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When NOT to come on your Israel pilot trip…


I never thought I’d be saying this.  Keep in mind:  I’m not saying don’t come at all!  A pilot trip is one of the best investments you can make in your own aliyah!  Please come visit before you move here. 

But what I’m saying is… think before you plan.  Be nice to those of us hosting and welcoming you to our communities.  Pretty please?

Why mention this now?

We’re in the middle of the last week of school, and also, I suppose, the start of the aliyah season, because we have several pilot-trip families converging on KShmu over the next couple of weeks.  Which is terrific – I’m always so, so,  happy to show off our community if I can.

Comparing healthcare systems–Israel vs Canada


I got a great question from a reader today – I love hearing back from you! – and I thought I’d share it once I was done writing back.  The reader asked, based on my experience with healthcare in Canada and Israel, how I’d compare the two.

It’s actually something I haven’t put a lot of thought into.

As Canadians, socialized health care wasn't such a big transition for us.  American friends have had a variety of reactions, from giddiness that they wouldn’t go bankrupt trying to stay healthy to… well, I don’t think I’ve heard of any who really had a hard time adjusting, so I don’t know what the worst-case scenario is.  I suppose for people coming from the U.S., there may be longer waits and more of a “socialized” feel to things here, if that makes any sense.  But most, as I said, are far too delighted that the safety net exists here to worry about the nitpicky details.

Also, full disclosure:  baruch Hashem (ptoo, ptoo, ptoo!), we haven't had to have a lot of contact with the healthcare system.  However, although we’ve had no major health problems, we have all seen a variety of specialists, done the basic urgent care visit for little-kid stitches, non-emergency hospital visit, and routine health things as well.  Mostly, if it has been harder here, it is because of difficulties with the language, not the system.

A few particulars that I’ve found are different here:

  • Israel is more complicated in terms of choosing a kupat cholim (healthcare plan) and package. 

How you know I’m still Canadian after all these (almost 4) years…


How do I know I’m still Canadian, even after almost 4 years in Israel?

Well, for one thing, the big Canadian flag in my front window – genuine, no doubt made in China, purchased last week at Dollarama.  (Full disclosure: I bought the JUMBO size, not SUPER JUMBO, so it’s smaller than the Israeli flag we just took down after Yom Yerushalayim…)

(This is my actual flag pictured above – not some cheesy stock photo.  You can tell it’s my flag because it’s held up with a clothespin – see top-left of photo.)

For another thing, the small Canadian flag in one of the front planters.

For a third thing, we’re flying to Canada at some unspecified point this summer, iy”h.  (Or, as everyone says here, be”h.)

For a fourth thing… well, we just are.  It’s just our culture.

In what way?  Well, here are two examples.

Canadian in the mall

Last summer