Monday, September 8, 2008

Already burocracy confusion?

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

I called NBN (Nefesh b'Nefesh, an organization that helps North American and UK Jews make aliyah) to find out if I had to get any other documents besides my birth certificate apostilled (recertified, kind of)-- if I'm making the trip downtown, might as well get everything done at once, right? This is how the conversation roughly goes (not word-for-word, and after telling me I should wait to apply anyway until the new application comes out. FOr those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, here's the article on the NBN website:
In short, NBN will now "have primary operational responsibility for marketing and promotion, while the Jewish Agency will continue to be responsible for the Aliyah eligibility process with the appropriate authorities in Israel, and to pay the airfare of every new immigrant to Israel." And there will only be one application that combines the Jewish Agency and the NBN applications to fill out-- shocking DECREASE in burocracy):

NBN guy: Do you have an Israeli background?
Me: Nope, olah chadasha (new immigrant, feminine). Single, um...that's it.
NBN guy: Are you Canadian or American?
Me: American
NBN guy: I don't think you have to get the apostille; we have applications without it. Unless you're married to an Israeli or are registered there.
Me: The oleh chadash (new immigrant, masculine/generic) application says, "Copy of Civil Marriage/ Divorce/ Birth/ Death Certificate (Apostille is required - - please refer to the back of the packet for further instructions)"
NBN guy: And it doesn't say anything about if you're already registered or married to an Israeli citizen? Because that's just so they know that nothing's changed.
Me: Nope, it doesn't say anything else...
NBN guy: Ok, what I'm going to do is take down your name and number and get back to you tomorrow.
Me: ::gives name and number::
NBN guy: ::confirms name and number:: ok, I'll get back to you.

So...who knows? It says that if you make aliyah in Israel, you just have to bring your birth certificate, which was why I called them in August to find out if I needed the apostille, and they said yes, because it was for Misrad Hapnim. So we shall see, I guess.

I want to do more than plan. I'm also frustrated because I can't do anything else. I can't pack-- I need my clothes. And what-- they'll sit in suitcases for 10 months? That's ridiculous. And my stuff, ditto. If it was that expendable, I could chuck it. I'm starting to talk to OTs in Israel and make connections, but that's all at the computer or over the phone. Doesn't feel so active.
I also have to find out if I have to get my degree recognized by the Misrad Hachinuch (Ministry of Education), because Touro has a branch in Israel. If I don't, that's one less thing to have to worry about.

I also have to book my ticket. It's going to be expensive, but the next option is Iberia, which is about $400 less, with a stopover and I'm not so into the idea of flying's also not the times I need. Ditto the next theoretically feasible option, which isn't so feasible either because I have 8-hour overnight stopovers in London with nothing to do. So I'm willing to pay the extra $400 and get direct flights with the times I need. Now all I need is my paychecks to start coming. And my EI job to start.

July is looking more likely. I looked at my financial plan again, and although I still haven't gotten a paycheck and don't know how much each check will be, I'm using Sara's numbers as a guide...because she has almost the same base salary as me, and I have union dues that I don't think she has. So they pretty much even out, I'm guessing. And if I'm off, I'll find out when I get my paycheck.

Wish me luck in this adventure.

Oh, and here's a blog I found about a 22-year-old girl, Jamie/Yosefa who just made aliyah. I feel like I'm going to be looking at this blog a lot: I've read all the entries to date...I just wish there was a "contact" link on the blog. If anyone sees one, let me know. One thing she discusses is the name she put down on her teudat zehut (Israeli ID card)-- you know how everyone here walks around with their license? There everyone walks around with their teudat zehut (there's actually a law that you must carry it with you at all times). She registered as "Yosefa," which is her Hebrew name, and not "Jamie," which is her English name. This is something that's going to be the biggest "small thing" for me-- which name I use when I register as a citizen (10 months 'בעזרת ה!).
I go by Lauren-- everyone there knows me as Lauren. On the other hand, I wear my Hebrew name necklace...but if I had one that said "Lauren," would I wear that one? I usually used my Hebrew name, Esther Nechama, when I was in my Jewish classes in school and for things Jewish related. But isn't Israel the epitome of Jewish-related? On on hand, a name is supposed to be someone's essence; my Hebrew names mean "hidden" and "comfort," and Esther was a queen...nechama I always think of Shabbag Nachamu (the Sabbath after the Ninth of Av, which is the saddest day in the Jewish calendar). I guess I don't see my name as something that defines me in terms of when people see me, they don't translate my name and go, "Hmmmm...her name means _______...I see that..." And I respond to both. I go by both Lauren and Esther. I'll probably put "Lauren Nina" on my teudat zehut because...I go by it more. And just use Esther Nechama for religious things. That's it! Israel isn't about religion...I mean, it is, but not only. When I deal with misrad hapnim (Ministry of the Interior) or the kupat cholim (health insurance), it's not religious! When my father makes a mi sheberach (a kind prayer) for me when he gets an aliyah, that's religious. Misrad ha-fill-in-the-blank is not. And I go by my English name for legal stuff, non-religious stuff. I'm probably going to give my kids only one name (yes, a first and a middle, but not a Hebrew name and an English name). Anyway, it's still a minimum of 10 months before I have to decide.

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