Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A Pilot Tour - Part 1

Many Olim, prior to making Aliya, will come on a Pilot trip or tour. This can be a private visit to Israel to gather information or it can be on an organized tour. What are some things you will look for on such a trip?

An obvious big decision is housing and location. When talking to fellow Olim, I often ask, how did they choose the particular area of Israel that they are living in. Some will say that they moved there because there was an offer for cheap housing.

This is something that is advisable to look into further. For Olim from different areas, there are different areas of Israel that the various organizations offer perks for them to move. For example, you might be told by your Shaliach, in the country you are coming from ,that if you move to a certain area that you will be given better mortgage rates, increased rental subsidy and more. The Shluchim do a very good marketting job, trying their best to get Olim from their area to go to those particular parts of Israel. For some, this is a great option. However, it does not suit all Olim.

If you are being "pushed" into a given area, check out the marketting strategies. If you are told the area is only 10 or 15 minutes from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, when you come on your Pilot tour, check that out. Is it really 10 or 15 minutes on a watch or does it just feel like 10 / 15 minutes to the shaliach. Is that 10 or 15 minutes by bus or train or car. If it is so close by train, how long would it take you to get to the train station and from the train station at the other end.

This information helps you to get an idea of real traveling time.

Look at other factors too. What is the population like in the area they are advising that you go to. Does the population meet the age group you are looking for, religious background, types of stores that would be beneficial, kupat cholim you are considering using, hours of kupat cholim, schools.

What is the housing like, are there only apartments or are there also houses or caravans. Are there good buses to wherever you might need to go to. Are there parks and beautiful views. This is important to some. If you like the city, dont get pushed into moving to the country and visa versa.

In short, it is beneficial to work out for yourselves what is important to you. Do you need the mountains or the sea, inland any where as long as it is Israel or somewhere specific. Green or desert. Are there other Olim or is it more established and predominantly Israeli area?

If you have friends and or family already living in Israel, do you wish to live in the area they live in. If not, are there times of the year that you will be able to get together to visit. Keep in mind that Israel has for the most part a 6 day week and Shabbat, there is no Sunday as an extra day to go visiting family. If your family is religious and you are not yet, how will you feel spending Shabbat with them? What will you do if the reverse occurs. If you observe Shabbat and only have Shabbat free, what arrangements can you make for visiting family. Will they come to you, will you stay with others in the area and walk to them on Shabbat.

We have given you some ideas to think about. Obviously there are many more when deciding whether to make Aliya and if so, where to move to.

One thing to remember when coming on your Pilot Trip, this trip is rather like the tour that the Spies made when scouting out the Land of Israel prior to Am Yisrael entering the Land. We learn from them a powerful message. When gathering your facts and looking for your needs, be careful as to how you formulate your conclusion and what you look at and for. As we know, the Spies gave a certain report that was true but sent the Nation of Israel complaining. There were 2 spies who did not fall into this trap.

In another post we will look at these two who did not formulate a negative opinion and what we can learn from how they conducted their trip differently to the other 10 Spies.

If you have other thoughts or questions on this topic, please do send them in and we will try to address them.

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