Question 1 – I am an american Jew, in Israel for the first time. I’ve been here about two weeks. In that time, I’ve felt more comfortable here than anywhere else. I am seriously thinking about making aliyah. Any suggestions for acclimating to a new life in Israel?
Good to hear you feel at home here! I felt the same way and never regret my Aliyah for a minute.
Let’s see, what would be good to have when starting a new life in Israel?
Patience, Hebrew and knowing your rights and privileges would be good places to start.
You can get by without Hebrew very easily, especially when you know English, but it makes a huge difference when trying to make Israeli friends. Learning Hebrew as best and as fast as possible will give you the best chance of having a successful Aliyah.
If you don’t know Hebrew/or not familiar with Israeli huztpah, you’ll need to be patient when dealing with everyday life of an Oleh Hadash (New Immigrant); Dealing with the bank, landlord, municipality, health services. None of these things seem to work like they do in western countries, mainly because of the Israeli mentality. Queuing up in line will become a thing of the past. Don’t fight life here because you wont win, try and go with the flow and things will work out.
Knowing your rights and privileges is very useful. As an Oleh Hadash you receive certain tax exemptions, and many other financial benefits such as monthly payments directly into your bank account. This relieves a huge burden especially when you are trying to find a job and apartment.
For me, joining the army was the best thing I could have done to adjust to Israel. I learnt Hebrew, met amazing friends, learnt the culture first hand and, I feel because of it, I was no longer an outsider. The effects I still feel to this day.
I hope this was of some help to you.
All the best for the future.