Buying a Vehicle in Israel

If you are anything like me you like the independence of having your own car.  Yes, Israel does have a pretty decent public transportation system but car ownership has a certain freedom which I enjoy.

First things first, if you want a new car then you need to have all the money up front.  If you are a new Olim you will not be able to get a car loan until you have been in the land for 4 years.  The possible exception to that would be if you have money in the bank and the bank loans against that money in a savings account.  I’m sure there are other exceptions.  This is just what I have encountered and was told.

Another thing you might want to know when thinking about a vehicle purchase is that people here don’t always respect your car.  I have seen many new cars with dents and scratches; which to me would be very upsetting considering the cost of a new car.

One time while in Tel Aviv my husband and I were going down a side street and we saw a car park in a spot that was too small for it.  It was like watching a tv show.  He banged the car in the back and banged the car in the front, just for a spot.  We were both astonished by this behavior.   As we say, “Only in Israel.”

I did write a blog about getting your drivers license here.

When purchasing a car you need to shop.  Know what you are looking for and price them.  Prices can very several thousand shekels for the same make and year car; so know what you are getting.  Nothing too much to know as far as purchasing.  Make sure if you don’t know about cars you get it checked out.  Ask to see the car maintenance ledger.  Certain cars are taxed less if they are purchased in Eilat. Title transfer fee is 300NIS cash done at the post office.

You might pay as much for your Car Insurance as your car depending on where you purchase it.  There are 3 parts to car insurance.  The first part is required by law.  The 2nd and 3rd part are not required but may be recommended.  In all, you may pay 2,500 NIS or more for car insurance.

In Israel all cars are required to go through an annual inspection.  The cost ranges a little based on the size of the vehicle.  I believe it starts around 1,200 shekels.  Plus the small 100 NIS fee you pay for the inspection.

When purchasing a car it is good to know when the inspection date is.  Some people try to unload their cars before the inspection date because they don’t want to fix something or pay inspection.  If a car doesn’t have a current inspection it is better to stay away from it and move on to the next one.  If it’s January and the inspection isn’t  due until August or September, that’s good.

Parking stickers are very necessary in Israel.  This country loves to give parking tickets!  I never had any in my life of driving 45 years until I came to Israel.  Each city municipality has a parking sticker for free or purchase.  It’s worth it to purchase it.  One ticket is at least 100 NIS.  Unfortunately, here in Israel you don’t see many parking meter boxes where you pay for a timed ticket to place in your car window; there are some but not many, especially in Tel Aviv/Jaffa.  They have a program called Pango you download on your phone, you have to have it set it up and activate it every time you park somewhere there is the parking sign.  I was told that there is supposed to be a new system  to come out where you can purchase a card at a convenience store and add money to it.  This is especially good for tourist because Pango requires you to have a Tuedot Zeut.  If you have to go into one of the large cities like Tel Aviv most people drive to the outskirts park in a proper parking zone and bus into the city or walk.   Some things are easier to do on foot in these places.

**Freebie – In Israel if you have two cars in your name and you need to have some form of assistance from Bitach Leumi you will not get it.  Just something to keep in mind.

Driving in Israel is safe and they have nice highways in most places.  There are some places you cannot get to unless you have a car.  It is an individual choice.  Of course, as Israeli’s there are some places we cannot drive and there are huge signs telling you where you cannot enter.  Enough said on that.

One last thing, bicycling in Israel is nice just remember there are hills and mountains here.  It is nice to have the bikes with the batteries on them to get up those hills.  This is also another popular option for getting around the city.  If you have a bike and you were considering bringing it to Israel do so.  Bikes here are rather expensive.

 

 

 

 

Renting a home or apartment in Israel

Renting a home or apartment in Israel

Renting an apartment or home in Israel can be a challenging experience unless you are aware of how it works.

In Israel the Realtor gets paid first.  When using a realtor to locate a property be aware that they will get paid the equivalent of one month’s rent before the Landlord (Balibite) gets paid for their first month.  Usually this will take place at the same time.  Sometimes if you ask upfront the realtor will let you make a few payments to them but you have to clarify this in the beginning.

Another very important thing to do is get all repairs that you see are necessary in writing.  They (realtors) won’t tell you about them and if you notice them they will tell you they will get the landlord to take care of the problems.  Get it in writing from the landlord when you are signing the contract.  Even the nicest of landlords have memory loss when it comes to spending money on repairs.  They may say you can fix the problems and they will deduct it from the rent.  Remember, the time you spend fixing the problem also has a price along with the materials.  They (landlords) like Americans because we generally fix things to make them nice; which increases the value of their property. Make sure you are compensated for the repair work you do.  Take pictures and keep receipts.

There is a common light hanging problem here in Israel.  I haven’t quite figured out why they leave a light fixture hanging from the wires in the ceiling.  Unfortunately this is very common.  Maybe they think the renters will put in their own lighting so they leave it that way.  I’m not sure at this point.

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Appliances are generally not included in a rental property.  Including refrigerators, ovens, stoves and washing machines.  It is a real blessing if these things are already in the property you are looking to rent.  Otherwise be prepared to schlepp these things around with you along with your furniture and belongings.

Arnona is also an added expense renters pay for in Israel.  Arnona is the property tax and owners in Israel make the renters pay for it.  Very rarely the landlord will include it in your rent but either way you pay it.  It can be up to almost half a months rent you pay bimonthly.  There is a benefit for new Olim for one year on this.  You can receive between 70 to 90% discount on the Arnona with the presentation of your Tuedot Oleh card to the Arnona office in your city.

Renting in an apartment? Find out if there is a Vaud fee.  That is a property maintenance fee.  Usually for keeping the exterior of the apartment complex and stairways clean.  This another added expense and depending on the building it can be quite expensive so make sure you find out how much this fee is.

Then there is gas, water and electric. Make sure you take pictures of the meter readings when you are about to move in to your new place.  You will need these numbers to give to the appropriate companies for proper billing; again you will need to take these numbers again when you are ready to move out.  Your realtor or landlord should help you with gathering this information.  Sometimes the landlord needs to give you a letter with a copy of their Tuedot Zeut to present to the water company to be able to place the bill in your name.

There are benefits to renting in Israel.  If there are major problems with the property; plumbing, electrical or structural that is the landlord’s problem and not yours.  They are responsible to fix these things.  If they are a good landlord they will.

Renting in Israel is not so bad as long as you are aware of how it works.  If you are not sure where you are to settle and buy a place, renting is the way to go.  Plus, the true nuances of a city take a while to find out.  Rent first, then buy if you find you really like the area.

I hope this will help.

 

Considering Aliyah?

Are you considering making Aliyah?  There is an easy way and a hard way.  I think we chose the hard way.  However, we really didn’t consider making Aliyah until we were here in the land.

I believe the Jewish people are to return to the land of Israel.  It is part of the promise that HaShem gave us.  He said He would bring us back to the land from the places we were scattered.

Some of the papers you will need.  Birth Certificates, Rabbi Letter,  Marriage license (if married), Back ground check, Education Degrees and proof, drivers license and letters from Insurance companies showing claims ( this will be for car insurance if you purchase a vehicle; these don’t need appostille.).  All papers must be Apostilled by the State where the originals are from.

The more information the better.  Depending upon your age and what you are planning to do in Israel, will determine what other documents you might need.

There are programs for youths under 25 to come to Israel on a special trip to view the country, I believe it is called Birthright Israel.

Young people around 20-22 are required to join IDF.  HMMM…I didn’t fall into that category.

Each country has agencies that help with the process of making Aliyah from your home country.  In America it is Nefesh B Nefesh.  I believe if you are approved through this agency your flight to Israel is paid for, as well as, funds await you right when you arrive.

Like I said in a previous post, it is better if you can arrange your lodging before you arrive.  If not make sure you start with a temporary place so you can travel around Israel and find the region that best suits you.

If you can learn some Hebrew before you come that will be helpful to you.  You can get by with English but if you want to work in a career Hebrew is usually necessary; Google Translate proved to be very helpful.

You might also want to set up a way to make sure you can access funds from where you are leaving;  in the event you need to have others help out while you are getting established.  Banking is different here than in the US.

Our experience was personal.  Every experience is unique. I sincerely hope that if you decide to make Aliyah you do not experience the delays, disappointments and setbacks we did.  If we, could of, should have, would have….things would have been different.  I learned so I can share.

Having money when you come also helps.  Housing can be expensive.  Depends where you decide to live.  You can find apartments from 1500 NIS a month to as high as you want to go.  Just depends where you want to live.  Be prepared to get a refrigerator, oven, microwave, stove, washing machine, closet, bed, dressers, furniture and light fixtures.  Yes, I said light fixtures; they are not included in most apartments in Israel.  You can occasionally find partly furnished apartment which can be very helpful to start with.  Our first apartment had the basics in it.  A bed, a closet, some broken couches (we fixed), dining table and chairs, a stove, fridge and washing machine.  We purchased a little toaster oven to start.  (I felt like I was cooking in with a Betty Crocker oven but it was better than nothing.)  There were also a couple of plates, silverware, cups and pans, sheets, and towels.  This makes a difference when you are starting with nothing.  You don’t think about these things until you need them.  If you have to buy them it will add up in a hurry.

If you move with a plan you can bring things that you will need with you.  I believe they give you a customs discount.  We, however, didn’t plan to do this so we weren’t prepared.

I hope I answered some more questions you might have.  If you have other question put them in the comments section and I will try to answer them.

Shalom.

 

 

Ulpan (Hebrew school)

Ulpan (Hebrew school)

As part of new Olim Absorption Basket you are entitled to go to Ulpan (Hebrew School).

The course is paid for but you do have to purchase the book for 50 NIS.  In some cases there are two books to purchase if you get both Aleph and Bet courses.  (Something they did not tell us about).

Unfortunately for me, I was in a class that was focused toward Russian speakers.  Not that I have anything against that but the problem was I was not learning Hebrew.  Better consideration needs to be given to English speaking students.  At least in the region where I live.

I was pressing in, spending hours of extra study at home as well as the five hours a day, four days a week in class.  But it was very draining.  I couldn’t imagine me continuing in this for six months.  The final decision was made for me to leave this particular class when I woke up from a dream saying, “dasvidanyia”; which is Russian for “goodbye”.  So I quit.  I didn’t like leaving the class but believe I will be able to get into another one better suited for me.

Israeli Drivers License and Health Insurance

Since the information I have on these is brief I decided to write a short blog with important information that was not easily available.

Israeli Drivers license can be easy received by new Olim if you can prove that you have at least 5 years driving history where you came from.  This is a new law and was only in-acted in 2017.  So many website have not been updated with this new information.

Steps:

  1. Previous drivers license showing at least five years prior driving history.  In my case I had to show two drivers licenses because my old one had just renewed and didn’t show five years.
  2. You have to have this “green sheet”.  You receive this from and Optician. It cost fifty shekels.  They do a brief eye exam, take your picture and your money and give you a paper you must take with you to the Ministry of Transportation (Misrad Harishui).
  3. You also must have with you your Teudat Oleh and Teudat Zehut.
  4. Cost is: 430 NIS for 10 year license.  Which you pay at the Post Office.

 

Health Insurance

You are given a letter from the Absorption Ministry.  It doesn’t look like much but you need it.

You take that letter and your Teudot Oleh and Teudot Zehut to the Post office with 16 NIS cash and pay there.

There are four main health care plans to choose from, I listed three.  I’m not sure what they all offer.  I understand they are basic and pretty much the same.  If you need extra insurances you will have to pay more for those special features.

The main Insurances are:

  1. Maccabe
  2. Clalit
  3. Leumit

The Ministry of Absorption has people there to help you with questions in the community you live in.  Make use of them.

 

Difference Between Teudot Zehut and Teudot Oleh

Difference Between Teudot Zehut and Teudot Oleh

When you are approved for citizenship by Israel they issue you a Teudot Zehut in the Ministry of Interior offices.  They gave me a printed one, as well as, their new Bio Card; which you receive in the mail in about two weeks.

I don’t exactly know what features are in the Bio card.  They take a picture of you in their offices and finger print your two pointer fingers; left hand and right.

I am assuming there is some kind of chip and that when they take your picture you are now put into their facial recognition files.

Other than that I don’t know because all the papers you sign are in Hebrew, so unless you read Hebrew you have no idea what you signed.

The clerk did not tell us about the next step or the Absorption Basket or where we get it unless we asked.  So we knew to ask.

Next step is making an appointment with the Aliyah Absorption Center.  You need to do this immediately because you need the ID they give you, the Teudot Oleh, to open a bank account.  Which you want to do because they give new Olim a stipen for six months to help you while you get settled.

You also need your Teudot Oleh to get the discount on Arnona (which is apt. or house tax) for a year.

They also requested the Teudot Oleh when getting and Israeli drivers license.

Also as part of your Absorption basket you get Health Insurance (which you also need Teudot Oleh for) for a year.  You also are able to receive a voucher for Ulpan (Hebrew class).

I will explain briefly about the Drivers License and Health Insurance in a separate blog.

 

Finally! Citizenship!

Finally!  Citizenship!

After 17 months of battling finally I have received my Teudot Zeut and Teudot Oleh!

In October of 2016 our Aliyah experience began.  We had nothing to start with.  No papers, no proof.

I believed I and my husband were to make Aliyah.  So I believed what was in my heart to move forward with the process.  I believe if HaShem wanted me here He would provide the necessary papers I would need.

I had help in the US from family members who helped with research and made request to the different agencies of the papers I would need.

To my amazement my mother had done a family history and some of the information I needed was included in her research.

Then I had to get the apostilled documents.  I only had time to get one original US apostille and that was for my birth certificate.  The rest of the papers, back ground checks were official documents but they were not appostilled.

When I received them (the papers) here in Israel I went to a notary here and he notarized they were official documents and then I went to the court where a judge apostilled them.  I submitted these papers to the Ministry of Interior and they were accepted, at first.

We waited through November, no response.

We went to the Ministry of Interior in December, no answer.

In the meantime we had to move from where we were staying and HaShem used individuals to help us for a day here, five days at another place, a month here, a few months at another place, a few weeks at another place…..

Our second visa was about to expire in the beginning of January so we went again to the Ministry of Interior.  I was told at this time a needed a rabbi letter.  The clerk was also very rude to my husband.  He renewed our visa for another 3 months at the cost of 175 NIS each.  Which now we had paid for the third time.

Faced with a need for a Rabbi letter I was forced to jump another hurdle.  I didn’t know a rabbi.  I didn’t know how I was supposed to get a rabbi letter.  I was raised secular so this required me to do more research and pressing in.  I began with my mother.  Where did she go synagogue when she was a child?  She remembered after some time and speaking with her sister.

When I went to locate that synagogue on the internet I found it was closed.  It had merged with another synagogue many years earlier.  I contacted the new combined synagogue and found out the rabbi was on vacation…for 6 months! Now what??  I asked the secretary if she knew of another rabbi I could speak to and she recommended one in a nearby Shul in the same city.

I called this Rabbi and told him my dilemma.  He asked me to send the records I had and he would review them and write me a letter!  This was a miracle!

The Rabbi wrote me the letter.  He sent a copy by email and mailed the original directly to the Ministry of Interior.  They didn’t get it.  It was returned to him.  So, then I had him mail it to me.  Again, it didn’t get to me.  Third time I had him mail to another person and we finally received it after it didn’t matter because by this time the Ministry of Interior decided to deny my Aliyah on the basis of not showing proof of enough Jewishness.  Even though, they had a faxed copy of the rabbi letter.  They additionally told us we had to leave the country and refile from outside of the country.  This was done very deceitfully.  The clerk told us our papers had arrived and he needed proof of where we lived so he could give us our papers.  So we got the proof and rushed into the Ministry offices expecting to be approved only to be handed a denial letter.  It was very disappointing to say the least.

Major problem, we didn’t have anything to go back to in the States.  We prayed.  We felt very strongly we were to stay and fight.  We went to a couple of attorneys.  They wanted a lot of money to file an appeal; which we didn’t have.  We were also advised that if we filed an appeal we would not have to leave Israel.  So I put together an appeal and filed it with two different offices in the Ministry of Interior.  I faxed it, I sent it certified letter and received no response from them.

I made phone calls.  I had attorneys call.  I had Jewish agency call.  I had Nefesh B Nefesh call.  Nothing.  It was dead.  This went on for months.  There was also something else that was going on.  People would make attempts to help us and then suddenly drop us like a hot potatoe.  No explanation.  Just nothing.

In the meantime I ask the Rabbi who had wrote my first letter to rewrite a new one that had more information in it.  (Listed in Rabbi letter blog)

We had been living by faith all this time.  We had run out of funds months earlier.  People let us stay in a room in their apartments.  This was really getting wearisome.  We moved to a different part of Israel in May and was able to get into an apartment.  Again, we had to figure out how we would pay the bills, but HaShem supplied the funds.  Odd jobs and goodwill from individuals in Israel, from other countries and family enabled us to press on.  We furnished our apartment with things people would throw out.  They discard a lot of good things here in Israel so my husband and I would fix things, clean them and use them.  I would need something.  I would pray and ask HaShem for it and then my husband would find it.  It was really awesome how Elohim was taking care of us.  Very personal.

Finally in November I was able to get through to the clerk in the Ministry of Interior and ask what did they do with all the papers we sent.  He said, “What papers?”  I was floored! They had been discarding everything I was sending right into the trash bin!  So because they never addressed that I made an appeal we were now illegally in Israel.  Yes, I had all the proof of everything I sent but that didn’t matter to them.

In the meantime I met a wonderful Israeli who helped translate my family history into Hebrew.  So now I had to fight fear and go into the Ministry of Interior with my papers once again.  I was concerned.  I didn’t want to be arrested but I couldn’t continue living in this state of limbo.  I had to have answers one way or another.

So I went with my Israeli friend to the Ministry office in another city since the one I had first gone to lied to me I didn’t want to deal with that clerk anymore.  Plus we had moved and they want you to go to the office where you live.

Although the Rabbi had written me a new letter I had never received it in the mail.  The Ministry of Interior wanted an original.  So this wonderful Rabbi sent by UPS the letter I needed.  The woman at the Ministry Office was upset with me for letting this go on for so long.  She was upset that I had put myself in such a situation.  I tried to show her all the papers I sent but she wasn’t interested.  They had closed my file back in March, which I had no idea, and I had to refile.

I gave her the new papers. The papers in Hebrew and my new Rabbi letter.  Within a week they had approved my Rabbi letter and asked for my appostille background check, which was already accepted and in the original file which they had.  Talk about frustrating! They didn’t accept what I had already submitted.  I had to mail my original back ground checks back to US to get them appostilled from there and sent back.  I sent them Nov. 27, 2017.  I didn’t received them back until February 1, 2018.  Talk about having to have patience.

In the meantime we experienced hurt by a close friend, someone who had been walking through a good part of this journey with us.  So it wasn’t just Aliyah it was more than that.  I know HaShem wanted all the glory.

During this process of waiting we ran out of money and food.  I put in some calls for help to people who are supposed to help with Aliyah.  No help.  No answers to text messages.  Just one person who got the picture that we needed help for the last leg of this journey.  She put out a call to help from people in other countries.  It was wonderful, amazing! People we didn’t know came to our rescue.  Money came in. Another woman paid our rent! HaShem is faithful!

I went into the Ministry of Interior on the next business day with my apostille papers and they were willing to give me my Tudot Zeut but not my husband.  I was going to wait for us both to get the papers but my husband insisted I get mine, so I did.

It has now been almost four weeks since I receive my papers and we still haven’t heard an answer on my husbands papers.  To me, this is not victory until we are both approved.

To God be all the Glory!  He has encouraged us and continues to encourage us as we press forward in this new life.  This is something He chose for us.  We did not choose it.  In the process we have seen God’s divine provision, protection, love and favor.

If HaShem has put in your heart to do something you must trust that He will bring it to completion.

 

Another Dilemma

Another Dilemma

We have found as we go through the Aliyah process a series of trials.  Only the Persistent prevail.

I had finally received the approval of my coveted “rabbi” letter by the Ministry of Interior.  Only to be told I needed documentation I already gave them, and they received; to be resubmitted.  Not only would they not receive the originals and the apostilled documents they way they had been received before but I had to send my originals back to the US to be apostilled there.  It has been three weeks and they have still not arrived with certified letter post!  So prepare for aggravation, more grey hair and to wait, and wait, and wait.

What is also upsetting is that there are many agencies that raise funds for people making Aliyah.  Except they can’t give the funds to you to help you in the waiting process.  They are restricted to give it to people who have already been approved which does not help the people who are in the land going through the process; which there are plenty of.

And really, the people who have been approved get benefits from Israel.  So they receive financial help.  The Aliyah centers actually charge new Olim to stay in their facilities.  Not much discounted either.  To be fare, you may find some Aliyah houses who will house you for 1 to 3 weeks for free.  Check online prices for apartments before you come.  Even houses can be reasonable to rent in the right part of the country.  You don’t need to live in a kibbutz or in a receiving center.  You would be better off finding a place to stay before you come.

I did not know I would be making Aliyah until I came to the land.  Therefore I did not have any of the papers necessary in advance from the States.  The more you have done there the better.

Get everything Apostilled.  Marriage License, Birth Certificates, Background Checks, Education Degrees.  The more the better.  Then if they ask for it you have it.  Of course there are agencies in the States that will help with that if you file before you go.  Then it is easy.

But if you are like me and many others prepare to have people to help you in the States as Ministry of Interior has you jump through hoops to get your citizenship.  Also,  financial backers are very helpful during the process.

We have had to go through a lot because we didn’t have the finances to just make things easy.

Because of my experience I want to be able to help others through the process, even if it is just with information.

Also, it is important to know.  Aliyah houses are temporary.  They are places for you to get a feel for the land.  See for yourself where you want to plant yourself.  Find a job.  You are expected to move out in a short time.  The support they give you is also temporary.  It is just for you to get your bearings.   There are plenty of agencies that will help you find housing, take Hebrew classes, find jobs and get involved in the community.  Many people speak English and the number is increasing.  So don’t be scared or apprehensive.

Israel is different from the USA.  It is a Middle-eastern country.  The mindset here is different.  Don’t expect it to be like America because it is not.  Not that it is so bad, just different.

 

 

Getting a Rabbi letter

One of the most important documents you will need to have with your Aliyah papers is a letter from a Rabbi.

The letter must have the following information included.  The more information the better.

  • Confirmation of Communal affiliation.
  • Confirm Jewish by birth
  • Any kind of proof through records or clergy or statement thereof
  • Personal and historical connection
  • Lineage – Have the letter state the names of Mother/Father, Grandparents….etc.
  • The letter must be signed by a Rabbi recognized by the Ministry of Interior in Israel. (there is a special list)

The more information the better.  My first Rabbi letter did not have all this information, it could have.  I wasn’t told what needed to be on it.  It has caused denial and delays because I lacked the information.  Hopefully, this will help others not have the same pitfall.

I was raised knowing I was Jewish but we lived secular so I didn’t have knowledge of everything I needed.  I believe others like me are out there so I’m just making you aware.

Shalom.

 

Starting an Aliyah house.

Starting an Aliyah house.

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.