Things to consider.
I’ve been in the land of Israel for 9 months. For 7 months I have been working on getting approved for Aliyah. There are some very important things that I have discovered that need to be established for returning Jews. (update: As of Nov 2017 it has been more than a year)
Many of the assistance programs established are for Olim that have been approved. Housing, banking, medical, jobs….
There are some who are starting to help others with the process of applying for Aliyah, with some established organizations for those who are more inline with what Israel is looking for in an Olim.
This is what I discovered.
There is no housing assistance for people in the process of making Aliyah from within Israel. There are some individuals who might help but goodwill is usually short-term; the process may take some time.
You cannot work while you are in the process so unless you have a bank load of money you will eventually run out. You will need know how to believe God or have some type of benefactor that will support you during the process this is a major hurdle. We had to have both. I like to eat and have a nice place to sleep and live, as do most people. This is very important.
Legal assistance is necessary for some. I have met some attorney’s and although they say they are there to help people make Aliyah they have their hand reaching deep into your pockets. Evidently there is supposed to be funding for these things. I haven’t found it. I don’t think it takes $1200 dollars to file a paper. I believe that is taking advantage of people in desperate situations. I know that there are certain court fees but that is where the donations should be applied, as well as toward reasonable salaries for legal assistance. Attorney’s do have a right to be compensated for their time, again, reasonable compensation.
In the days ahead there will be many people flooding into the nation fleeing persecution. They will not have necessary documentation. There needs to be some type of data base for researching and pulling up documents.
You can’t get an apartment unless you have a bank account. You can’t get a bank account unless you have your Tu-dot Oleh (citizenship papers). Can’t have that unless you have been approved. If you get denied and have to appeal that will take more time. More money and more need for basic provisions. Food, clothing, housing, etc..
It is my experience that people want to help those that have been approved because they get government assistance and can pay for rentals and the help these agencies offer. They are just standing in line like sharks ready to help with their hands out to receive instead of give. Ok, maybe not everyone. There are practical expenses like electric, water, taxes, rent, food, living supplies that someone has to pay for. Again, many facilities are raising funds for this…supposedly. Many volunteers come from other countries and donate their time and pay to stay at these places too.
People are gathering donations from all over the world, yet how are they being used? It all sounds good but personally I question it.
People want to help. They say they can help. But they can’t. Unless you are willing to fork up a lot of money that you don’t have. Even then they can’t guarantee anything.
When you come to Israel you must know God has told you to come. It is not easy. Even when He has given you a word, a promise, a command you will most likely have to fight to stay. I’m not saying fight in the natural; though you might have to. You will have to fight with your faith. Do you believe He told you to be here. Then He has the plan to keep you here. Only He can reveal it. There are plenty of scriptures telling us Jews that G-d will gather us back to the land.
Practically speaking for those interested in establishing Aliyah houses you must consider the ones who are in the land filing as well.
Also when establishing an Aliyah house people need to have their own space. Some people are OK with shared kitchen spaces and living spaces while others are not. Little apartments are nice like hotel rooms, with some people because it is their own personal space. At the same time, you cannot expect people to stay locked up in their rooms, in confinement.
Some people are social and some are very unsociable. This must be considered. There should be places where people can go sit outside quietly. If there are children they need places to run around and play safely. A recreation room would be good with some wholesome games for older children.
If you really want to think big, think about an exercise facility and a workshop for the men. It is especially difficult for men to wait around and do nothing. They need some kinds of activity to keep them feeling positive about who they are as men.
For married couples it is nice if they have private bathrooms. At least double to queen size beds in their rooms.
This is a stressful transition. Many people will have left with nothing. They will need everything.
Hebrew classes on-site would be helpful. Though you can get by with English in most places there is still a need to know basic Hebrew.
Personal counseling may also be necessary if individuals are having a difficult time transitioning.
Also on-site, should be basic office facilities for printing out forms and send emails and researching information. It would also be beneficial if the facility had attorney’s that came in occasionally or by appointment to help those who need legal aid.
Getting all the appropriate forms, appostiled documents, birth certificates, marriage licenses and such is also something that may require help.
If you are in other countries helping people with their Aliyah the assistance in gathering all necessary documents is huge. Some countries do not require the appostiled documents, while others like the USA do.
Transportation assistance is also needed. Though you can walk throughout the cities and Israel has a pretty good bus system there are just some times you require a vehicle to go somewhere outside of the city. Bicycles are also a good option in some places in Israel. Wouldn’t hurt to have some bikes for use for people staying in the Aliyah home.
When considering locations think about exterior environment. Can you grow fruit trees? Is there room for a green house? Can you have small farm animals like chickens and goats? People coming may have skills in these areas. If not, it can be used as a food source and relaxing therapy for others. Depending upon the size of farm production, it could also generate income.
Think big and small with regard to housing.
If you are just wanting to help one or two families at a time then of course you don’t need all the facilitating. Still basic comforts and needs must be addressed. The little things matter.
Have a properly stocked kitchen; plates, cups, glasses, silverware, mixing bowls, serving platters, serving spoons, coffee makers, tea pots, pots and pans, baking dishes, dish cloths, pot holders.
Having working appliances, stoves, ovens, fridges, fans, heaters, and laundry machines also are very important.
In small places a burner, electric water kettle, microwave is a start. A small table top oven is also very useful.
Storage is something to be considered as well. Shelves for clothes or a closet for belongings helps to make the environment less cluttered. It is hard to live out of a suitcase.
Think about what you like when creating a rooming environment. Would you sleep on that bed? Would you be content in this space you expect someone else to be comfortable in?
Bedding will also be necessary; pillows, sheets, blankets or duvets, towels, washcloths, hand towels.
Remember these individuals are not coming for a few weeks. They may need housing for months; maybe longer.
When we arrived in Israel it was in the middle of summer. It was so hot. We had a little fan in the room that made the difference. There was also a small above ground pool that allowed us to jump in and cool off during those really hot days.
It wouldn’t hurt to have some local maps on hand for those that don’t have smart phones. Also, a listing of the locations and information of local agencies will be helpful.
There are some resources for soup kitchens, and food pantries. I will be compiling a listing of these sometime in the near future.
Other services can be the could be offered to some is medical help, optical exams other health related services.
One of our young friends J.T. Suggested ongoing building expansion projects with help coming from on campus Aliyah applicants. Of course the same type of insurance would have to be in place that is used for volunteers.
Those that are staying in Aliyah house could and should also help in the daily care of the facility; whether large or small. Like any home they can share in the chores and up keep as long as they are physically able to do so. This should be established from the beginning with those staying in the home.
This is only a start up list of things. If you think of other things that should be added please let me know and I will place them in the list.