Here it is, the day you will finally leave your home country for the Holy Land. Excitement is flowing through your veins, and a mixture of anxiety and wonder fills your heart. It’s an incredibly important day, perhaps it should even be considered some sort of a personal holiday!
However, besides shipping your belongings and searching for a place to live in Israel, there are a few important things to do when preparing for Aliyah. In fact, they should be considered even before the big day arrives.
We have compiled a little to-do list for you to keep in mind. The list below is by no means exhaustive but they hold some of the most neglected items for an Oleh Chadash. Make sure to read them carefully:
1. Have an open mind
Doing Aliyah is great, but can also be stressful. Moving to a different country is already difficult, but we dare to say moving to Israel is a step above that, since touches upon the destiny of a Jew.
Remember that you are going to a completely different culture, where your expectations might not be readily met. If you saw our other article on understanding Israelis, you will see people here can be extraordinary. There’s also a unique way of doing things here. For example, you may find realize that bureaucracy is not set in stone as in other countries. People are willing to go the extra mile to help out Olim Chadashim even if that’s not their job.
Likewise, bureaucracy can sometimes be a real pain and people might not be so willing to help. And that’s perfectly fine as long as you keep an open mind.
2. Set up contacts
We can’t stress enough the importance of having many readily available contacts in Israel. A trustworthy mechanic, a thoughtful event planner, a go-to guy for computer repair or anyone that can provide you help with everyday tasks are invaluable to Olim Chadashim.
This is one of the beautiful aspects of living in Israel: we depend on the “realness” people more than we depend on the government or the “system”. While we may not agree with everyone on all issues, we are expected to treat everyone with respect and this can go a long way in solving any issues you might encounter.
So, be friendly and open for new acquaintances, as you never know when you might need them!
3. Have a few contingency plans
This is in line with what we spoke about above. Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. It could be human error or it could be something beyond everyone’s control.
For example, you may have set up a date to move into a rented apartment, but the previous tenant still didn’t manage to leave, forcing you to stay at a hotel nearby. Or, maybe the company you were supposed to start working for right away took someone else instead of in the meantime. Sometimes a certain road is being repaired and the bus driver simply took another route that goes away from your destination.
These unpredictable events can happen to anyone, so be sure to get a few alternatives to your schedule.
4. Check out all your benefits (and use them!)
As an Oleh Chadash, you are entitled to a variety of benefits that will make your stay much more comfortable. The Israeli Government provides Ulpan Hebrew classes for all Olim Chadashim, discount on your first car, on your first home, tax exemption for a few years, and a lot more.
These benefits are sometimes neglected by new Olim, but you should keep them in mind since they eventually expire. Sometimes they also might depend on you or your spouse going to the army.
So, be sure to check them out with the Misrad HaKlitah (Ministry of Absorption), either through their website or by calling them.
5. Learn Hebrew!
As in any other country, learning the native language is a must since not everyone speaks English here in Israel. If you know some Hebrew, that’s great. You should still go to the Ulpan courses when you come. However, if you can’t even read basic Hebrew, things can get very difficult.
Israelis are more than happy to speak English if they can, but many simply didn’t learn it.
Knowing the holy language can also help you tremendously when it comes to making friends, hiring service providers, and going around places. The more you know it in advance, the better!
Whatever the case, don’t worry, because Paveway’s got your back, and we are only one phone call or e-mail away!