Finding the right community for your family is important to matter where in the world you choose to settle. If you’ve decided to make your home in Israel, there may be several factors to consider that didn’t exist in North America. Communities are structured differently here, and these differences are important to keep in mind when choosing where to put down roots.
- Community size: Are you looking for a large town or city that offers diversity and a full range of services and amenities? Do you prefer a smaller, tight-knit community, with limited amenities and possibly a homogeneous environment?
- Language: Consider your level of Hebrew – will you be happy in an all-Israeli environment with little or no other English speakers? You need to think about yourself and your family and determine whether a “soft landing” community with a high English-speaking population is the best option, or if you’d rather jump in with both feet for total forced integration in an all Hebrew-speaking environment. If your kids are small, all-Hebrew could be a good option, as they will pick up the language quickly and integrate seamlessly. If you have teenage kids, being surrounded by English-speakers and fellow Olim will certainly ease the transition.
- Religious considerations: The religious affiliations you are familiar with may have different connotations in Israel. It is important to learn about the different facets of the religious spectrum in Israel in order to choose a community that best fits your religious lifestyle. Many smaller communities cater to one, specific type of population, while larger towns and cities offer more diversity ranging from secular to Ultra-Orthodox.
- Employment opportunities: Speak to people in your field of work and find out where your employment opportunities lie. If your field is geographically-dependent, try to find a community commutable to where you expect to find a job.
- Affordability: Research different communities to get an idea of how far your savings and potential earning power will go towards renting and/or buying a home. Keep in mind that in Israel the down payment is considerably larger than common practice in America – mortgage banks often require a down payment of 40% on a property. If a more expensive community checks all of your boxes but the prices are higher than you expected to spend, you may need to consider looking into options for smaller homes. If having a home of a certain size is important to you, you may need to compromise on other factors such as commutability.
We hope this list helps you find the perfect community for your family! What other factors do you think are important to consider when choosing a community? Let us know!