Sunday, April 02, 2017

Stories and Tips to Ease Your Transition to Israel


As my own aliyah journey unfolds, and as I continue to learn new things about how daily life works in the Holy Land, I've published lots of practical tips for managing our new lives in Israel, both on this blog and in Facebook posts.

After almost seven years in Israel, I'm ready to take these random tips, add tons more, and put them all together in a neatly-organized, practical guidebook for olim.
 

I'm envisioning a book full of tips and stories about the kinds of things olim learn from neighbors and from one another. 

Or from trial and error.  

Or just from error. 

Things like:
  • Finding trash bags that actually fit your kitchen trash can 
  • Surviving your first asifat horim (parents' meeting)
  • Figuring out which item near the sign is actually on sale
  • Cooking a vegetable you've never seen before
  • Knowing which Facebook groups are best to turn to when you need specific advice
  • Mastering the Hebrew slang that is really critical for olim
  • Learning what time of year strawberries and fresh garlic are in season
  • Adjusting to Sunday being, ahem... Israel's Monday 
  • Cleaning your floors without an American mop
My goal is to produce an encouraging guidebook, full of concrete tips as well as amusing stories. I want it to be both fun to read and truly practical.

To make this happen, I'm going to need lots of input from olim of every vintage, whether you got off your aliyah flight yesterday or have been here since before the Six Day War.

Please feel free to comment on any or all of these.

1) Do you have a funny/cute/embarrassing story of a mistake you made as a new olah/oleh? For example, did you wash your clothes in fabric softener for a year because you didn't yet know the word for detergent?

2) Do you have a serious story of a mistake you made as a new olah/oleh from which others can learn? For example, did you fail to respond to a piece of Hebrew-language mail that you really should not have ignored?

3) What's your #1 tip for living successfully in Israel, even if you've been here for years? Can be something practical or maybe a motto you've adopted.

4) What did it take you awhile to figure out that you wish someone would have explained to you from the beginning? For example, it took me almost seven years to notice that there's a difference between frozen chopped spinach and frozen spinach leaves.

So,
what small thing have you figured out about life in Israel that you'd like to pass on to newer olim?

Or what small mistake did you make that you'd like to warn others about?

Feel free to respond in the comments below, or email TipsForOlim@gmail.com.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best way IMHO is to join the army. It's the greatest melting pot into Israeli society. If you are too old to serve, then live in an Israeli neighborhood with Israeli neighbors.

Leah Berman said...

My first really funny mistake is when I was with my Israeli neighbor. It was a very very hot summer evening, and I said, in Hebrew, אני חם (ani cham), which means I am hot. She started to laugh hysterically at me, and I couldn't figure out what is it that I said was so funny. She explained to me that when you say it like that it means that you think you're sexy and hot to trot. So, the correct way to say, I am hot (due to the weather being hot) is חם לי (cham li)- actual meaning - it is hot to me. So, this is my tip for you if you don't want to embarrass yourself in public :)

My second tip is - to leave ALL of your judgments and stereotypes at the airport before you board the plane to Israel!! Seriously, this has truly helped me to adjust to life here. It's not an easy place to live, but if you are flexible, are able to go with the flow, and put all judgments aside, you will have an easier time. And, to add to this - DO NOT COMPARE Israel to how things were like in "the old country." If you do that, it will be very hard for you to acclimate to your new life here in Israel. Do seek out support if that will help you cope with obstacles that will come your way - and they will. Remember, you're in the Middle East and it's unlike anything you've experienced in your home country!

My third tip is - don't take everything so seriously!!! Develop a sense of humor and enjoy the ride!