Michal Jacob, who moved from New Jersey to Modiin in 2015, gives her 10 secrets to a successful Aliyah, or as she says “10 Habits of Highly Effective Olim”:
1. Paperwork: Organize your important papers and documents in a neat and easy to access spot. Make sure the paperwork is always stored in the same place. Keep digital copies of each document readily available as well.
2. Cellphone: They call that your Mobile here. Try to set up your phone before you get on the plane. Every government and local office will ask you for contact info. Have one set up in advance. Some carriers will be able to send you a SIM card in America.
3. Banks: Look into the local banks before you come to Israel. Find out which are most popular in your area and the hours those branches are open. You need to get to a bank with in the first few days of arrival and set up an account. Bring some cash to deposit into the bank.
4. Health Care (Kupat Cholim): Talk with people from your new town and ask about different options for health care. You’ll choose among the 4 national Kupot Cholim at the airport, and you’ll have basic coverage from your Aliyah date. You’ll be able to pick a specific upgraded plan at a later point if you choose.
5. Snacks: Bring along your kids’ favorite snacks. I’d recommend about one week’s worth of what they are used to, in your suitcases.
6. Medicines: Don’t forget to pack medicines and make sure they are readily available.
7. Activities: Once you land, you’ll feel like you have 100 things to take care of. Make sure to plan some fun activities as well for the first few days.
8. Your new House: Make sure you have the key to your house. Make sure the air conditioning and plumbing are working, as soon as you get there.
9. Rental Car: Try and set this up in advance. You and your luggage will have a free taxi from the airport. Once you arrive at the destination, make sure you’ll be able to rent a car if you need to.
10. Enjoy and relax: While not everything will go as you plan, take a deep breath, and remember that you are fulfilling a dream, by moving back to our eternal homeland, Israel.
Michal Jacob made Aliyah summer 2015 and lives in Modiin with her family. While her 4 boys and her husband keep her busy, Michal is an experienced teacher, and gives classes across Israel. Prior to making aliyah, she taught Limudei Kodesh at the Frisch School in New Jersey and at Weinbaum Yeshiva High School in South Florida.