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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two amenities

It would be nice if, wherever we find our happy landing in the holy land, there are the following two not-quite-holy amenities available within relatively close proximity:

  • English-language movies (plus maybe Hebrew movies with subtitles, but somehow, I feel those will be even rarer than they are here)
  • Aerobics/cardio classes – now that I am newly-recommitted to my twice-weekly sweatin’ regimen, I’d love to keep it up.  I suppose any reasonable-sized community centre will have something of this type – any ladies’ workout kind of thing will probably be okay.  Actually, I’m open to almost anything: Pilates, Zumba… as long as, just like with Hebrew, they go slowly at first to accomodate me.

By the way, I had no idea there was such a thing as “Jewish aerobics” until I googled and got this album-cover image.  But now, I really, REALLY want to own it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More Israel Weather…

Every time it’s what I consider almost-unbearably hot here, I think, “how’s the weather in Israel?”  No harm in being the most soporific aliyah blog, right?

I promise things will heat up (um, so to speak) later on when we actually start making plans.  Indeed, we are meeting with NbN Go North people tomorrow, so it will actually be helpful to be “up” on the weather situation… right?

At least I have all the links on speed-dial in my browser now!  So here we go again!

Hey – good news:  RAIN!  Some parts of the north are expecting rain and thunder overnight Thursday.

 

Nahariyah

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Maalot

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Karmiel

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Toronto

Today’s Temperature

34° 31° 38° 32°

Today’s Humidity

83% 72% 77% – ouch! 68% – and I thought this was HIGH.  :-(((
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And finally… for comparison, in Jerusalem, tomorrow’s forecast is 32°, with a humidity of 56%.  In Eilat, it’s 43°, but again, a low humidity of only 19%.

Does anyone have a secret mantra they can teach me to calm myself about the weather situation…?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Checking on the Weather…

I have no idea if today is a typical July day in any of these places, but since I did this most of last summer and found it moderately entertaining, I thought I'd keep it up (publicly) this year... mostly, my goal is to convince myself that Israeli weather is bearable.  So far, I’m not too sure.

 

Nahariyah

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Maalot

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Karmiel

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Toronto

Today’s Temperature

30° 28° 35° – high heatwave predicted for the weekend 28°

Today’s Humidity

59% 53% 26% – it’s a dry heat 39%
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So there you have it, folks!  For comparison, in Jerusalem, it’s currently 28°, with a humidity of 51%.  In Eilat, it’s 41°, but the humidity is only 24%.

There’s a section in Happy Hints for a Successful Aliyah dealing with weather.  She says it takes about 2 years to get used to Israel’s weather, and even then, there are times you really don’t.

The book – one of two, the other is To Dwell in the Palace, which is more essay-length – is quite out of date, with sections on getting a telephone, for instance; it’s also pre-Nefesh b’Nefesh, so there are no references to that organization at all and lots of information about gathering your aliyah paperwork and the various people you have to meet with and take it to that I’m sure no longer applies).  But there are some things that never change, and it’s extremely well-written.  Hard to believe I bought it 20 years ago… it would be a terrible cliché to say “how time flies,” but I won’t.  I’ll just get going on The Rest of My Life, how’s that?

What books helped you through the aliyah experience???

Monday, July 9, 2012

And now for some “Anti-Olim”

(full article here)

This family has been holed up in a United Church (of course) in Toronto for the past year, claiming refugee status from… Israel.  Why?  As non-Jews, they believe they were “singled out, insulted or assaulted” (that’s quite a range) for not being Jewish despite a Jewish surname. 

It’s tough to believe.  Assaulted?  There are many non-Jews in Israel – including many Russians with a Jewish background – and while it may not be the same experience as that of a Jewish oleh, and perhaps there is discrimination and even insults, these are not exactly grounds for a refugee claim. 

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, refugees are folks “whose removal from Canada would subject them to a danger of torture, a risk to their life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.”

In any event, the father was only in Israel for 15 years – he left Russia in 1992, presumably because he thought Israel would be a better place to live.  I assume there was some Jewish family background, thus the name and the right to pack up and go live in Israel in the first place.

They’ve been here in Canada since 2007, and the father is now on a hunger strike for the privilege of remaining here, though Canada Border Services has given them until Wednesday to report for deportation.

Apparently, “refugee claim” abuse has become increasingly common in Canada, so much so that in 2010, they passed a law creating a list of Designated Countries of Origin, stating which countries are and are not considered to have “solid democratic and human rights.” 

Israel is a NO on the list (as are all its neighbours), meaning it’s “generally considered safe.”  Interestingly, Russia is a YES… meaning the family would have been better off, refugee-wise, fleeing here from Russia, instead of stopping off in Israel along the way.

They sure do look unhappy in the picture accompanying all the news articles… but it’s hard to believe that Israel is the cause.  To me, they just look ticked off that they’ve finally been caught at their silly little running-away-to-freedom game. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Speaking of nothing…

…When did Hatikva change???

When I was a kid, I’m 100% certain we say התקוה שנות אלפים / “hatikva shnot alpayim” (the hope of 2000 years).  By the time my kids got to school, it was התקוה בת שנות אלפים / “hatikva bat shnot alpayim.”

I am also certain, though slightly less so, that we were taught to sing

בארצנו בארץ ציון וירושלים / “b’artzeinu, b’eretz tziyon viyrushalayim” but apparently, there’s no second ב/bet, before eretz.  As I said, I am less certain of this.

But the other, I’m 100% sure.  Can anyone fill me in???

Bit of a different (techno) version here...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This is Ted.

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This is Ted at a Nefesh b’Nefesh Employment Planning evening here in Toronto tonight.

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Ted watched every slide, took a whole page of notes – including the email address of Nefesh b’Nefesh’s employment department and the website of an organization that helps French-speaking olim… when he barely speaks thirty words of French.

The three main strategies of Israeli job-finding, according to Nefesh b’Nefesh, include:

  • Networking (check – I’m all set up on LinkedIn now!)
  • Hebrew (um, no checkmark here for either of us)
  • Be flexible / creative (check, check and check!)

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So why does Ted look so, well, pained in this picture?  Could it be because he sat through the exact same workshop just a couple of months ago on a day when I couldn’t make it???  Despite theoretically knowing we were going to an employment workshop, he didn’t mention this fact or speak up at all until we were approaching our car to go home.

And this is why I like Ted so very much.  I am a person who complains, sometimes noisily and liberally, at just about any opportunity.  Ted goes along with things.  He will live to 120 because he doesn’t let anything bother him or, in my words too often, make him crazy. 

My “crazy threshold,” on the other hand, is very low.  So I sort of feel like we complement each other – he’s there for me when I need someone calm and steady, and I’m there for him when he needs someone to fly off the handle about something.

As they say, it takes all kinds.  Though, secretly, I suspect my kind is less likely to be squashed like a doormat when we are dealing with actual Israeli clerks and bureaucrats and not just friendly smiling NbN reps.  He may prove me wrong,  however.

Anyway, Here’s more about getting a job in Israel, from friendly smiling NbN rep Kim Ephrat, Associate Director of Employment at Nefesh b’Nefesh, who flew in to speak most enthusiastically at tonight’s event. 

She mentioned in passing that she’s flying back on a charter flight next week, which made me totally envious that she gets to do this for a living. 

NbN charter flights, in case you don’t know already, are awesome because the whole plane is making aliyah – like the fulfillment of some amazing prophecy (oh, yeah, which it is!)  Plus, they have reps on the plane who help you fill out your paperwork and they give you your documents the minute you land.  There are also (often? always?) special delegations meeting the flights at Ben-Gurion.

Last year, there were a few charters from Toronto, but none are scheduled for this summer.  Friends of ours are going (to Mitzpeh Netofa) at the very end of the summer, the week before Rosh Hashanah, on a regular El Al flight… but I’m holding out for a charter.  As long as they have a couple of them next summer, I’ll find a day that works for us.

In case you’re wondering, this week, I’m leaning towards Karmiel as a landing zone. 

Of course, that could change in an instant as we get closer to planning our pilot trip, aka Honeymoon #2.  Honeymoon #1 was Shabbos away from the kids in a run-down Niagara Falls motel room.  Classy!  (highlights included tumbling down a snowy hillside in the dark on Friday night and wandering the strip unable to spend money on Shabbos day)

It will be lovely to travel with Ted alone, I hope.  Given that (almost) literally the first moment we were alone in the house together following our marriage was the moment I told Ted we were expecting Naomi Rivka.  We have had very few moments of peace, silence or privacy since then… ;-)

So forget about Ted.  What aliyah employment strategy worked for you???

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