Thursday, September 17th, 2009

During my week in Israel, Alexandra Polsky had a bit of a more hectic schedule than the other olim I was covering as she settled into a yeshiva program in Tel Aviv, a temporary apartment in Jerusalem and searched for a job. So it was hard to keep in touch.

That’s why God created e-mail.

I received a lovely update from her this morning. And since I’m a little blogged out from 10 days of frantic posting, I thought it would be nice to let you hear from her in her own words:

I hope your trip back went well. Sorry I’ve been hard to get a hold of–I didn’t quite anticipate how busy I would be.

My first week in Israel has been smooth more or less. In terms of the paperwork and bureaucracy, I actually pretty much experienced zero of both, and I find myself very grateful to Nefesh B’Nefesh for completely changing the process of aliyah by speeding up the process of receiving a teudat zehut and organizing aliyah fairs to coincide with picking up one’s teudat zehut. This past Sunday, I picked up my teudat zehut, opened a bank account, got health insurance, and made an appointment at Misrad HaKlitah (Ministry of Absorption) all within two hours, all in one room. In the past, getting all of that done would have taken probably months, and would have involved lots of office-hopping across the city, waiting in long lines, and probably dealing with lots of people who aren’t familiar with North American olim, what they’re used to, and what they are looking for here (all of the vendors I dealt with at the aliyah fair were and this was extremely helpful).

Today I went to that meeting at Misrad HaKlitah, whose purpose was to register my bank account with the Ministry so that my sal klitah (oleh benefits) will be deposited straight into my account. There was no waiting, I was invited into the office on time, and the woman with whom I had the appointment was very helpful, polite and sweet, and she even offered me a free calendar for the new year from Misrad HaKlitah! How’s that for bureaucracy?

For now, I’m not really interested in doing ulpan, and I’m not going to school at this point so I don’t need to get my BA recognized, and so, at least for the time being, I seem to be done with the process of becoming a citizen, a process that was really quite straightforward and painless. Perhaps the irony is that I’m having much more trouble finding a long-term apartment, and I’ve already spent more time on that than I did on becoming a citizen and claiming my rights!

In terms of jobs, I went to a number of interviews and informational meetings this week, and so far nothing has exactly panned out, although I’m still waiting to hear back from a few people. Just today I met with a woman about some unpaid work that would give me excellent experience in some areas I’m looking to learn more about, and I’m very excited about the prospect of working with her even though it’s unpaid (something I can afford to do because of the sal klitah). I also have a few freelance writing jobs hanging in the air and I’m hoping that they will pan out. Other than that, I’m probably going to put the job search on hold for now while I enjoy the chagim as much as I can while intensifying the apartment search (which is really turning out to be quite difficult simply because of lack of availability).

Socially, everything is great, and I’ve been having so much fun catching up with friends and having people over to my apartment, something I really love doing, and I absolutely love being in a neighborhood that feels so “neighborhood-y” meaning that people just stop by for a cup of tea because they were walking through. My current roommate for the month is a close friend from last year, and it’s been great to spend so much time with her in the apartment. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with my roommate-to-be as we’ve been searching for apartments together, and I’m enjoying getting to know her even better and speaking tons of Hebrew with her.

I think that’s about it in terms of the questions you asked. Please let me know if I can be of more help or if you have further questions.