An unfortunate reality of these unprecedented times is that prospective Olim cannot come to Israel for a pilot trip. Whether you haven’t been to Israel in decades, or you come regularly and have a lot of family here, a pilot trip is usually recommended in order to make professional connections and to find the right community to fit your needs and your way of life. Although you cannot come to do your research in person, with Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Zoom, and other virtual means of communication, you can successfully map out your Aliyah without ever stepping on a plane.
There are several factors to consider when deciding where to live in Israel. What type of community are you looking for? Do you plan to work when you come to Israel, and is your field geography-dependent? Are you looking for a large Anglo community? What about schools? There are many questions that need answers before you figure out where to settle in Israel.
One of the most important aspects of your pilot trip is finding the right community to fit your needs. Among other things, you need to consider what climate you want, whether you are looking for a city or a small town, what educational opportunities are available, commutability to work, whether you are looking a large Anglo community, demographics, and other specific needs such as access to medical services, local groups and activities, and volunteer opportunities.
Start browsing Facebook groups such as Israel Communities for Anglo Olim to connect with other Olim and learn more about various communities all over Israel. Once you have narrowed down a few communities that you are interested in, join the local community Facebook groups to ask questions about your individual needs, and connect with people who live there. Once you have narrowed down where you want to live, secure a short-term rental (check out AirBNB) to test out the community upon arrival and to use as a home-base while you search for a long-term accommodation.
One of the main goals of your pilot trip would have been to research job opportunities in your field, network, and make connections with professional colleagues in Israel. It is highly unusual to find employment before actually moving to Israel, but you can jump-start your search by building up a strong professional network and conducting extensive market research – all of which is possible from abroad with the help of Facebook and Linkedin! If you have any trouble making professional connections in your field, please reach out to the Nefesh B’Nefesh Employment Department who will be happy to assist you.
NBN Job Board – to see professional opportunities in your field
Nefesh B’Nefesh – Jobs in Israel – Facebook group, connect with other job seekers and employers
Nefesh B’Nefesh Linkedin Group – to connect with fellow Olim who have moved their careers to Israel.
You may not be able to work immediately upon arriving in Israel – don’t worry, that is normal. It is therefore important to plan out your budget for your first few months of Aliyah. Check out our article on Budgeting your First Year of Aliyah.
Make sure to join Living Financially Smarter in Israel on Facebook to learn about the current conversations regarding finances in Israel, to ask any questions you may have, and connect with financial professionals who can help you map out your Aliyah.
If you do not plan to work upon arriving in Israel, you may want to specifically look for a community with other retirees who lead active lives. Most cities have community centers, sports facilities, volunteer opportunities, and English-speaking clubs. It is also important to investigate the financial ramifications of retiring in Israel and what will happen with your American funds and pension. We recommend joining our Facebook group English Speaking Olim 50+ to connect with other Olim in a similar stage of life who are encountering the same issues that you are so you can make friends and learn about the process you are about to go through.
Ready for your virtual pilot trip? Please reach out with any questions and our experts at NBN will be happy to assist you!