Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Embrace It

The summer is here which means seven planeloads of Nefesh B'Nefesh Olim are coming in, including my brother and his fam. Here's my one piece of unsolicited advice.

EMBRACE THE CULTURE AROUND YOU

There are many olim here that I feel the only difference between their life in America and here is that they now have a smaller house and les income. They get understandably bitter, and either they go back to America or give off negative aliyah vibes. Here's some thoughts of mine on how to avoid being the bitter olim.

Go to the Army or do some form of National Service-You are going to be living here, and your kids are going to be growing up here and able to move around freely because the army is watching out for you. You owe it to the soldiers who are watching over you and will be/are watching over your kids, that you will take your turn and watch over them. An added benefit is that it's an easy way to become a part of the culture and society here.

Live in an Israeli or at least a Mixed Community-MyShan has a friend who told her before a test that she's nervous because the Hebrew level is so high on the exam. Shan asked her when she made aliyah, and the girl answered that she was BORN here and lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh. It's hard to make aliyah, even harder to have to speak a foreign language in addition to everything else. It's much easier to move into a "mini-America" where they sell all the same products you're used to, and everyone speaks English. But you will forever be handicapped. While almost everyone speaks English, you miss out a lot by not knowing Hebrew. Once you're settled in your Anglo community, it will be a lot harder to make friends with the natives. I have friends who came here for a few years and left since they found it too hard to live here. They also lived in a very American area, and the only native Israeli they ever met was my wife. Adapt yourself to your sorroundings.

Read a Hebrew Paper-The Jerusalem Post is a very good paper, but it is geared for people who dont live here. Reading Yediot or Maariv will help you with hebrew, and also you'll know what people around you are thinking. If you want more tznua/rightwing, go with Makor Rishon.

Be Aware-It can be very frustrating to wake up one day and not have any water. It's less frustrating if you read the sign that had been posted a week earlier that they are cutting off your water for half a day to work on the pipes. If you have to go to an office, call and make sure exactly what documents to bring. If they dont mention something that you think might be needed, bring it anyway. It's a lot better to bring extra papers thento be told, "oops, you do need that document. Come back when you have it."

I'm sure there's more, but I have to go study.

4 Comments:

Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

The Shan story is absolutely hilarious! I can't believe that actually happened. That is priceless. You can say the same thing about people who come from Mexico or Puerto Rico, then move to Spanish Harlem and never feel the need to learn English. That way, they never integrate into society and never travel outside their comfort zone. Why bother moving to Israel if you're not really going to live there? Great post. The only problem is the Army/National Service one. What about people who make Aliyah after they're of age to join the Army or Sheirut Leumi? What can they do, or can they every do anything to make up for that lack of experience? You know the old saying used to be that you can never be truly Israeli is you didn't serve. I'm not so sure that's totally true anymore.
-OC

3:39 PM  
Blogger menachem said...

or you can do what i do: make aliya to learn english lit, work at IDT, and live in katemon with all the americans.

but at least i did a whole maslul in the army

9:39 PM  
Blogger 2R said...

hey some of us can work in IDT and speak in Hebrew :)

11:04 PM  
Blogger Emah S said...

Great post. We're also going to be on the July 5 flight, but are planning to live in an area where we will be among mostly an Israeli crowd....in Mevasseret Zion. With the added plus that hubby grew up in Israel from age 9 and most of our friends are israeli, I think we're on the right track. Thanks for the confirmation of that! :) Hatzlacha l'achicha!

2:43 PM  

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