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Apr. 13th, 2010

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"Making Aliyah"

How have you heard the phrase, making aliyah, used?

I realize that in the Bible, it simply means "going up" and referred to any visit to Jerusalem, for a festival or other event. However, in the American synagogues I've attended, the phrase seems to be reserved for someone is planning to move to Israel permanently. Otherwise, you're just visiting.

How do other Americans use the phrase? How do Israelis use it?

Mar. 2nd, 2010

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Passports, Visas, and Travel Alerts

The U.S. State Department charges $70 to issue a passport and your local courthouse may charge a processing fee. The expedite fee is an additional $60. Read more...Collapse )

That's all the information I have to share but here's a link to the State Department's international travel information.

I hadn't planned any trips to Gaza, so I just skimmed that section. However, I am going to avoid the Old City at night and on Friday afternoons.

(I am puzzled by the suggestion that U.S. citizens "use common sense when patronizing restaurants, nightclubs, cafes, malls, places of worship, and theaters" because of terrorist attacks. Is common sense of any use in predicting where a terrorist may strike?)

Feb. 18th, 2010

Trekking poles



If anyone needs a short-term rental in Jerusalem, my school recommends My Jerusalem Apartments.

I just received a lease agreement from them. It's straight-forward except for the final clause.

The final clauseCollapse )

I hope someone here understands kilowatts. Thank you in advance!

Feb. 10th, 2010

Trekking poles


Employment opportunity

Unhappy or underpaid in your current position?
Consider working in Israeli real estate!
Begin with one property and gradually expand your business.
What type of properties, you ask?
Assist tourists bewildered & intimidated by all aspects of renting apartments in Israel.

Joking aside, here's just a sampling of the information and advice Pardes has provided, hence my bewilderment and feeling intimidated:

~ rent quotes do not include va'ad bayit, monthly maintenance fees
~ renters pay arnona, city property taxes
~ students are eligible for a substantial discount on the arnona, but the bureaucracy involved is actually frightening
~ an unfurnished apartment may not include an oven or refrigerator
~ many landlords will ask for three to six months' rent up front (my fat ass!)
~ apparently there is no such thing as a standard lease agreement; the school advises having a professional review any rental contract
~ be sure to ask which hour of the day the apartment is heated

The school sent me a link to MyJerusalemApartments.com. She doesn't list prices, but she must charge a lot since tenants don't have to pay utilities, vaad habayit, or arnona, and don't have to provide a cleaning deposit. All she needs is a few well-to-do customers who are willing to part with cash in exchange for convenience. Wish I was one of them.

Finally, here is my barrage of questions:

1. How/from whom do you purchase an internet connection for your apartment? Supposedly, all of Jerusalem is wifi accessible, so perhaps I don't need my own connection? Is public wifi safe?
2. Is a NY phone line a "land line?"
3. I was surprised to read that I'll need to have someone review my apartment contract. What will the reviewer be looking for in the contract?
4. Can you think of a single quick and cheap place for me to purchase all the things I'll need in my apartment (linens and kitchenware)?
5. The drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem can't be long. Less than two hours?

Jan. 17th, 2010

Trekking poles


Israeli television

Are Israelis subjected to much American television? Have you ever seen a show called NCIS?

If so, I'd love to know how Israelis feel about the only Israeli character on American television.

I'm not sure how I feel about her. On one hand, she's really cool, but on the other hand, the story... Oh. My. God.

If you're not familiar with the show, Ziva David is an incredibly attractive, Mosad assassin who killed her Palestinian half-brother (their father is the head of Israeli Intelligence) when she learned that he was a triple-agent for Hamas. After killing Ari, she remained in the States and was assigned to work with the Navy Criminal Investigative Service.

And she can kill you 16 different ways with a paperclip.

Nov. 28th, 2009

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Hospitals and repair shops

I wear a medical i.d. bracelet that lists my blood type, allergies, and so forth. It's in English and even though lots of people in Israel speak English, I should get one in Hebrew. Are they readily available?

Also, my current i.d. says, "in case of death or incapacity, please contact an Orthodox rabbi." I'm not Orthodox and I'm not comfortable with that statement on my wrist. This is not a pretty question, but... Do you know if hospitals in Israel, as a matter of course, will use all reasonable (but not extraordinary) means to preserve a life and will arrange immediate burial in case of death?

On to an easier topic:

I need a new computer and I am debating whether to purchase another PC or get a Mac. (I want a Mac, I want a Mac, I want a Mac.) My research indicates that it would be easier to find a PC repair shop in Jerusalem than it would be to find a Mac repair shop. If you had to guess, would you say that's true?

Thanks in advance!

Nov. 13th, 2009

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אקליפטוס המקור

When I was reading Old New Land a few weeks ago, I was struck by many things. It would be interesting to compare his plans for developing the state with what really occurred.

However, my question is personal. Herzl thought that the swamps could be drained by planting eucalytpus trees and I did find one article on the internet indicating that eucalyptus trees were planted to do just that. While they are beautiful trees with a wonderful fragrance, I am extremely allergic to them for a good part of the year.

How common are eucalyptus trees throughout Israel?

Presumably, there are no forests in Jerusalem, but I'll have to ask the apartment-hunting-service to take a good look at any trees in the neighborhood.

Thanks again!

* * *

Here is a link to a site called Flowers in Israel

EDIT: what are the vowels in the Hebrew term for eucalyptus trees?

Oct. 24th, 2009

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The Old New Land

A used copy of Altneuland finally arrived at my doorstep. I only had a chance to read the first chapter before making dinner, but I'm about to rush back to it.

Has anyone else here read this book? What did you think of it?
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Oct. 12th, 2009

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Inside joke (please let me in)

Why would women in the IDF wear t-shirts printed with a picture of Ahmadinejad and the words "I love Mahmud?" (I'm not kidding.)

And when did Russian become Israel's national language?
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Oct. 11th, 2009

Trekking poles


Gifts, music, doctors, jelly doughnuts

If you're going to be visiting friends of friends in Israel, what is a nice gift to bring with you?

I've been exploring Israeli music on Amazon.com and Wikipedia. I thought American music was diverse; Israeli music is amazing! What artists are fairly popular (among adults) right now? I rather like the music influenced by Middle Eastern styles, but is there another style that Ashkenazi Israelis are more likely to listen to?

I'll need to find a chiropractor in Jerusalem. Do doctors ever advertise "We speak English" -- do Israeli doctors even need to advertise? The school has told us where to buy private insurance; do you know whether or not all doctors take it?

Finally, I was just reminded that Israelis eat jelly doughnuts during Chanukah. Forget the invention of cell phones and the pentium chip; do we need any other proof that Israelis are smarter than the rest of us?

(or, at least, that they have cleaner kitchens after Chanukah than the rest of us.)

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