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Aliyah Blog, Part 8: The Bergers Settle In

Aliyah Blog, Part 8: The Bergers Settle In

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

For Berle and Pamela Berger their first 48 hours as Israelis seemed much like any of their other visits. There was a day at the beach, dinner with friends, and plenty of quality time with their daughter’s family.

But there’s also the tedium of settling in to a new life. They still need to work out Macabi, the national health insurance program, and pick up their official teudah zehut, identity papers, in Jerusalem. They opened a bank account. Berle inquired about an ulpan in Ranana but was told he had to visit the Absorption Ministry first.

“My husband did projects around the apartment, fixing stuff around the house, but I didn’t want to do any organizing,” says Pamela. “I feel like I did all the organizing in Great Neck before we left.”

Yesterday she was back at the Israeli folk dance class in Raanana she had frequented during past stays. Today, Thursday, the couple were hunting for a possible second apartment in Jerusalem.

It all seemed fairly routine.

“We’ve ben here so many times, I don’t feel like I’ve been planted into foreign territory,” said Pamela, who is semi-retired as an occupational therapist. “The comfort level is very high.”

“We also have a sense of the system: we know that things don’t work out always the way you want them, because of silly logistical problems. But we have time. It’s not like we have to be at work tomorrow and only have today to deal with the frustrations of the system.”

While she is finding the driving challenging — “they signal and cut, rather than signal and wait and cut” — Pamela for the most part finds Israeli life endeaing. “The stereotype of Israelis is that they’re abrasive. I just never find that. Everybody is nice.

“I feel like I have a life here.”

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