This year’s “Oleh Week – Shavua HaOleh” is starting tomorrow. An event with music, arts and all kinds of documentaries and lectures on Israel’s history of immigration. For those of you who are interested, here is a schedule:
Generally speaking, almost every Israeli or at least his parents or grandparents made Aliyah (a Jew immigrating to Israel) at a certain point in their lives. However, I have met quite a few Israelis who told me that they look back at an ancestry of seven or more generations in the country.
I read somewhere that every year, about 2500 new immigrants (Olim) settle in Jerusalem. I assume that the vast majority actually prefers Tel Aviv due to the better job situation. Tel Aviv is expensive, rents are incredible high but there are still more jobs available than in the capital. The salary is also higher but take into consideration that you spent a lot for rent and costs of living.
On the other hand, winter is usually not as cold in Tel Aviv as it is in Jerusalem. The city at the coast is also known for its action (bars, restaurants and any event possible). However, within the past decade, Jerusalem has caught up a bit. Not only with the amount of bars and cinemas but with an increasing rent situation. Tel Aviv is still more expensive but rents are also up in Jerusalem.
Nevertheless, not every new Oleh chooses to live in these two cities. Quite a few move to Beersheva, Haifa, Carmiel or further up north. I would suggest that you travel around and look for a place suiting you. On the other hand, I heard that organizations such as Nefesh be’Nefesh does tell you where to live. At least within the first two or three years. This is what American Olim told me a few years ago and they were actually complaining about the Nefesh be’Nefesh policy. I remember a guy living in Carmiel telling me that Nefesh be’Nefesh refused letting him move to Tel Aviv. I cannot confirm that this is still the case but you should definitely ask Nefesh be’Nefesh about changing your location in Israel.
Talking about myself: After almost twenty years living in Israel (more than 14 years as a new immigrant) I can tell you that I got so used to everything here and I cannot imagine living somewhere else. The more you learn the local language, the often “crazy” mentality and build up your life, you adjust and, after a while, you realize that a life somewhere else is out of question.
On my German blog I started a series about “What is typical Israeli”. I am starting the same on this blog and let be begin by telling you:
When you make Aliyah, be flexible, improvise and learn Hebrew as fast as you can. The more you are able to communicate in Hebrew, the more you will get adjusted and feel at home. Find new friends. Especially Israelis who can always help you out with advice and where to go and how to manage what.
Don’t wait until someone may show up and take you by the hand because you will be waiting in vain. Even if red tape is a pain in something, don’t give up and try again and again and again. If something doesn’t work out, Israelis don’t sit around and cry but immediately start improvising and looking for other possibilities.