Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To go or not to go?

Rather, When To Go? I guess it could be, "To Go in July or Not to go in July?"...but anyway.

If I go in July, excluding sal klita and an NBN grant, I'll have about $15,000. If I go in Jan. 2010 (which was my original date, moved to my back-up date), I'll have at least $30,000 (not counting working over the summer)...which is significantly more money. Why do I think I'm going to end up going for my original date, aka my current back-up?

The downside is waiting another 6 months to really start my life...but...will it be that much easier and better knowing that i have so much more saved?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Living arrangements

Still don't know when I'm making aliyah...but anyway.

I want to live in Jerusalem, but I don't want to live in Katamon-Rechavia, where I will probably end up living anyway, because it's like the Upper West Side, except in Jerusalem. And I can't stand the UWS here.

The Katamon area and singles community is called the "beitza"-- aka, "The Swamp." I don't want to get stuck there, and I just...I don't.

Any other ideas?

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I sent one of the NBN [Nefesh b'Nefesh-- an aliyah organization] employment counselors an email to find out if she had any updates about the licensure law, and this is what she sent back:

Nefesh B’Nefesh spoke to Misrad Habriut yesterday regarding the new licensing procedure for physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and dieticians.

New information about the new licensing procedure was posted recently on the Misrad Habriut site. Please do not use the English translation of their site that was posted on the Nefesh B'Nefesh site in September, as it is no longer accurate.

Please note the following changes:

  1. Misrad Habriut will START accepting requests for a Teudah AFTER January 30th. If you already submitted your documents, Misrad Habriut will start processing your request after January 30th.

  2. If you are currently working, it is recommended that you submit your documents as soon as possible.

  3. Technically speaking: After February 1st, according to the letter of the law, you are no longer allowed to practice, until you receive a Teudah.

  4. The requirement to obtain a letter from the police, has been cancelled.

  5. Generally, if you have done an internship abroad you do not need to do an internship in Israel. However, Misrad Habriut is reviewing applications on a case by case basis and reserves the right to require that you do an internship anyway.

  6. If you have a temporary or permanent Teudat Hakara that was valid before July 22, 2005, you need to submit 2 passport pictures, Teudat Zehut with the Sefach (the section with family members’ names), your old Teudat Hakara, and the medical professionals’ questionnaire (

  7. The dates of the professional exams have not yet been determined. There is a good chance that the exams will be offered only in Hebrew.

Please refer to the Misrad Habriut site ( for any further information. We recommend checking the site regularly for any updates.

So...yeah, this is not so good. It might mean pushing off my aliyah by about 6 months. Which isn't the end of the world, and was actually when I was planning on going in the first place...but it's kind of depressing because I really wanted to go this July. You don't always get what you want, but...this feels especially hard for some reason.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why Israel is My Country

Wish I could really clarify and put it into a sentence.

My coworkers don't really get why I say that Israel is my home-- after all, I was born and raised in America. I have a social security number, an American passport, driver's license-- I don't have an Israeli identification number, passport, or license...and yet, if it came down to making a choice between being an American citizen and an Israeli citizen, I'd probably say Israeli. I don't want to give up my American citizenship-- I am grateful to be an American citizen and live in America and have the protection and freedom to say and do what I want. When I'm in Israel, I identify myself as an American-- when I contacted places in Israel about OT, I started with, "Hi, I'm an OT from the US." And that's how I was introduced: "This is Lauren. She's an OT from the US..." When I open my mouth, I'm easily identified as a foreigner and once I say, "Hi," I am immediately known as North American, probably assumed to be an American because there are so many of us there... See? I just did it-- "so many of us." "Us " being Americans.

It's a dual identity that I struggle with, since I'm not yet Israeli. I am not Israeli, but I feel so connected...I lived there for only a short while, but I've been raised with Israel in my home, that it's mine. I've been singing Israeli songs and watching Rechov Sumsum (Sesame Street, Israeli style) since I was born; Yerushalyim Shel Zahav is beautiful, but Naomi Shemer can get on your nerves after a while. Barbaaba is a cute but sad song. I grew up with the culture and knowing that my parents were there and helped shape Israel, in however a small way. I call my parents Ima and Abba (as well as Mom and Dad-- I switch off all the time). My Abba rolls the reish in "breishit" during kiddush. I've developed an accent that's somewhere between American and Israeli when I speak Hebrew. I get asked, "Wait, didn't you make aliyah already?" and "Why are you going back [to America]?" It's...I'm not Israeli. I haven't lost friends and relatives in piguim or wars. I haven't experienced what it's like to live life after an attack-- actually, I sort of have. The night of Merkaz HaRav, I went back to town for a bit then did a shift. It felt surreal, but at the same time, it was life. I wasn't about to not do something because some idiot went on a rampage.

I worry now because I know my friends are in Gaza. I called a friend and said, "Hey, I'm here, are you around?" and he said, "No, I'm in the Army." Oh. Right, then, I guess I'm not seeing you this time. Another friend arranged a bowling trip and in the end couldn't go because he was needed in the South because of the rockets. My friends and their families are right in the firing line. My brother-in-law's brother's unit is a Gaza unit; we used to joke about not telling our moms about the places we were because they would worry. He's not in for medical reasons, but his unit is. I know what it's like to take a bus that you hear about getting overturned the next day and being able to get on the same line when you're back.

Am I Israeli? Not technically. But do I feel it? Definitely. It's a mentality, a resilience, that you don't see in many places. On September 11, 2001, NYC stopped. In Jerusalem, two hours after the shooting at Merkaz HaRav, people were back in town-- actually, town was never really empty, just a little quieter that night. It's sad in some ways, but it shows an endurance and an ability and desire to live as normal a life as possible, even with the possibility that someone you know might turn around and kill you.

Unfortunately this past trip I was not able to go down to the South because I had appointments and did not have the 26 hours off that I needed to be able to go. But I believe firmly in what Israel is doing-- that doesn't mean that I like that innocents are being hurt-- no, but Israel is taking all the steps she can to minimize innocent casualties.
What other country drops leaflets and sends text messages to cell phones, letting the people in the area know that they will be attacking and they should leave? Why shoudl Israel go in in foot-- it risks Israeli soldiers' lives-- it's much safer for them to bomb from the sky. Israel is...I think Israel has exercised remarkable restraint over the past years. Missles have been falling in Sderot for 7 or 9 years-- I don't remember the exact number. The playgrounds there have recently been make them safe for the children to play in while the missles fall...young children there don't know a life without sirens and 15-second warnings. Does Hamas drop leaflets and send text messages to the people in Sderot and Ashkelon and DImona and Beer Sheva when they will be attacking? Uh-- no. Oh, yeah, and Israel stops attacks for 3 hours every day to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. Nevermind that Hamas is taking the supplies. Can you imgine America saying, "All right, country x, we'll stop our attacks for 3 hours a day to let supplies in to you." No, I can't either.

This is why Israel is my country. No other country is so damn moral but gets condemmed by the world for still somehow being wrong.

How did this turn into politics? (retorical)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Updates, based on the situation in Israel

I'm still going. This does not change anything, in fact it makes me more determined to be there now more than ever.

I'm not stopping my plans to live in my home.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pete and Repeat (RePete?)

Anyone heard that joke? If not: Pete and Repeat went on a boat. Pete fell off. Who was left? Repeat! Ok, Pete and Repeat went on a boat. Pete fell off. Who was left? Repeat! Ok, Pete and Repeat went on a boat. Pete fell off. Who was left? Repeat! etc. You get the idea.

Anyway, it's a repeat. We spent Shabbat at Widawsky's, and I got kind of teary at seudah shlishit. I miss it here already and I haven't left. I'm literally counting down the hours, how much more time I have left here. I'll probably be a mess in the airport and tomorrow. But I have to switch my watch back sooner than 2 weeks after I land... Sound familiar?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The part I hate

This is the part I hate. Leaving. I fly out tomorrow-- ממש לא רוצה לעזוב.
I've spent the past week running around to different palces, got 2 offers for job interviews.
Thursday: Yosef picked me up, went to Beit Levenstein and then to Netanya to David and Tzvia's and had a mesibat chanukah there-- first 2 Israeli sufganiyot this year. Ever.
Friday: Home/Chashmonaim
Shabbat: Chashmonaim. Saw Tari and Jordan on the way back from shul, went to the Aarons after lunch-- Sarah and Hannah were both there-- then went back with Hannah to the Brodskys, hung out there, then came back home.
Motza"sh: Went to Bar Ilan, watched Forrest Gump and waited 2 hours for pizza; stayed over by Chloe and Jonathan's.
Sunday: Tel Hashomer, Hadassah Har Hatzofim, Merkaz Hamagshimim. Stayed over by Yehuda and Elkie's.
Monday: Went to the translator/notary, met Yehuda's mom, Misrad Hachinuch, did mishmeret with Boaz and Nerya until 3, then switched to work with Moti Hecht and Shlomie when I saw them at Sha"tz
Tuesday: Alyn, Sha"tz, Hashbara for MDA Chul, met Gila, back to Hasbara for MDA Chul, met Noa after the hasbara and went to the shuk, town, then back to Yehuda and Elkie's.
Wednesday: Paeds clinic in Beitar Illit (found the bus, didn't get stoned), Aleh, back to the notary to pick up my documents, MDA Chul office.
Thursday: Tali Bayot Vagan, then to the NBN Education Conference, ended up doing mishmeret with Ohad, Reut, and Nitai instead of cooking in PT.
Friday: Went up to PT at 7:30, cooked for Shabbat
Shabbat: Shabbat MDA Chul (plus a couple others), wonderful as usual.
Motza"sh: Went into Jlem, got to see Aaron (!), went to bowling but the wait was too long so we (Yosef, Aaron, me, Seri, Vered, Leah, Kaufmans, Dafna, and Dayna) went to pizza, then Yosef הקפיץ אותי הביתה-- as in to Chashmonaim, which was really nice of him, and...that would be up till now.

Tomorrow I'm going to a school with Michelle, then I'm coming back home. I should pack tonight so I don't have to tomorrow...I don't want to leave.