How to Choose a Place to Live in Israel

Getting approval, saying goodbye to family and friends, and stepping off the plane is only half the battle in making Aliyah. The other half is creating a new life here for yourself and your family. One of the first things you’ll need to do is find a place to live. It is preferable to know where you’ll be living beforehand, especially if you’re bringing a lift (shipping container). But if you don’t know where you’ll be living pre-Aliyah, don’t panic. My husband and I thought we knew where we would be living and well, things changed (for the better). We stayed at an Airbnb in Jerusalem for a couple of weeks while we scoured yad2 for apartments in Yehuda & Shomron. My parents did the same thing when they made Aliyah and put their lift in storage (expensive, not ideal). That said, here are some things to look for in a community:

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Buying Our First Car in Israel

Needless to say, as olim chadashim living in the center of the Shomron without a car, life has been pretty difficult getting around and going to government appointments, the bank, etc. Add to that the fact that we’re newlyweds, and because of our busy schedules and having to bus anywhere we go, we hadn’t been able to go on a honeymoon (or even so much as a tiyul). Thus, our search for a car began.

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Obtaining an Israeli Driver’s License

To state the obvious: driving in Israel as a tourist or as an oleh chadash is scary. Mix middle eastern driving, middle eastern roads, and good ole Israeli chutzpah, and you’ve got the perfect storm for disaster. Unfortunately, you can’t take a bus everywhere. And sometimes it’s just more practical to take a car for a long-distance trip or to schlep all of your groceries from Rami Levy/Osher Ad. You can drive on your foreign license for one year from the day you entered Israel (as long as it isn’t expired). After the first year, you’ll need to have converted your driver’s license or face taking driving tests from Israeli driving instructors.

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On the Occasion of Our First Aliyah Anniversary

.ברוך אתה ה’ אלוקינו מלך העולם שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season.

Last Rosh Hashanah, I uttered this blessing in Tel Aviv’s Dan Panorama Hotel, confined to a 20 m² room for mandatory coronavirus quarantine, having arrived as an Oleh Chadash (new immigrant) from The Netherlands only a week prior. My then-girlfriend, Rachel, had made Aliyah from Texas just hours before I touched down at Ben Gurion Airport on the evening of September 10, 2020.

Madly in love and after not being able to visit each other for seven months due to COVID-19, we decided to pack our bags and go ahead with our respective long-held dreams to move to the Jewish state. 

This year, I merited to say Shehecheyanu at our family’s Rosh Hashanah meal in our dining room in Samaria — overlooking the site in Shiloh where the Mishkan (Tabernacle) stood for 369 years. הודו לה’ כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו

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