Editor's note: The Adler family made aliyah on the August 14 Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight. Lauren has been posting to Facebook regularly about their experiences as new olim. The following is reprinted with her permission.
Two weeks in...and we are doing this. Each day brings new things to learn about this country and many things to laugh about. We accomplished a lot so far:
Got our Teudat Zehut cards (citizenship card) and applied for our biometric ones. Here in Israel you pretty much can’t breathe without that card, but it’s a series of nine numbers which we have yet to memorize (I’m still working on having the brain try to memorize my new cell phone number). So every time I check out of a store, I have to fish it out of my purse and so begins the “ah, you are an olah chadashah” conversation.
We opened up a bank account and deposited money into the bank. You are probably thinking..um, what’s the big deal. Well here in Israel you can’t do those two operations at the same location, so yes, that’s an accomplishment.
We signed up to pay for our arnona (rental tax) after coming to the office to find it closed midday the first time we tried. The next time we came, the lady only spoke fast Hebrew; Zvi and I were just looking at each other and laughing and trying to make sense of what she was telling us we owe. Zvi and his accountant brain were crunching the numbers (in shekalim) and in the end we got it! Paid what we owed and walked out feeling like champs.
We signed up for water—which involves filling out paperwork in Hebrew (college level if you ask me) and requires you to get the signature of your landlord (ours now lives in Tel Aviv), so we used the awesome new app Cam Scanner someone told us about and were able to do that pretty easily. Another accomplishing moment from what could have been awful.
We ordered internet—now this was comical. Zvi was on the phone with the company for probably the better part of an hour, probably understood 1/10 of what they were saying (about plans and options and pricing); he agreed to pay an unknown amount of money, and we are having the tech come Friday to install it. He has no idea how that happened but, yeah, we got this.
I went grocery shopping (happily had my friend Shany Brody Wiener along for the ride). The truth is that so many people made me nervous about shopping and how hard it would be, but I found the supermarket to be set up pretty normally and was able to find most things I wanted and was surprised to see so many American products available. I loved that the whole store is kosher, even the prepared take-out food (think Shoprite but all kosher); I loved that the butcher convinced me to buy two packs of chicken cause they were on special that day. Sure I bought halava wafers instead of vanilla ones, and I didn’t know you had to have the nuts weighed at the nut weighing station, but all in all it was a successful trip.
We bought school supplies—this I was terrified of, as all the lists are on graduate school level Hebrew (you’d think pencil and glue is easy to understand- but noooo it’s special glue in a special tube etc.). Well one night we walked into Idan2000 a fun store filled with aisles of supplies and I handed my list over to a wonderful HS girl (who of course we have connections to through Jewish geography): She grabbed my baskets, filled up one for each kid and we walked away a happy family.
We applied for Israeli passports—again thinking it would take hours, but we walked in when the office opened, waited for our number to be called, bought some delicious coffee in the waiting room and 20 minutes later our passports will be mailed to us. Zvi also got a special permission paper to leave the country before his Israeli passport arrives.
We bought closets and bookshelves and had them built and are 90% done with unpacking.
We bought shirts for the kids for school and had them stamped with school’s logo—I got way lost trying to find the right store, but took the scenic route and got it done (granted sweating profusely cause the sun lives here in Israel) so shirts are stamped, and I did it (not without Michal Jacob’s help of course).
I cooked my first dinner (roasted seasoned pargiyot, corn and rice with sautéed mushrooms and onions)—well I forgot that the oven is in Celsius (probably should have paid attention to that whole metric conversion thing in HS math class), so kinda played around with all the settings till the food looked cooked and it was all gobbled up so, yeah, I got this. Although with only one working burner and an oven that looks like the size of an easy bake oven. Life is gonna be interesting.
Today we go to the Misrad hapanim (or is it the Misrad haklitah?) to begin getting our government payments for moving here—yup you get paid to move here, how crazy is that, somebody wants to pay us to live in our homeland...to get to experience life in the Jewish State...yup we’ll take that even if we have to wait and even if we have no clue what they are telling us! We’ll take it and we got this!
Week three will include school starting, gulp, that one I’m really nervous about.
#LivingTheDream Nefesh B’Nefesh
By Lauren Adler