aaah and funny that you grew up in Minnesota- my uncle’s working as a Catholic priest in Hinckley… (I know, I know… long story…!!) and I’m hoping to make aliyah from Ireland in a few years. This has definitely been an excellent insight! Thank you!! 🙂

    • Cli: I’m in Ireland (moved here from England in 2008) and hoping to make aliyah too, whereabouts are you? I’m in Kildare.

      • Wow, didn’t know there were actually a few of us here! 😛 I’m originally from Cork, but living in Dublin for university. Have you any date set, or are you like me- waiting for studies to be over?

    • Hi Cli, for some reason the site won’t let me reply to your most recent comment (and didn’t notify me that you’d replied!). We’re waiting to have the money saved, basically! Aliyah is expensive business. I’m disabled and mostly housebound, so we need to save for a car on top of the money for shipping our stuff, transporting our five cats, the first few months’ rent, etc. How long until your studies are over? You can email me if you’d rather talk directly instead of via comments on here – I’m redshira at gmail dot com. It’s good to know I’m not alone – I know there is a Jewish community in Dublin but I’m not close enough to participate.

  19. I don’t know if anyone reads this anymore as the last post was a year ago. but i found this very depressing. Were there any up moments? Any inspiration that made it all worth it?

    You say for the most part it was religious families on your flight? There was only one other like-minded person on your flight? So if you are not part of a religious family your entry into Israel is very alienating? This is scary (esp since Israel is 80% secular!). I have been considering aliyah, then heard many many stories about how unbelievably difficult it is – and the worst is to feel you are not particularly wanted in Israel. Does Israel want American olim?

    Thanks for your honesty. This just added to many other scary stories I have heard about aliyah which accounts for a very high attrition rate. Don’t know if this is for me. And I have done lots of adventurous and difficult things in my life, just sounds like aliyah is not working for American olim. Is Israel doing anything about this? Does Israel care?

    • Israel does care, and there are groups that are helping North American and UK Olim. Look up Nefesh B’nefesh. They can help a lot.

  20. im a disabled man who wants to move to isreal , and still get my disability check evert month , and my medicine , and a doctor , a small apartment , is this possible , thank you dean hardison ..

    • Medical care in Israel is much better and cheaper than in the US, since there is socialized medicine. You will have to check with the medical insurance provider in Israel to make sure your disability is covered. I am not sure what the laws are in America or how your American health care provider would cover your condition if you are abroad.

      • To disabled: Yes, medical care is cheaper in Israel but I don’t know if it is better. I have been living here more than 30 years. You will get less for disability through “bituach leumi”.

        Americans get dual citizenship and you will be able to receive a washing machine, refrigerator, and possible other household items and possibly be paying less for a car but I’m not 100% sure about that. You may receive more. The BEST THING TO DO IS TO BE IN TOUCH WITH AN ALIYAH DESK/CENTER and they will provide you with all the information and answers to your questions. In addition, there is A.A.C.I. here in Tel Aviv, Ra’anana, Haifa and in the south. They provide information and help here as well. They have grown over the years. They have many many resources and entertainment in English, trips, lots of stuff. I must warn you though that without the knowledge of hebrew, you may feel very isolated. I know people who have come from the U.S. who do not know much hebrew and they are isolated, cannot understand their bills and mail. Do you have any relatives here? You must be prepared before coming. Laurie

    • If you are getting SSA payments and Medicaid, I think it would be difficult. I am not sure if Aliyah gives you dual citizenship, or if you foreit citizenship in your current country. If it is forfeited to become an Israeli, I think the SSA would tell you to take a hike, no benefits. I am guessing you are from the USA. I’d check with SSA and see if and how your benefits transfer. Also, no one seems to address the citizenship in Israel for immigrants: Do people forfeit their original citizenship, or is dual citizenship granted? Don’t make an emotional, ill informed MISTAKE.

      • You are allowed to be a dual citizen with USA and Israel as long as you don’t join their special forces. Also you can collect SSA in Israel, plenty of retirees from America living there do. I inquired from the American Embassy when I was there in 1996 and married to an Iraqi Israeli. After my divorce I tried to make aliyah through the Jewish Agency around age 40 but they gave me such a runaround about having to find a place to live ahead of time and doing a psych eval on my then 13 yr old son to see what type of school to put him in I said forget it. I also had to show my parents wedding ketubah from 1948 (my moms 92 now) and my hebrew GET from Tel Aviv rabbinical court. It was such a big production and took the Jewish Agency months before they sent my paper work to the Interior Ministry where they did approve my citizenship. By then my son said FORGET It mom. This year after him not seeing his Israeli father in 17 years we are going on a trip to find the deadbeat. I am a polish american born jew (daughter of kohane) raised Conservative and glad I decided not to permanently live there. In 1996 I was 3 blocks from a suicide bomber. I dont think Israel is any safer for a jew than anywhere else in this world (except of course in the arab or russian worlds)

  21. Hey

    I really have one question really if its okay i am a 22 year old male and am residing in tampa fl my question really is was moving to israel the best thing or a good idea gone horribly wrong i just cant stand what the states has become and want to start over some where new and begin a new life i am a jewish convert and have grown extremely tired off the states and i was wondering if it was a good decision

    Thank you

    • I’m not sure what exactly it is you don’t like about the states. Every country has its problems. I will say that being a Jewish convert in Israel is not easy. There are a lot of different posts questions and responses up here about being a convert, what type of conversions are accepted and what it means for marriages, among other things.

    • I’m not sure what exactly it is you don’t like about the states. Every country has its problems. I will say that being a Jewish convert in Israel is not easy. There are a lot of different posts questions and responses up here about being a convert, what type of conversions are accepted and what it means for marriages, among other things.

    • I am also a convertand very seriously considering this .But It seems its either a nightmare or wonderful.I would like to connect with other people that are planning this so that maybe we dont have to go it alone.my name is lisa & i live in new york.my email is blackirish717@gmail.com hope to hear back.

      • MONEY would likely make it wonderful. Going there on financial fumes is a recipe for disaster. This is true for repatriating to any foreign country. I did this with Mexico and was back home within 3 years. I had money but it ran out because the job situations were so difficult. Any nation will give its own the jobs first, and Israel is no different.

  22. Hey great blog,
    where would you recommend for places to live in Israel, as far as cost of living, other singles and access to jobs. I saw that you were originally in Jerusalem when you made Aliyah, do you still live there?

    • I pretty quickly moved to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem. I didn’t really like the extreme religious feel of Jerusalem. Cost of living is high in Israel almost anywhere you live. If you are secular, you will find way more singles in Tel Aviv versus if you are religious, you will find more in Jerusalem – especially North American immigrants. Access to jobs really depends on what type of job you are looking for.

      • Initially I’ll just be looking for something to make pay the bills, I know there are a lot of call centers in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that hire English speakers. However I have a sales and marketing background. Which Ulpan did you goto?

    • Ulpan Etzion is supposed to be one of the best for professionals. This is the one I went to. My biggest suggestion to learn the language is to try to get integrated with the culture as much and as quickly as you can.

      • You seem to be saying obliquely that the call centers prefer bilinguals.

  23. Yea thats the one that I heard about as well when I was in Israel, I was reading some of the other posts, and apparently there are employment agencies you can sign up with, would you happen to know any of those by name?

  24. that shouldve said i am a convert . sorry.

  25. I too went to Ulpan Etzion in the summer of 2003. Were you there studying Hebrew as well?

    • Kind of irritating that Israel’s only real ally, the USA, is not given any respect as per its citizens trying to make it in Israel! I researched this 2 years ago when I got this crazy ‘go to Israel’ bug but now, no way after seeing this blog. I remember encountering in my search 2 years ago, many disillusioned people who returned home BROKE. Why doess Israel encourage this Aliyah travesty, knowing full well the majority will fail? Makes one ponder the true hidden agenda of this program.

      • There are people who move to a kibbutz or to a moshav. They seem to do really well. Yes, it is hard to “make it” here, especially since the income is much lower and household items, computers and such have high taxes added to them. I can honestly say this to any and all people wishing to move to Israel: This is a country that is perfect for religious people, otherwise you may end up going back home! Relgious jews have such a hard time outside of Israel. They must live near a synagogue which must be in a fairly large city that they can walk to, they need kosher food etc. Here, this is all the easist to obtain. There are synagogues on every block and it is harder to find non-kosher food. Kosher restaurants are in abundance as well…I am a mother of 2 and have lived here for more than 30 years and I am married to a religious man who has a good job. He is very fortunate, more fortunate than a lot of people here. He only studied for 2 years in a college but because of his extraordinary brain (!) he is a very capable person in his profession. I am not able to say where he works unfortunately. Another problem here is that so many people get laid off. The problem has worsened and worsened. The economy is bad and stores go out of business like in the U.S. now. People are out of work. I myself would have gone back to the U.S. if I would have had to provide for myself continually but I married this man who has a good income. We have problems nevertheless even with the great income because of land taxes in this area. It is best to seek an Aliyah desk and to ask all the pertinent questions one has but leaving your home to make it here is difficult to say the least.

  26. This was hillarious and so honest, loved it. I’m desperate to make Aliyah, and your blog just made me want to live among crazy Israelis even more!

  27. Really great blog! I love the honesty in it.

    Do you regret you decision of going there?

    Do you think it is harder for an American than for an Argentinian as I am?

    It is incredible that there are only two opposites, the ones that really hates Israel like the Sheldon guy above or the ones that love it.

    Thanks!

    Ale

    • There was a large Argentinian aliyah to Israel about 10-15 years ago so there is a large Argentinian community in Israel.

  28. I stumbled into your article and, couldn’t stop reading. My questions: what are the requirements to make Aliyah and, how do you go about it? You have sparkled interest in me. I have been reading about what the Israeli government is doing with the Negev, do you have any suggestions? I am a Sephardic Jew, do I have to have a DNA test for proof? Thanks for being so honest, it made ALL the difference!

  29. Hello! i loved your writings. I appreciate your honesty about how difficult the move is. But, i also appreciate and can sense your love for the chaos even when it may be exhausting. thank you for it all!

    I need to ask you, as a 31yr old single female, without much money, do you recommend your starting living situation, or learning from your experience, would you have chosen or recommend something else for someone my age and a single female?

    • I’m not really sure what your questions is, so I’m not really sure how to answer. Please feel free to write back and I’d be more than happy to give you some advice.

  30. Hey, if anybody is interested, I’m a volunteer from the English speaking social group of middle-aged/seniors and we are looking for volunteers to speak to our group on interesting topics.

    Ok, gotta add something here. I’ve been living in Israel now since the early 1980’s. I came here all alone and have barely any relatives in Israel. They are vey distant relatives and live far away. I would say that the mentality of an Israeli is pretty much the opposite of an American! Americans tend to be more closed up while Israelis will tell you (especially the kids here) that you wear funny clothes, where did you get those shoes? and they and especially Israelis will try to speak to you in English even if your hebrew is just as good as your English! They can sense your accent and immediately try getting you to speak in English.

    The A.A.C.I. is a very good association to obtain information on almost everything. Good help there. There is an A.A.C.I in Tel Aviv, Ra’anana, Netanya and in the south too.

    If anyone has any questions I may be able to help. I’m a mommy of two girls aged 13 and 17. The older one is going to go into “Sherut Leumi” and is finishing high school here. Whew!

    I can be contacted at: yala4@walla.co.il

    Laurie

  31. I am disabled, 50 years old and single, living in the USA, and currently living on only SSI benefits ($710/month) alone. I’m contemplating Aliyah as an escape from the USA as it is impossible to live on this amount. Although I would want to attempt to go back to work, my fear is that my disabilities would make it impossible to do so for any length of time and I fear ending up in the same situation there as I am in here (on the verge of homelessness). . I’ve been in contact with a number of the Israeli agencies trying to figure out exactly what type of benefits are available in Israel and if they are enough to survive on but am not really getting many clear answers. If anyone is familiar with these, please let me know. Thanks!

    • Wish I could be more of a help, but I’m not that familiar with this situation. I’m not sure what the benefits are. Two things I would say, the health care system might be cheaper in Israel, BUT the cost of living in Israel is very, very high. Best of luck to you. Sorry to hear about your situation.

  32. I absolutely loved reading your blog but now im dying to know if u stuck it out in the land of milk and no money or did u go back to the States.
    Please tell me what happened after your initial klitah. I made aliyah 3 months ago from South Africa and im living in Tel Aviv.

    • You’ll have to wait for the book . .. 🙂

  33. when’s it coming out??

  34. Lol. I understand you completely. I moved tp israel 3 years ago and by now, I don’t even want to be considered Israeli. Even if I have survived the process I’m happier to be considered a sweet, calm, patient, quiet, Canadian. And yeah the whole Aliya thing, definitely feels like a setup for me as well. Those nefesh bnefesh representatives make it seem like it will be such an easygoing process. But once you get here you realize that you’ve entered the jungle!!!

    • Unfortunately, moving to another country is never an easygoing process. I think that NBN definitely doesn’t fully enlighten people beforehand quite how hard the process they’re getting into actually is and paints a very rosy and unrealistic picture of life in Israel. But at the end of the day, their primary task is the bring in as many people as possible.

      However, if a person thinks about it logically they really should be able to work it out for themselves; they’re going to a country which is frequently at war and being fired upon, only in existence for 65 years and in the Middle East. Add to that the need for many people to learn a new language from scratch and completely alter their lifestyles and expectancies of their future career.

      Tbh I don’t understand why an American or Canadian would put themselves through that ordeal. They must be very naive, bored of their current lives or extremely ideological. The way I see it is; I’m not going to get a job in my home country (don’t want to say which one, but it’s particularly economically depressed with a high unemployment rate), therefore going to Israel is worth a try.

  35. Intending to move to Israel, and would like to move into a completely-furnushed appartment, and buy ALL that’s in it for 3,000$ ?
    Everything meaning E-V-R-T-H-I-N-G – you’re getting a ready-to-go home:

    Mahogany Russian piano, Beautiful mahogany bed, two dressers, mattress, Low wide mahogany TV stand + drawers, Cool coffee table antique style, Large Mahogany Desk (private carpentry), A nice persian carpet 1.50 X 2.40, 2 large framed mirrors framed (carpentry), Mirror + IKEA shelf for bedroom (makeup & jewelry station), Small wooden TV stand, Wooden KAKADU CD holder for 100 CD’s, 2 grey sofas good condition, Small bamboo stool, Great bikes + special orthopedic chair..

    Appliances:
    Top-lid Washer, brand new + warranty, Sophisticated electronic food steamer, Brother Printer/Fax/Scanner MFC-440CN, LG Stereo System, Microwave, Hard fruit juicer, Professional Mixer, Hand mixer, Blender, Stick Blender, Electric Kettle, Sandwitch Toaster..

    Plus, lots of different kitchenware, cool house stuff, clothing, jewelry…
    If so – please contact me at: +972-544-334-696 / lilac.sheer@gmail.com

  36. Just a statement I feel I need to make….
    I was around ten when the Holocaust occured. I learned about it in a newsreel before a movie. My heart broke. I felt love for these people. As if they were my own kin.
    I knew I was part Irish and that I had German blood too. I felt shame to have any German relatives.
    I am now 75 years old and a Christian all my life. But a Christian that loves the Jews and Israel.
    For many years I have sent as much money as I could to IFCJ and others.
    I have sent it because I’ve wanted to make up for what relatives may have been responsible for doing to the Jews.
    Also because I wanted to obey God’s word. To help any Jewish person to return to their homeland. The one and only place that God places love for and claims for His own.
    I always hoped to visit Israel but too poor to do so in this life. But the Lord knows my heart and I’m sure I will one day see it, but after I go to be with the Lord.
    Not once in my life have I ever wanted to see the Jews go to Israel because I wanted to get rid of them. Only because of what the Lord says about them going to their homeland.
    Not all non-Jewish people that are Christian, feel anything but love and sorrow for what they have had to endure.
    Just needed to let others know how this one old lady feels.
    God will always be with you and love you. Keep the faith and always know you are not alone. There are many of us that will stand with you even if it means our death.

  37. So I’m hoping to make alyia and I have a friend who is christian who wants to come with me. He might b able to prove that grandma or grandpa are Jewish which would make it easier for him I believe but if not would he even b able to move there with me? Would he have to go for a year before being able to apply for citizenship or could he not Evan go because he is christian? How does that all work?

    • If he can prove grandma or grandpa are Jewish he would have the right to make aliyah. If he is not Jewish under the law of return, he could not become a citizen of Israel – unless through marriage.

  38. I am planning on moving to Tel Aviv soon for school then Aliya. What I am wanting to know is about insurance for a motorcycle. I know you need compulsory insurance but how much is it? As I am planning on buying a used motorcycle like a Kawasaki or Yamaha something cheap haha. Does anyone have an idea how much insurance would run me?

    • Call Bituach Leumi. But you are going to need to get a special Israeli drivers licences to be able to drive a motorcycle or moped.

  39. I don’t know if you can do your tests in English for the driver’s license/motorcycle. As for driving a motorcycle, you better think twice. In Israel there are motorcycle deaths all the time. It is dangerous enough in a car here but a motorcycle? I’m sorry to tell you this but I would advise you not to drive one. Israelis have no patience and are horrible drivers. It is one of the most dangerous places in the world to drive or to be in a car…anywhere here. I don’t know if Bituach Leumi can help you. I do not know how much the insurance would cost. You can try to type into a search bar: insurance costs for motorcycle in Israel in 2014? The cost of living is especially high here, so be careful where you plan on living. In some cities, like where I live (Rehovot) the water bill is outrageous in most places in the city for instance. Then, the apts in Tel Aviv are so high! You should research about living in areas outside of Tel Aviv. Plan and research as much as you can before making Aliyah. And by the way, you can get a lot of help here at “A.A.C.I.” A very very good source of info to help Americans and Canadians especially to get help in any way. Never be shy about asking anything here. Good Luck and Mazel Tov on your Aliyah. Laurie Yair

  40. can someone from Israel marry me,,? and Live in Israel,,? coz i’m single and i love israel 🙂

    • Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it! I felt the way your post describes and ended up married to an Israeli man who only married me so he could get a US greencard, although he promised that, ‘Of course we will live here. I will NEVER leave Israel”. LOL Having said that, I love Israel and met many Israeli people who are still in my life today. Just make sure you have a tough skin; aliyah and/or Israeli men are NOT for sensitive North American women who are used to having doors opened for them at the mall, etc 🙂

  41. i’m just back from Israel 2 weeks ago, and i really want to go back there,, i really Love Israel, the History, building and the Nature,,

  42. so is the only way to go via USA or UK, im out in france with kids and all

    • You can make aliyah from any country.

  43. you have gift for writing events, I enjoyed reading your story.

  44. Leslie,fuck you for saying fuck Israel and it’s people,Israel does not need you their! They are ok with out you bitch!!!! You should really be ashamed of yourself for saying that about the holy land! Israel is real! I love the state! I love the people,and most of all,the solders who put their life on the line every day all day to protect the people who live their,so think again before you criticize Israel,not to say United States is also a wonderful country to live in and I m so proud to be an israeli and an American, try living in a third world country before you put Israel down again you are so ignorant!!!!! Mina lancry,proud citizen of United States of America,and the beautiful state of Israel!!!

    • Since no one has written since July, 2014, y’all must be having a pretty cool summer. I really want to make Aliyah. Ever since my twins did the birthright Israel trip. They had a blast. As for me, do you get preferential treatment if your a college grad in the job sector? I’m planning on bringing my Pug with me. Whenever we fly in the states, he just sits on my lap and sleeps. Who recommends living near relatives, verses just letting life happen? After you make Aliyah, are you stuck for the whole year, or can you leave for a week or two? I have relatives in Greece, which is so close by! Does anyone have info on the various artist communities, where they are and the cost of a studio/home combo? If you do the Uplan, do you have to live in a college dorm kind of residence or you can live off site? Hated living in a dorm, and sure as heck don’t want to relive that scene again.
      Good Luck to all of us, fellow travelers and dreamers. Yea, for the U.S. And double yea for L.A. California. Gotta have dreams! Just be as prepared as possible.

  45. You are awesome. I have decided to make Aliyah and reading your blog is funny and real. Thank you for sharing

  46. I have made the decision to make akiy. Your blog Is real and gritty but hilarious! My son graduates in 2016. I plan to be on a plane that same year quickly after. Thank you for sharing

    • immigrate before you get here, through the Jewish Agency, or you might have problems navigating the system after you get here.

      • Thank you isaac. I am working on that now

  47. Just a few tips from an American immigrant…

    1) Be prepared to do an “ulpan” (hebrew classes) because you will need it I assure you…not only will you want to understand what people are sayg and to enable for you to read…but it’s also to help you understand the mentality. I immigrated alone in 1989 and I met very few English speakg people up until about 3 years ago. Also, the best way to learn the language is by hanging around Israelis and few English speakers…and you will learn the language faster, much faster

    Other advice…there are English speaking groups large and small…AACI is one organization…there’s Ezra and others..in Rehovot there’s T.E.A.M. of which I am a part of…all of the English groups will help with difficulties and questions…Good luck!

  48. I would like to make Aliyah but to me the most important consideration is finding work as this will determine where I should live.
    Unfortunately I am unable to determine even the potential for me to find work as my Aliyah agent says that this is not her job, and I am unable to understand the adverts etc.
    Anyone have advise as to how I should go about this as I do not have big bucks saved and am not sure what will happen to me if I where to run out of money.

    • Try israemploy.

  49. Hi Stan…I made Aliyah from Eugene, Oregon in 1989 so I know a lot about Israel. What is your line of work? When you do make Aliyah , you will be entitled to receive appliances for much less upon arrival. You can do an “ulpan” as well, in case your Hebrew isn’t up to par..and I strongly encourage you to do so.

    You can get training too. There are good paying jobs for English speakers..in High Tech for instance…and teachers are greatly needed though they are paid high wages.

    You must be prepared for a roller coaster ride because the mentality is very very challenging.

    There are organizations which will help you..A.A.C.I which is an American/Canadian org. ..the largest is situated in Tel Aviv, there are branches in Netanya, Haifa.

    I volunteer with a smaller and newer organization for English speakers in Rehovot, in the city where the Weizmann Institute is. Yet we don’t have the contacts which A.A.C.I has. A.A.C.I is a great service.

    I understand your concern about work. Were you planning on coming alone or with family?

    Since Israel is small, travelling from place to place is easie…the bus system is ideal and I’d say the same about the train too. It is comfortable as well.

    Hope I was helpful.

    Laurie Yair

  50. Thanks – I registered and it looks promising

  51. This is hilarious!!!! I’m one of those 20 year old religious gals like u met on the plane (but not a bitch like them i don’t tattle to flight attendants heheh) and i studied in israel for a year. Reading this makes me nostalgic for those times but also kinda thankful I’m back in the States. I still want to make aliyah but imma be responsible and finish my BA first.
    Also, a question for you: overall, all told, are you happy with your decision to make aliyah?

    • It depends upon the day

  52. would you recommend i move there with my 3 sons…single mom….2 of which are of Jewish decent?now in these times?

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “now in these times.” I don’t know what it is like to be a single mom. There are good and bad things about Israel. For instance, it is financially hard here, but there might be more community support or understanding. Also, if you have a child who isn’t Jewish it might be very hard for him/her here. Also, don’t forget that they will be drafted at 18 to the army.

  53. I’m planning on doing Aliyah, but I’m already working out my birthright trip. The original idea was to do Aliyah just after Taglit, while I’m on Israel, but I’ve seen a lot of comments about the difficulties and the unconvenience of doing Aliyah on Israel.
    I do not know wich place is better for a new Inmigrant: Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

    I would apreciate if someone could enlighten me.
    Thanks beforehand.

    • Yes, aliyah is hard. I suggest doing a long term program before you make aliyah. Taglit only shows you the good side of Israel. Tel Aviv vs Jerusalem depends on what you are looking for. Tel Aviv is much more secular and cosmopolitan, while Jerusalem is conservative and religious.

  54. firstly awesome blog I couldn’t really think of anything smart too say other than I’m very impressed miss aliyahsurvival. calm head ultra cool style…the change in you is very apparent congrats. making Aliyah to Israel is no different than moving from the UK to Spain which I did with my family in 2002.(I /we returned to the UK 5 years later) every problem I encountered their negative and positive is relevant to any country if you do not speak the language forget it…I didn’t work for 7 months studied hard and leased a restaurant (it didn’t get easier just bearable) it became the same as my previous life in the UK (I owned/leased a restaurant) except it was hot 300 days a year. corrupt mayor corrupt police ex-pats drinkers dawn til dawn but my standard of life improved and that’s the key if you can’t improve your life what is the point…. Happy travels and much mazel p.s yup you are hot…

    • Even though it sometimes feels like it, it is not a jail. You can leave whenever you want.

  55. oops my own Aliyah is next may 2018 can’t wait…

  56. I don’t know if my last post was posted, so i am go to try again just in case

    I made Aliyah 6 months ago when my parents decided to make Aliyah themselves, since I was living with them at the time and they didnt bother to ask me my opinion or feelings about moving to another country and they didnt give me enough time to save my money and make other arraignments since told me about it in February and they had to start the process in March I had to quit my job, abandoned my car I got in January of that year and basically force me make Aliyah with them saying I would be happier which after 6 months I am miserable and depressed living here still. Israel is for some people but not for me.

    I want to move back to the United States so bad, since they only moved to because my Orthodox brother and his wife and kids moved here in July of the pervious year and the only benefits I used was the Sal Kita for 6 months and the One Way Ticket.

    My parents stated I have to pay everything back before they will let me buy a ticket and use my Valid American Passport to purchase a ticket back to the United States. Are they right? Would I have to pay back the 6 months of Sal-Kita and the One Way Ticket to Israel before they will let me leave Israel? Thank You I hope I get an answer.

    I am sorry if you see the same question, I don’t see my comment in this thread and I really if anyone that read this thread knows the answer, thank you again for taking time to read my comment. Hope you have the answer Im looking for.


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