Monday, September 29, 2008


I'm spending the chagim-- all of them-- at home. I usually go away, at least for Simchas Torah, but this year I'm going to be home.
It's going to be weird anyway, with Bubby and Zaidy being by Doda and Uncle David part of the time, but I might as well take in as much as I can, right?
There's a part of me that's going, "Um...there's still a chance you're not moving in July, in which case you'll be here next year for the chagim..." but I'm ignoring it.

I keep thinking there are these "lasts," but on the other hand, July is so far away...but...not. The chagim do only come once a year, and I am planning on July...which means these would be the last chagim as usual. Sort of...

*Talia's comment: I keep doing that in my head with lasts, only its with getting married instead of making aliyah... but it is such a weird feeling!*

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I must be freaking crazy

There was another pigua about 50 minutes ago, at Kikar Tzahal, in Jerusalem. An Arab drove into a crowd of people, at last HNN check, 1 person was injured seriously, 4 moderate, and 13 light.
I must be freaking crazy if I still want to move there...

I was talking to the other therapists, and the reaction I got was, "But isn't it dangerous?" No kidding...sort of. I guess the whole country could technically be considered a war zone...
That made me think about Mercaz HaRav, and made me sort of think, "Well, should I be scared? Is there what to be scared of?" I talked to Jaffe about this-- figured he'd dealt with this quite a bit and he seemed like the logical person to talk to. And he pointed out that I was used to it. Which I guess I am. But...still...scary and odd that I can get used to looking at every Arab as if he or she is a potential candidate to kill me.

You'd think that if someone has a work permit, then they're ok and not going to try to kill you, but you never know now, I guess. Actually, this one wasn't a tractor (bulldozer), it was just a car.

Remind me again why Israel has such a grip on me that I cry over it, yet I'm somewhat scared to be moving there?

Monday, September 15, 2008

If I didn't love this place so much, I'd stay in America

For a while there was a suspension on the licensing of occupational therapists. Well now there is a ruling(taken from the Nefesh B'Nefesh website):

Professional Certification

The Ministry of Health is now requiring anyone with less than 5 years of work experience in your field in Israel, to take an exam and do an internship (“stage”). The five year period must be completed by January 30, 2010.

The Ministry of Health is in the process of clarifying the details pertaining to this new law, including: what constitutes work experience in your field in Israel, the dates of the exam, the content of the exam, study materials, etc. Nefesh B’Nefesh is in contact with the Ministry of Health and as we learn additional information, we will post it on the web site.

You can find the Ministry of Health’s summary of the law (in Hebrew) at:

Nefesh B’Nefesh translated the Hebrew text on the Ministry of Health web site (below). Please note that this translation has not been reviewed or approved by the Ministry of Health. In case of any specific question or lack of clarity in the translation, please refer to the original Hebrew text online on the Ministry of Health site.

Professional Recognition for Para-Medical Professions

[Translation as of September 10, 2009]

Law of Professional Recognition for Health Professions for 2008

On July 30th, 2008, the Law of Professional Recognition for Health Professions, 2008 was publicized. The law will be valid as of January 30th, 2009. At present, the Ministry of Health is making the necessary preparations in order to put this law into effect. This document is designed to provide guidance for individuals who are interested in receiving recognition from the Ministry of Health. If there are instances where this document contradicts the text of the law itself, the law itself is binding.

Starting on January 1, 2009, it will be possible to receive professional recognition through the Department of Licensing of Medical Professions for the following fields: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dieticians.

Requests for recognition should be submitted through local Ministry of Health offices. Residents of Jerusalem, Akko, Nazareth, Zefat, Afulah, Tiberias and Beer Sheva should send their requests in registered mail directly to the Department for Licensing of Medical Professions at the following address:

Ha’Agaf L’Rishuoy Miktso’ot Refu’iyim

Misrad Habriut

Rechov Ben Tabai 2



Graduates who completed recognized academic degree programs in one of the aforementioned fields, in an institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel or in an institution abroad that is recognized by the Council, can submit a request for degree recognition. The following documents must be included with the request:

1. 3 passport pictures.
2. 2 copies of your Teudat Zehut, including the appendix with your address (“sefakh”).
3. Final diploma in one of the medical professions listed above, or a certificate from the university indicating completion of studies, fulfillment of all of the university’s requirements and eligibility for a diploma in the relevant field, which will be granted at a specified date.
4. Official certification indicating the start and end date of studies.
5. Official certification of completion of an internship (“stage”) or, alternatively, for people who studied abroad, official certification about work done in the field abroad, with a valid license, for at least one year.
6. In the relevant situations: Official certifications of work experience, from the relevant medical institutions, indicating the start and end date of work in each institution.
7. For graduates who studied abroad: A letter of professional honesty from the appropriate body in the country that you made Aliyah from, proving that the applicant never received complaints about discipline, negligence or professional ethics.
8. An application form.
9. An application requesting to be tested in the relevant field.


1. Copies much be validated by an Israeli notary. Documents that are not written in Hebrew or Arabic, must be translated to Hebrew using a recognized translator in Israel.
2. All documents must be submitted in two copies. If the copies have been validated by a notary in Israel or translated to Hebrew by an Israel-recognized translator, you must submit the notarized copy plus an additional copy.

Granting degree recognition using conditions that are more lenient –

Rules relating to the transitional period:

To have your degree recognized, you must meet the following requirements.

1. Over the age of 18.
2. Israeli citizenship or Israeli resident.
3. Not carrying an infectious disease.
4. No conviction in Israel or abroad of criminal or disciplinary action, which (due to the nature, severity or circumstances surrounding the action), led to loss of eligibility for recognition as a medical professional. (No indictment of this kind has been initiated or submitted, even if it is still in process and has not been completed.)
5. Speech therapists: Basic knowledge of Hebrew.

In addition, you must fall into one of the following categories:

Category A: If you have a certificate indicating that you are recognized.

1. You fall into this category if you have a certificate indicating that you are recognized on a permanent or temporary basis. The certificate must have been valid as of July 22, 2005.
2. This is adequate provided that you submit a request for certification prior to January 30, 2010.

Category B: If you have academic background in a health-related field and five years of experience in the field in Israel

1. You fall into this category if you have a recognized academic degree in a health-related field from a recognized institution.
2. You must have worked in the field (for a fairly substantive number of hours per week) for at least five years in Israel (until January 30, 2009).
3. You must prove that you have knowledge and experience in the field.
4. This is adequate on condition that you submit a request for recognition until January 30, 2010.

Category C: If you have academic background in a health related field, without five years of experience in the field in Israel

1. You fall into this category is you have a recognized academic degree in a health-related field, from a recognized institution.
2. You must have worked in the field in Israel (until January 30, 2009).
3. You must prove that you have knowledge and experience in the field.
4. You are eligible to receive temporary certification which will be valid until July 30, 2010.
5. In order to receive permanent certification you will need to complete an internship (“stage”) and an exam.
6. Receipt of permanent certification in this instance, may also be dependent on additional considerations.

Category D: If you do not have an academic degree in a health-related field, but you do have five years of experience in the field in Israel

1. You fall into this category if you worked in the field (for a fairly substantive number of hours per week) for at least five years, in Israel (until January 30, 2009).
2. You must have appropriate academic background, knowledge and experience.
3. You must take a special exam, prior to January 30, 2011.
4. This is adequate on condition that you submit a request for certification until January 30, 2010.
5. Receipt of certification in this instance, may also be dependent on completing additional studies in a recognized institution for higher education, completion of an internship and passing additional exams.

Category E: If you started your studies in a non-academic program which is recognized by this body

1.You fall into this category if you started your studies until January 30, 2009, in a non-academic track that is recognized by this body for the purposes of professional certification recognition, and if you will complete your studies before July 30, 2012.

2.You must pass a special exam.

3.You must complete an internship (“stage”) and pass the (regular) exam.

4.This is adequate provided that you submit a request at least a year prior to completing studies.

5.Receipt of certification in this instance, may also be dependent on completing additional studies in an institution for higher education, completion of an internship and additional exams.

So I don't know what this means for me practically. I emailed someone from the employment office at NBN and am waiting to hear back. I know I have a headache now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Definitely too good to be true

Technically the misrad hapnim DOES want an apostille, but since I'm not Israeli nor am I married to one, it's less of an issue. I should have it, but in the past people have been able to make aliyah without it. Knowing me, I'll probably get it just to be on the safe side.
Also when I go to Touro to pick up my diplomas (whenever that happens) I have to get copies of my transcripts...probably will get 2, to be on the safe side. That way when Israel loses one I'll have another.

I booked my ticket back to Israel for winter break, for my pilot, weird to be saying that. It is to look into things there and make connections and talk to people, but also to enjoy myself and just being back. So it's a trip. In probably all senses of the word. I leave Newark at 3:50 pm on Dec. 24 and get into Ben Gurion at 9:15 am on Dec. 25, and leave Ben Gurion at 11:40 pm on Jan. 4 and get into Newark at 4:55 am on Jan. 5 (which leaves me 3 hours to get from Newark to my school). It was expensive, but the next acceptable airline was about $1700, but because of the connections it would be 16 hours one way and 22 hours the other...and I'd have to get in in Sunday. So I sprang for the extra $300 and got direct flights with the times I need. Now to plan my itinerary...tomorrow. Bedtime now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

mostly cross-posted from my other LJ...

I created this blog for my Israel trip(s). I've decided to continue it and transform it into an aliyah blog.
That blog will have all my things about aliyah. It feels appropriate, seeing as these trips were the ones that really cemented my aliyah.

So you all will get to enjoy the ups and downs of planning aliyah-- from the "yeah, I'm thinking about making aliyah" (check!) to "am I nuts?" (check!, and will continue to happen) to "Um...yeah, it's going to be, like, 6-12 months sooner than I thought..." (check!, and will continue to happen) to "it might be pushed because I don't have enough money and am not going to have to come back because I can't make it because of financial reasons" (check!, and will continue to happen) to "holy shit, this is happening" to "I'm here" (still waiting on the last two)

Get ready, because I have no clue how this is going to go, only where I plan it to end up...and who knows exactly where I'll be..."man plans, G-d laughs"...and G-d is probably having a great laugh about me now and will for quite a while probably.

It's so weird how life turns out. In 12th grade we had an English assignment of where we thought we would be in 7 years. Here's the differences I found:
-I'm an occupational therapist not a physical therapist. I do have my license, and I have a job and am working, so that's what I thought would happen.
-I'm not married, but there were 2 options-- if I was married and if not. So as far as the not goes-- I'm not married, which was one plan, but I'm not living in my own apartment with roommates and 2 sinks.
-Aliyah was nowhere in the plan...neither was EMS or spending almost 6 months in Israel after finishing school.

It's so funny the way life turns out. When Mrs. Cohn (Israel advisor) asked me if I wanted to go to Israel for a year, my response was a very quick, "No." Her response was, "Well, then we're done." And here I am, planning on making aliyah...I never would have thought...I'm such a New Yorker, such a city girl. I said it before, there's something about Israel that...every time I think about it I feel a physical pull in my chest. So weird. goes...

And seeing as "Rent" is ending today, that was very appropriate. The rest of the quote from there that I want to use is, "Trusting desire, starting to learn. Walking through fire without a burn. Clinging a shoulder, a leap begins. Stinging and older, asleep on pins. So here we go...who knows where...who goes goes..."

Wish me luck

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.