Friday, December 21, 2007

Aliyah for Dummies - Step 1

When I first started thinking about Aliyah I researched the Internet and found a lot of stuff out there. Sometimes though it is hard to see the trees through the forest. Where do I start?? How do I wade through all the information out there and get to the nuts and bolts? So, as I go through the process I will continue to post steps. Look for Aliyah for Dummies - Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, and so on.

Probably the most helpful site to begin with is the Nefesh B'Nefesh web site which you can find at: One of the links you will find on the Nefesh B'Nefesh site is "Aliyah 101." That is excellent for helping you through the process. The following is taken directly from the mission statement on their site:

The core mission of NBN is to revitalize Aliyah and to substantially increase the number of future olim by removing the financial, professional and logistical obstacles that prevent many individuals from actualizing their dreams. In the process of fulfilling our mission, we aim to educate and inspire the Jews of the Diaspora as to the centrality of the Jewish State to the Jewish people and its desirability as a Jewish home. Such enhanced awareness will send an unmistakable signal of Anglo-Israeli Jewish solidarity and of our mutual determination to strengthen the State of Israel and thereby increase the likelihood of an ever expanding Aliyah reality.

NBN provides comprehensive support for olim by directly interfacing with them, both in the pre-and post-Aliyah stages. We offer financial assistance, employment resources, social services and guidance through governmental absorption procedures in order to help make each individual's Aliyah as successful as possible.

In 2006, NBN extended its Aliyah expertise and success experience in initial efforts to assist in boosting aliyah from the United Kingdom.

More on Nefesh B'Nefesh in future postings.


Before you can do anything you need to get an Aliyah Shaliach. A What? Aliyah Shlichim represent the Jewish Agency of Israel. This is the sole legal entity outside of Israel that can authorize an indivicual to make aliyah under Israel's Law of Return. It is the Aliyah Shaliach that gives approval for you to make Aliyah to Israel. They are a wonderful resource and will send you all the proper forms as well as lead you through the process. To get an Aliyah Shaliach, go to the Nefesh B'Nefesh Aliyah Shlichim Directy to find the nearest one to your area. The web address is:

My Aliyah Shaliach emailed me all the necessary forms I need at the beginning point along with information about some communities and absorption programs. In the next posting I will write about these.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

ALIYAH - First Steps

A long time ago, before the advent of modern forecasting methods, there was a wizened old Indian who lived at the edge of town. The years had drawn maps on his brown leathery skin and his black hair had turned gray. Now, instead of chopping wood, others supplied the work to make his wood pile grow while he sat on his porch, talking to the younger men and boys, dealing out bits of wisdom. Each year during Fall time he would be asked what the winter was going to be like. Each year he would answer, “This winter will be long, cold, and dark.” Some people had thought he held the weather forecasting secrets of the ancients. Hoping to learn his secret, a particularly bright young man came to him one day. “Grandfather,” he said. “You have predicted that the winter would be long, cold, and dark, and it was. Your predictions have been correct every year since I have memory. What is the secret? How do you know what the winter is going to be like?” The dark brown eyes of the old man crinkled in a smile as he regarded his questioner. “Grandson,” said the old man, “winter is always long, cold, and dark.”

This past Fall I made a prediction about our winter. My prediction is turning out to be totally correct; it is turning into a long, cold, and dark winter! My prophetic powers amaze me. This morning the temperature outside in the dark Alaska winter is -8F / -22C. It will get light about 10:15 AM and in five and a half hours the sun will sink below the horizon as we descend into darkness once again. Before winter is over we will have experienced some bouts of at least -25F / -32C or colder. When it gets that cold I have to put on so many clothes just to take the dog for a walk I feel like the Marshmallow Man. For a few years I lived in Western Alaska on the Bering Sea coast. Three to four days a week the wind blows a steady 50-60 MPH / 80-96 KMPH. I used to tease the school children and tell them snow was made in China and they blew it over with big fans. Out there, snow doesn’t fall from the sky, it blows sideways.

Half a world a way, in Jerusalem, the temperature today is 57 F / 14C, sunrise is 6:34 AM and the sun doesn’t set for over ten hours. Wow!! That’s shirtsleeve weather and, to me, very exciting! When telling people in Israel I wanted to live in the Jerusalem area because I liked the weather, they would always say, “You don’t want to live there, it gets cold in the winter.” To that I say, “Define cold.”

So, here I am, in the icebox of the world, thinking of blue skies, warm breezes, and fresh bananas. A folder on my desk has ALIYAH written on it. My Shlichat Aliyah, from the Jewish Agency for Israel, has emailed me all the forms for making Aliyah. Questionnaires, declarations, visa applications, medical statements, waivers of confidentiality, entry/exit forms, and checklists of a zillion others pieces of information and documentation I need to supply, all waiting for my attention over the next few days. Actually, it is not as difficult as I had imagined. The Shichat makes it easy and quickly answers any questions I may have. I think the idea is to be as helpful as possible, to make it a good experience, and not something that most people will give up in the middle due to frustration and red tape. However, I will be able to speak more about that in the months to come.