Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Do You Employ a Foreign Worker?

Beware: They Have the Same Rights as an Israeli!

Guest post by by Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law

Even if you don’t actually fire the worker, he can still ask for compensation and have it be granted by the court, as was the case of Mrs. Guzman from the Philippines (the plaintiff) against Mrs. Rozenfeld (the defendant) in the Regional Labor Court in Tel Aviv before the Honorable Judge Dr. Ariela Katz.
The plaintiff sued the defendant asking for five different components:
  1. Severance pay (30 days for every year)
  2. Back pay (difference between actual salary paid and what should have been paid – payment for extra hours of work she did every day)
  3. Notice fees (one must give 30 days’ notice in advance before firing a worker)
  4. Revenue vacation (payment for annual vacation)
  5. Holiday payment (approximately 8 days a year)
The Facts: The plaintiff worked as a caretaker of Mrs. Rozental’s deceased mother (who died in March 2009) from August 2006 until March 2009, for a total of 27.5 months.
The mother, z”l, used to wake up every morning at 6 am and the morning hours were spent in the kitchen reading. The mother would sleep everyday between 2 and 5 pm and she spent the evenings watching TV. The defendant came to visit her mother around 9 pm on a daily basis and used to stay until around midnight. Right after she left the house, the plaintiff put the mother to sleep in her bed.
The plaintiff didn’t leave the house except for once a month for 12 hours, but she had much free time during the day in the house.
The plaintiff received a $50 payment as compensation for the free day she was entitled to have during the week and had no holidays at all. She was never allowed to take the mother out for a walk. The plaintiff was not entitled to hold the key of the house, to go out to the mall, shopping, use the washing machine in the house or even to take the garbage outside the house (it was done only by the defendant). The only time she was allowed to leave the house was to take the mother to the nearby Kupat Holim (the defendant’s sister used to be the one taking her mother to the doctor).
The plaintiff’s salary began at $600 plus 80 NIS for a week (as a pocket money) and later was increased to $650. For each year of work the plaintiff was granted around 2,500 NIS for both revenue Vacation and Holiday payment. For each day of a national Philippine holiday, she was paid an extra $50.
On August 11th, 2008, the mother complained to the defendant that the plaintiff was hitting her. On August 24th the plaintiff asked to be dismissed from her employment, which the defendant refused. On August 25th the police arrested the plaintiff and she spent a night in prison. On the next evening she was released and no charges against her were ever presented.
On December 2nd the plaintiff received a check for 5,316 NIS that was supposed to cover all the “rights” and benefits she was entitled to.
The Plaintiff’s claims: She was paid less than the minimum wage, she was either fired or forced to resign and because of the false complaint against her, she cannot find another job. The plaintiff did not receive 36 continuous weekly rest hours, and instead of this she was given only 12 hours a month!

The Court’s Decision

The court decided as follows: The plaintiff was not entitled to “extra hours” (according to a Supreme Court Decision in another case – “Glutan” that may change in the near future).
On September 21st the Honorable Judge decided as follows:
The picture depicted to us pointed to a shocking and shameful conduct of the defendant to the plaintiff who is a foreign worker, her only “crime” being was that she came to Israel to earn her living. Therefore the defendant will pay the plaintiff the sum she is entitled to by law, a total of 99,102 NIS and in addition, 1,000 shekels in court fees and an extra 15,000 NIS as lawyer’s fees.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Finding a Home in Israel

My thanks are extended to the Mishna Berurah Yomi program (learn an Amud a day and complete the entire Mishna Berurah in 5 years) for bringing the following story to my attention:

One of the challenges facing the new Oleh is often the difficulty in dealing with his financial situation in Eretz Yisrael after having come from a more affluent life style. In fact, not only this, he may even feel himself losing ground in a variety of other parts of his life as he finds himself shifting from one type of lifestyle to another.

The Shulchan Aruch 1:3 teaches that anybody who fears Heaven should be distressed and worried over the destruction of the Temple. The Mishna Berurah points out that though he experiences distress and worry over the destruction - nevertheless, his Torah study and his prayer to G-d must be with joy! How does one ever come to deal with such opposing feelings?! On the one hand, distress and sadness, and on the other - happiness?

The Chazon Ish teaches "עיקר עשיית מצוה הוא שמחתה שזכינו לכך " - The main fulfilment of a Mitzvah is our joy that we merit to do Hashem’s will through Mitzvos.” Yet we may wonder: How can we feel joy while undergoing personal or collective hardship?

One great answer was supplied by the Abir Yaakov of Sadigura, zt”l. Shortly after the Holocaust, when Rav Yisrael Grossman, zt”l, paid the Rebbe a visit, he was surprised to see that the Rebbe was clearly exceptionally joyous. When the Rebbe noticed Rav Grossman’s surprise, he used a parable to explain why he was filled with joy despite the recent tragedy. “Imagine a poor Jew, beaten down and sickly, who has nowhere to even rest his head. If people have mercy and open their homes to him, he will surely be filled with boundless joy from gratitude.

“The Jewish people today are likened to this poor man. Although we endured such cruelty which resulted in the murder of millions of Jews, we must never lose sight of the positive. Now that we have entered Eretz Yisrael, which is our homeland, we are exactly like a poor displaced man who has finally found a home. 

“Now you might argue that the spiritual level here is not exactly optimal. Nevertheless, the very fact that Hashem has brought us back home after such a tragedy is also enough to make us joyous!”

This is an amazing idea to keep with us - those who take the "plunge" to make our lives in Eretz Yisrael, who take ourselves very often from a life of affluence, and settle for a life which is somewhat less (physically) comfortable - and very often even spiritually unsettling! Those who make the move to Eretz Yisrael should come to see that while difficulties may abound, the first step of the journey has actually been made. They are at home. The ambivalent feelings of feeling unsteady on the one hand - yet excited on the other are normal. Now it's about moving onwards. 

One has found one's home. Now it's about "settling" it and bringing blessing in to it. So too, as we live in Eretz Yisrael as the Beit HaMikdash - the Temple - stands in ruins, we must feel this pain similarly. We must mourn this loss. At the same time, all our Torah, all our prayer and all our acts of kindness, must be done with joy. Through the expression of feelings as they should be expressed on each thing in its own way, we can be certain to do the right things and restore the complete blessing back into Eretz Yisrael with the dwelling of the Shechina (the indwelling Divine Presence) in the Land itself. 

May it be immediately!

It's Raining in Israel.

Just15 hours after posting the previous post about "Thinking Positively and Praying for rain", we found some wonderful posts on Face Book.

4am... And it''s POURING with rain. B''H.
IT'S RAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) lets hope it lasts more than 5 minutes!!! :-)
We got inspired to take a few photos ...

rain drops on our Sorgim (burglar bars)

Reflection of a tree in a puddle from the rain.

It's all misty....

The rain is out and the kids are all ready.

Reflection of a building in the stages of being built, in our beautiful Israeli rain.

it's raining again!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)
It's.... it's.... it's... pouring rain! Thank You, Thank You!!!!!

Amen!!! It is amazing because of all the praying we all did for rain B"H

The rain has reached the south...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Think Good and It Will Be Good - An Appeal for Rain in Israel.

On Thursday of last week, the news came out of a disasterous fire in the Carmel Mountains in the North of Eretz Yisrael. I posted on Face Book for Jews to join us in Tehillim or Teifllah and to send in some inspirational Torah thoughts to add to our weekly Tehillim reminder for our International Tehillim Group. Our reason being that Torah is akin to water and water can put out the fire. I received an answer of a teaching by the Tzemach Tzedek: "Think good and it will be good - tracht gut vet zayn gut"

To help us to think good and to hasten the rains in Israel, we have put together a few images and a little poem. It is a bit of fun, but the message is a serious one. Please join us in increasing Tehillim for Am Yisrael and for Eretz Yisrael. 

It's time for rain, here come the clouds.
An answer to our prayers, no more need for shrowds.

 The sky covers over, soon it will rain.

This light still comes through, there'll be blue sky again.

We're ready for rain, our rain boots are out.

We'll jump in the puddles, laugh and splash about.

 The rain is now coming, the rain clouds now open.

The North of Israel now get's its soaking

The fire goes out and the Kineret re-fills

The level is just perfect, free from all spills.

We invite you dear friends, Yidden great and small.
To imagine this poem and visualization, have a ball.
Put in some frills, add to it make it tall.
For we really need Salvation right now for one and all.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Plastic Wrapping Your Luggage When Flying

In the last few months, a new practice has begun for security reasons. Prior to checking in, it is recommended to have your luggage plastic wrapped to secure it against sratches, cuts, breaks and theft, possibly a few other things too.

Many airports around the world now offer this. Certainly it is becoming more used in South Africa.

If you fly within South Africa or Internationally, you need to take your luggage to the "Protect Your Luggage" kiosk near the entrance. There is a cost per piece of luggage wrapped.

If you fly to Eretz Yisrael on ElAl, this service is free once you complete your security check. If you are concerned as to whether it is still free when you fly, please call ElAl prior to going to the airport, or simply walk across to the ElAl counters and enquire prior to having your luggage Plastic Wrapped. It takes a few minutes to walk over to the counter and enquire and can save you the money of paying to be wrapped, when ElAl currently offers this free.

Travel Safely and Welcome to Israel.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Job Opportunity - Creative Graphic Artist with Knowledge of Torah.

Chessed Ve'Emet are an organisation involved in acts of goodness and kindness as well as Torah outreach. You can find out more abous us on our website

We are currently in need of a graphic artist to design an attractive and meaningful logo for our organisation. We have a few of our own ideas and would like to bounce these off the person able to produce something for us. The graphic designer must have an understanding of Torah - goodness and kindness - and able to consider something that will include both these ideas.

We are also in the process of designing attractive artwork on Tzeddaka boxes, see Chessed Ve'Emet's website .

If this is your type of work and you would be able to design an attractive image encompassing our activities, please could you give us a quote for the artwork for this too.

If you are able to help and have a portfolio of your own work for us to look at beforehand and can give us a direct quote of what this would cost (before we go ahead with the design) - or you know someone competant and creative, please be in touch with Rav Eliyahu directly


Israeli Passport Renewal from Abroad

To Deserve an Israeli Passport:
One Must Maintain Continuous Contact with the State of Israel

If you are an Israeli citizen living abroad, you may find it pays to visit Israel once in a while.
This was the case of Mr. Shultz (the petitioner) against the Ministry of Interior of Israel (the respondent) in the Appeals Court in Jerusalem before the Honorable Judge Mr. Moshe Sobol.
The petitioner was born in Israel in 1954 but in the beginning of 1990 he left Israel using a foreign passport, never returning to Israel again.

The law stipulates that a person living outside Israel must register and present himself once a year in the Israeli Embassy at his place of dwelling abroad in order to be entitled to receive service from the Embassy/consulate. The alternative for this can be maintaining continuous contact with the State of Israel.

In 1999, the petitioner received a new Israeli passport in the Israeli Embassy in New York and 10 years passed until the validity of this passport ended in February 2009. When he attempted to renew his passport the Embassy refused to issue him a new passport. Thereafter he hired a lawyer in Israel who he had met in June 2009 with the help of a civil servant responsible for passports in the Ministry of Interior.

As a result of this meeting, the petitioner received a one-year extension of his passport in July 2009 issued at the Israeli Embassy in Switzerland in order to allow the petitioner to come to Israel and request a new passport here. The petitioner did not come to Israel but again asked for a new passport. He was denied but was offered a temporary travel pass valid for 6 months which he refused.

The petitioner claimed not to be able to come to Israel due to monetary limitations and family business. He also claimed his rights to travel freely were being limited against the basic laws of Israel and more: He claimed to be a donor to the state of Israel, his wife was constantly coming to Israel, one of his children served in the IDF and that he was never told on any occasion he should register himself at an Israeli Embassy abroad.

On October 18th the Honorable Judge decided in favor of the respondent and imposed a fine of 5,000 shekels on the petitioner.

The Judge, after hearing all the sides and examining the affidavits presented to him, decided that the petitioner did not comply with the law because of the detailed reasons as follows.

There was no proof whatsoever that the petitioner was a donor to Israel and he did not present any evidence of this. Concerning the fact that his son served in the IDF, the Judge stressed the fact of his son being 24 years old and had served in the army in the past and not presently. Not only this, but the petitioner left Israel when his son was only four years old, leaving him behind and had never come to visit him. About his claim concerning his wife coming constantly to Israel, the Judge pointed to the fact that the last time she visited Israel was 12 years ago.

The Judge did not accept any of the petitioner’s arguments concerning his monetary limitations and family business and in fact it was proven beyond any doubt that these arguments had no basis in reality.

Conclusion: If you are living abroad for many years and want to be entitled to receive all the services the State of Israel offers you in its Embassies and consulates around the world, you need to register and visit the Embassy once a year to re-register. The alternatives are as the law stipulates: “A constant and continuous contact with Israel.”

Pay a visit, keep property in Israel or even better - Come back and join us here.


  Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law

Monday, 13 September 2010

How to Fix an Israeli Door Handle - A Photographic Guide

This article is copyright
and may not be used without written permission from the writer

You're living life in Israel and just loving it! All seems to be going just fine. You've got the apartment sorted out and everything seems to be in working order... Then suddenly one of your door handles breaks! You try tightening a screw, but it doesn't seem to help! If you're renting, you could speak to your landlord about the problem, wait weeks before anything is done and then perhaps end up hiring the services of a professional to take care of this nuisance!

Or... You could simply tune in to a great blog like Welcoming Olim, find a neat photographic tutorial on how to deal with life in Israel - and learn to fix it yourself! It's easy. Don't worry. Things do break in Israel. There are some who seem to have flawless apartments - the kind where nothing ever breaks even over decades. But if you're one of the more normal people in Israel, you may find things breaking every now and again. Don't get yourself down. Things like fixing a door handle are quite simple, relatively cheap to do - and you get the satisfying reward of knowing you've done it yourself! You've saved yourself fortunes in unnecessary expenditure, and the hassle of waiting for someone else to take care of it for you. Not least of all - you've saved face with having to discuss this "nasty" issue with your landlord - if you're renting!

So, let's get started and fix that door handle!

Step 1: You'll probably need to purchase a set of Allen Keys (Pic below). Now, don't be frightened by this. Actually when you buy your new handle kit, you'll probably find that it comes with its own Allen Key. If so, you can skip this step. If not, a new set will cost you around 20 shekel and you'll have it for life. Get yourself the better set if you can afford it. You could choose something cheaper - say 13 shekel or so - but will it be worth it when it gives in after just a few turns?! In any case, when it comes to life in Israel, it's a great idea to get yourself some good tools. You may be in need of them more often than you think. So whenever you have the opportunity to add something to your new tool kit - go for it - you won't regret it!

Step 2: You probably won't have to worry about this next stage because if the handle is broken, it will fall out of the hole on its own! If it's still stuck in the door, give it a good pull, it will come out. You'll be left with the two sides of the handle. (See pic below of the broken handles!) You'll notice an Allen screw on the left handle. Actually what happened here is that this screw eventually wore itself out. Don't worry - it happens to the best of Israeli handles!

Take a look at the pic below. You'll notice on the right side a slightly wider area where the screw had been inserted. Due to wear and tear, it actually created a bigger hole inside the opening eventually causing it to become so large that it just fell out. It is impossible to put a new screw in there - as it will just fall out again. That's why it was necessary to purchase a new handle altogether!

Below you'll see a new door handle kit! It comes with some screws, it's own Allen key (yes!) and other trimmings including two washers (don't forget these!), just in case you need to install everything. Our tutorial will only cover the basic handle without the trimmings. The kit below will set you back some 22 shekels!

The new handle shown in the picture below shows how the two sides will fit together. On the left - you'll see the Allen screw which is what will hold everything together.

Step 3: Before inserting the new handle, make sure to slip on the two washers we spoke about above. See image below where you can clearly see the new handles with the washers on them.

The picture below shows what the door looks like without it's handle. You'll be inserting the new handle in the top. It fits in rather easily - as you can probably work out! In the event that the silver rings break off, you'd have to replace them with your new kit as well. In our case, everything is still where it should be. In any case, if you did have to replace them - you can see how easy it would be. You'd simply have to remove the two screws, remove those silver disks, and replace them with new ones. 

In case you're wondering... this is a modern bathroom door. It even has one of those fancy "In use" disks which turns red when there's someone in the bathroom. (I guess it has it's own sense of embarrassment! Either that, or the person inside had the good sense to turn the key!)

Step 4: Insert the handle with the large metal connector. In our case we have inserted this side of the handle on the outside of the door with the long metal connected on the inside. The picture below shows what the hole looks like with the one side of the handle peeping through. You'll be snapping on the other side of the handle over that, closing it tightly and voila!

There you have it! The picture below shows the handle on the other side of the door neatly fitted!

Take a look at the image below. You'll see that the small Allen screw is jutting out. Once both sides of the handle are connected (on opposite sides of the door) you'll need to screw this in tightly.

Step 5: Insert the Allen key into the screw as shown in the pic below, and tighten it!

DONE! (See below!) - WELL DONE!

This article is copyright
and may not be used without written permission from the writer

Monday, 30 August 2010

How to Change your Tris (Shutters) in Israel - a Practical Photographic Guide

This article is copyright
and may not be used without written permission from the writer

Our previous post about Trisim spoke about the ins and outs of Israeli shutters, and how the Tris works. This post details with photographs – step by step, the exact procedure necessary to actually fix the Tris.

Here's how to do it:

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Interview of Avraham Fried In Israel

It is always good to hear something positive about Israel and those giving motivation and inspiration to Am Yisrael.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Occupational Therapy in the Israeli School System

It's been a while since I spoke to a certain colleague and it was nice to catch up. During the course of conversation, this occupational therapist (OT) who is now retired from the Special Education System in Israel shared the following regarding finding work in OT withing the governmental special education.

There are certain offices one can go to in order to sign up for finding work. One needs ones degree approved by both Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health. Once it is approved you can put your name on the list to hear of positions coming available.

When asking what the going rate is for salaries, she stated that the salary is dependent on ones years of experience and which of these years of experience are recognized by the Ministry of Education. e.g. if you have worked privately overseas, these years will not be recognized unless you worked for a private clinic not your own and received a salary.

There is a time process for the Ministry of Education to decide where you fit into the salary scale. You have to work for the Ministry of Education in one of the special education schools in order to ascertain what salary scale you fit into. During this process you will not receive any salary even though you are working.

When asked how long the process takes, is it a week, a few weeks? The answer given was, at least 4 months. There is no altering this time span. If you wish to work in the governmental education system you must make arrangement for your financial needs outside of your salary. Once you have worked for a month or two you can apply for an advance on your salary which will probably be a percentage of 25% - 50%, however you must be able to wait to be paid for at least 4 months.

After the 4 months you will be eligible for your salary and certain benefits, however you will only know what you will be paid monthly once the 4 month period is up. That means, if you need to know your salary prior to applying for a job for budgeting purposes, you are unlikely to be given this information until 4 months into your working without a salary. If at the end of the 4 months you find that the salary they offer you does not meet your financial requirements for your family etc, you will either have to find additional work in your spare time or find alternative work.

Keep in mind, if you move out of the governmental education system during the 4 month period and later wish to come back to it, you will need to go through the same 4 months waiting to be paid, it appears this is the case even if they had decided previously where you fit in the salary scale in case factors may have altered your position or elligibility to be paid a certain salary.

Monday, 12 July 2010

First Impressions of Israel

It is Rosh Chodesh Av and the start of the 9 days. We asked a few women what their first impressions of Israel were.

Here are some responses.

P: The first time I came to Israel - I arrived with bleary eyes – After a long and tiring journey, I was so tired, and barely managed to collect myself, get the luggage, and greet my Uncle. So when he took us through a back road on the way to Jerusalem and stopped at a quaint restaurant for some chicken Shishlik - I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty around me and the warmth and the food tasting so delicious! I felt so at ease and it amazed me! (What gets me more is the fact every time I leave Israel, the tears just flow!)

Shoshanah - it was more of a very tired but relieved feeling that we finally made it to Israel. I'm not the type to get all wound up about this sort of thing. (and rude Israelis don't get me angry like it do some people) Hard to pinpoint when I felt a difference - but perhaps it really sunk in when we arrived to Ein Kerem (home of my Uncle) only to realize he lived in a Cave in the Mountain! (Literally) - it was an old Arab house - and basically it was carved into the mountain - and we had to drive up this cliff to the house - climb a lot of stairs and our room was at the very top! so we settled in - slept and in the morning woke up to a gorgeous view of the Ein Kerem Valley and a couple of mewing kittens! Very eclectic and not something you get in the States! All I remember thinking was - WOW!!!

MM: ! Yesterday was my 8th anniversary of my arrival on E.Y...which led to my getting married and making aliyah (in that order..there were a lot of strikes that summer)...I just felt lifted up by the air. That was the first thing I felt. And I remember the contrast I physically felt between Yirushalaim and Tzfat...I could feel the intensity here (in Jerusalem)..everything was more intense more potent and in Tzfat, the lightness and coolness. And feeling grounded and at at home in Chevron and joy in Tiveria with the water...

C: I cried....I was home....finally....I felt a spiritual relief....

Please send in your first impressions of Israel. The first time you saw or stepped onto the Land of Israel, what did you think, what did you feel? We want to hear your experiences too.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Israel Distributes Gas Masks Nationwide

We really prefer to post happy articles, however, this information is important for all Olim.

Israel has begun its nationwide program to provide protection kits with gas masks to every citizen in the country, and for the first time ever, the IDF Home Front Command has teamed up with the nation's Postal Service to distribute the equipment.

The campaign is being carried out to ensure that every Israeli will be protected in case of chemical, biological or other attack that could temporarily threaten one's ability to breathe.

Citizens are able to obtain their kits in two ways ­ either by going to one of several distribution stations currently in the process of opening up throughout the country (which usually involves long waits in line) or by calling the Israel Postal Service and asking for the kits to be mailed directly to the home.

Israelis choosing the second option are asked to call the Israel Postal Authority's 171 hotline and coordinate a time for delivery of the kit to the home. The delivery service costs NIS 25 per household.


Gas masks ordered now by phone will be delivered to your door for NIS 25 for your entire family - (you don't pay for each mask - this price includes as many gas masks as you need for immediate family members).

The fee of NIS 25 is billed by credit card for phone orders.

You must provide Teudat Zehut numbers for family members when making the order over the phone.

If you have an old gas mask kit in your possession you must return it to the messenger in order to get your new gas mask and kit.

Phone now to order kits for your entire family: Tel: 171
NOTE: be patient, there is wait time to get through.

Call 171 and expect a long wait each time. Don't hang up, use the time for other productive work while you're waiting. Have your calendar in front of you, as you must arrange a date and time (when you'll be home) for the delivery. Have the Teudat Zehut numbers ready when you call. You'll also need a credit card number for billing.....

Note: Home Front Command may be reached by dialing 1207 from any telephone in Israel.

May we never need to use these, but we have to be informed.

Since charity saves from life, and helping a Jew with something we ourselves need enables our prayers to be answered first, we ask you to join us in helping a fellow Jew obtain what he needs in order to breathe. His situation is different, but it involves the right and ability to breahe freeling and easily. Please visit Torah Online Website and help to Save the Life of a fellow Jew. In the merit of your kindness, may we be protected that no Jew in Israel need to use the masks mentioned in this article.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Considering Working for Yourself in Israel?

If you come to Eretz Yisrael and wish to work privately, there is an organization that offers courses in small business development. It also promises 20 hours of mentoring free of charge to Olim Chadashim within the first 10 years of their aliya.

This sounds wonderful and if you have a simple idea it really could be. If you have decided of a basic product that you know how to manufacture, who your target group will be and all the other necessary information, apparently you will gain assistance.

If your work includes anything in English, you have a handicap as their experienced consultants are all Hebrew speakers. You can call the number provided and be given a recording with options of 3 languages. However, if you press the number that should give you English, the only English you receive is the menu of what extension will reach which person within the company. After that you have to be fluent in Hebrew.

If you are working in a medically related field such as occupational therapy, the advise you are likely to be given will be to change the name of your profession and then try to market it. If you believe strongly in your profession, you will need to find assistance elsewhere, as this appears to be their standard piece of advise. 

From the 7 or more mentors I have tried, most have been very young with little business experience. Some sound advise given to me other than changing my profession has been:
- know that there are no miracles, just hard work, so get working
- there are no recipes for success. No-one really knows how to succeed, just put in your effort and remember to focus.
- when starting to work in Israel, be prepared to work in anything, especially work you hate. The consultants apparently all worked in jobs they hated and expect you to do so too.
- know that although there are labour laws which include being paid for your work and the time period for receiving payment, no company or facility in Israel will actually abide by this, especially schools or health related facilities. They know that it is too much hassle to take them to small claims court and that most Olim wont try. They also know that there are enough newly qualified people who are prepared to wait to be paid. Therefore if you want to keep your job, don't complain if you don't get paid on time or request that they abide by the law.

Though this is advice I was personally given and it appears to be a lot of what is practised or heard on the street, the profession of Occupational Therapy teaches something quite different. From an Occupational Therapy perspective there is such a role as a worker role, there is such a thing as a work ethic and in addition, part of the profession teaches that a person can not be healthy in the absence of meaningful occupation. I fail to see how working in something you hate will have any meaning or value and am very against the notion of advocating this to fellow Olim. In addition, there are actually Torah Laws regarding paying ones workers and the notion of not being paid is very worrisome.

One tip I learned after a few years here is one way that those professionals working in facilities manage is to have private work on the side. It helps to tide you over until the facility decides to pay you.

Something I learned from having sadly wasted almost all of my hours just trying to explain my profession is go into a meeting with any consultant well prepared. Know exactly what you want to do and what business advice you want or need. Have clearly outlined goals and don't budge from them. If you have been working for over 10 years, dont get into telling your whole work history as this can easily take up many of your mentoring hours and you don't want to waste them. Rather only tell in a few sentences the very main points that are pertinent to your meeting. 

If anyone has had an experience starting to work privately or in a small business, please do send it in. We want to hear from you. The good and the bad. Let your fellow Oleh or Olah know what is happening, what is good and what is wrong. Let us work together to build Eretz Yisrael. The land where every Jew belongs and the land given to the descendents of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov for the purpose of fulfilling Torah and mitzvos, here in the land. This is the work of every Jew. If anyone tells you otherwise, just fold your earlobes down over the hole of your ear and don't listen.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Help For an Oleh and His Family

The following letter was submitted by a caring member of the Beit El community. 

A few months ago a ten year-old-boy from the town of Beit El in Israel was diagnosed with an advanced stage of Leukemia. The boy must undergo both hemotherapy and radiation therapy for an ongoing period of time. He travels every day to and from Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem—about an hour trip each way.

The boy, suffering from the side affects of the treatments, is in pain, has lost all his hair, has no appetite, cries often, is very weak and bloated, and at times needs a wheelchair to get around. He is one of four children, including a twin brother who is suffering along with him emotionally, and in many other ways. His family made aliyah to Israel from Chile about five years ago; the father’s employment wages are minimal and his mother has had to quit her job in order to take care of him.

One of the problems Beit El community members are trying to help solve for this boy and his family is the daily travel situation. The family has no car and must rely on favors from neighbors or charity organizations to take the boy and his mother to and from the hospital every day. The present volunteer-based arrangement is very problematic. It involves many different drivers, a variety of drop-off and pick-up points, sudden changes in schedules or cancellations, the boy being exposed to many germs, waiting outside in the summer sun or winter cold and, unfortunately, a lot of stress for everyone involved.

We, the residents of Beit El, would like to set up a better system that would involve paying for a driver / taxi that would be on hand and available on a regular day to day basis. We are, therefore, turning to different communities both within Israel and outside of the country to help this young boy and his family. It is estimated that travel expenses alone would cost approximately $125 (400 shekels) each way (to the hospital and back) or $2,450 (about 9,500 shekels) a month.

Unfortunately, this is only one of the many areas in which they will be in need of financial support for a prolonged period of time. We are very grateful for any contribution that would help ease their hardships.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Need Employment? Enjoy Photography? Become a Professional Stock Photographer

You may have noticed that our blog is all about helping new Olim in a variety of ways.

Most importantly we want to see every single Oleh with an appropriate and acceptable Parnassah (livelihood.) There is no reason whatsoever for any Jew to leave Israel on account of Parnassah problems. However, many people find it difficult to obtain a proper job or find work. They may forget that everybody is able to make a living by themselves even without a formal 7am-8pm job six and a half days a week. In fact, very often life in Israel demands that one begin to use one's personal skills in different ways to earn a living. Relying on a job situation - that often fails to pay one's salary for months on end can end up costing one a lot more than one might think.

For this reason, we are opening up the channels and offering Olim a unique course giving them the ability to earn a livelihood by themselves. The great thing is that if they enjoy photography - they'll also be able to enjoy making a living - be creative and have fun!

Here's our offer to you. If it measures up to what you may enjoy doing, we would be delighted to help give you the tools to become more involved in using photography as a way to earn a living in Israel - and all around the world:

Do you enjoy nature and people? Do you want to learn how to use your digital camera and use it to make money?! 

If you enjoy photography and are looking for the edge in being able to photograph a quality image and be able to actually make some money from it, you'll enjoy our forthcoming course!

Course includes:
  • An afternoon out in nature where you'll get to learn how to use your digital camera, become aware of composition, exposure, focus and light.
  • An evening together where we will be critiquing each other's images with a view to understanding what makes a quality stock (and other) image.
  • A few hours together learning about some basic photo editing techniques. How to make your image sparkle a little more after it's been taken.
  • A few hours devoted to understanding how the stock photo sites work, which are best for you, how you can submit your images, and actually earn income from them.
  • A few hours devoted to feedback as we get to understand why your images were accepted – or why they were not.

You can turn your hobby into a profession and limit your income only by the lack of your own initiative.

This is a professional course being offered to serious students only. Ideally suited for beginner and intermediate level photographers.

For further info on costs and dates, please contact Eliyahu of Shear Success Photographers.

The Heat in Israel. Drinking - and the Water of Israel

If you're living in Israel and have come from the place known as "Sunny South Africa" – you may find yourself in for a big surprise when it comes to the sun. While the general sun of Sunny South Africa is usually a pleasant warmth, the sun in Israel can often be extremely hot. The heat can in fact be a rather unusual one and carries with it certain features that are not common in normal heat. Often one is "blessed" with that heat-wave known as a Chamsin (meaning literally heat-wave.) 

Dehydration can be a common thing for those not paying attention to the need to drink. Not just to drink normally – but often a little abnormally too. One needs to make sure that there are plenty of fluids in the body in the heat of Israeli weather conditions.

Everyone knows about the importance of drinking in those conditions that necessitate it. But I'd like to highlight something additional in this post, and this concerns the water that is drunk in Israel.

In South Africa, it is quite normal to drink ordinary tap water. In Israel, there is a lot of additional "limescale" (see previous post, Household Tip – Cleaning Kettles.) In fact, this makes the water very harsh. The best way to find out just what real Israeli tap water looks like is to insert a tap filter around the tap itself and use the water this way. After about a month, take off the filter and look inside to see what has gathered there. Don't be shocked! Just realise that without a suitable (professional!) filter, you're going to be putting this into your body. Another way of seeing just how hard the water is, is by not cleaning your sink or bathtub very well. After just a short period of time, you'll notice your basins looking quite dirty. Don't worry – this is not actual dirt, it's the hardness of the water "eating" at the basin. You'll find that the toilet bowls begin to turn brown as well, and it takes much experience to know exactly how to clean them well.

As a side point, you may also find your kettle gathering heaps of additional lime at the bottom of the kettle after a number of uses. It actually becomes quite thick and you'll want to clean out your kettle regularly and appropriately to make sure that grime does not end up being a part of your daily coffee!

Back to the water, this hard water is difficult on the stomach of many, especially Olim Chadashim. If you're looking for a healthy water, like other Israelis you can choose to install a professional water filter system on your tap – which can cost quite a sum! If you're leasing your apartment, it won't be easy to do either, as you'll often end up leaving the entire filter system with the landlord when you leave (having now officially given him/her a parting gift!) – or incurring some expense to remove the filter and restore everything to its original condition.

On the other hand, you can do what many others do – and drink the spring waters which are easily available in the supermarkets (Makoliyot.) You can buy them in a variety of sizes. If you're looking to save money, you'll get them in packages of 6 bottles to a container. Each bottle usually contains 1.5-2 litres of water. If you look for the specials, you can end up saving a lot!

There is one important caution that must be pointed out here. There is actually a danger in becoming too used to these waters. In fact, drinking too much of them can cause you to… DEHYDRATE!

There's "the small print" on every bottle which subtly tells the buyer to beware – you can dehydrate drinking me! This is the sodium content which is in almost every case an absolute minimum. You'll notice the words "Dal Nitran" written on the bottle. Dal=Low, Nitran=Sodium. Those words are present for a good reason! They're actually a warning of what might be in store if you don't take precaution. It is this that causes the dehydration problem. Ask any GOOD doctor about this point, and they'll warn that drinking too much of this spring water can add to one become more thirsty, drinking more and dehydrating from the water! If you are prone to low blood pressure or blood sugar, this fact is especially important. (This point has been personally observed and proven together with the good doctor's advice!)

How does one overcome this drinking problem (a drinking problem all of its own!)? One must include a variety of drinks in one's diet throughout the day. Some good fruit juices, together with the water, and perhaps even with a little bubbly and gassy drink (cola or the like) can actually help in restoring the body to the condition it needs to be in, in order to counteract the extreme heat and dehydration problems.

We'll be talking more about "drinking-substitutes" in a later post.

Note: This post reflects the personal opinions of the author and does not necessarily indicate normative medicine or normal medical practice. Should you be faced with an issue of overheat and dehydration, please consult your personal doctor for appropriate advice. 

In addition, don't forget, you will need to find out how much you should be drinking for your system. You need a lot of liquid but too much is equally as dangerous.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

How to Fix Israeli Shutters (Trissim) - Part 1

If you're new to Israel – the word Tris will already be a familiar one. Plural – Trisim, refers to those "wonderful" Israeli shutters that come standard on every apartment. Granted, they may not look as fancy as those shown in the picture of this post, but they seem to do the job…

If you've lived in your apartment for more than six months, you'll also know that those shutters can start wearing out. In fact, there are many tenants that will be shouted at and insulted at the moment they break (a perfectly normal thing to happen!) For those not too "good with their hands" – you may find yourself with a headache on your hands!

This is how it all works, and what you need to know about Trisim:

Continue Reading...

Friday, 18 June 2010

Rachem, The Song - An Appeal to Hashem to Restore the Holy Temple

As we prepare for Shabbat, let us remember the Holy Temple. In the YouTube below we see an appeal to Hashem to have mercy on us and restore the Temple to it's rightful place.

This beautiful video shows unity of Jewish boys and men, davening and singing next to the Kotel.

Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael URGENTLY needs more tefillos, more Tehillim, unity. We are calling on Jewish women to unite each Shabbat from wherever you are during daylight hours through the reciting of Tehillim. Please follow this link to our website to sign up and join. Already we have over 120 Jewish women in Israel, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia involved in this group. We are striving for 1000 Jewish women. Please help us reach this target and then go beyond so that ALL Jewish women will unite through reciting Tehilim for Am Yisrael.

May we enjoy the re-built Yerushalayim and the Beis HaMikdash in all its glory, even before Shabbat. 

Shabbat Shalom

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

WIN: Your Chance to Win Free Advertising on This Blog!

If you are a South African who values the Land of Israel and values those South Africans who make the decision to live in Israel – then we have a special offer for you.

We are committed to sharing information via our blogs and web sites for the entire purpose of uniting South Africans who are thinking of making Aliyah or who have already made Aliyah.

Thousands have already benefited from reading the articles posted on our blogs, have made new contacts, new friends, received assistance and have gained in finding out invaluable information about living in Israel.

If these are the type of people you want to attract to your business, then do email Shoshanah or Eliyahu with a brief description of your business and any support that you may wish to offer Olim at this stage or in the future.

You'll notice a graphic image on the top right side of our Welcoming Olim Blog stating "Your Advert Here." We are offering the first FOUR lucky businesses replying to this, the opportunity to advertise in this space for one week free of charge! 

Businesses must:
  • Be owned by a South African Jew (living in SA or Israel)
  • Conform to Torah law
  • Supply own graphic with link to email / web site
  • Share a brief statement indicating their support to those taking the challenge to live in Israel
  • Share their impressions regarding the blog and networking Ning.
  • Be prepared to have these impressions posted as part of a blog post (whether they win or not)
  • Must be a member of the South Africans in Israel Ning
  • Must be a member of the South Africans in Israel Job Exchange Yahoo group
Best entry receives an additional week free advertising!

Competition ends 23 June 2010.

Take a part in the next biggest venture in networking South Africans in Israel. Make your company a part of this project and show your support for Israel and for those courageous enough to make the move, settle the land and pave the way for future South African Jews to be able to make Aliyah with ease and success!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Purity with Dignity - Featured in "Living Jewish"

Nechama was recovering from a severe work-related injury that transformed ordinary activities into formidable challenges. The nature of the injury and precautions set up by doctors in the first few weeks prevented her from bending over, and minor errands were a huge undertaking. As she marked her calendar, Nechama viewed the special date with trepidation; how would she be able to prepare properly for her immersion in the mikveh while her body was frequently riddled with pain and constant dizzy spells? She did not want to faint in the water.

It is said that anyone who strives to purify herself is given assistance from Above. Nechama explained carefully her needs to her mikveh attendant, and they were like angels in disguise checking on her and helping wherever necessary. In addition to the attention and care she received with her preparations, Nechama discovered that someone had generously covered her mikveh fees. Since her temporary disability had rendered her unable to work, Nechama’s heart was warmed by such consideration and said she was grateful that her name didn’t have to be written in the mikveh ladies thick notebook of debts.

Rabbi Eliyahu Shear and Shoshana Shear with rabbinical approval and Hallachic guidance of Rabbi Fishel Jacobs started the organization “Purity with Dignity” to assist women who cannot pay their fees for the mikveh. While a mikveh fee might seem like a minor amount of money, the sad fact is that there are women who have to scrimp on food choices for their families to pay for their monthly trip to the mikveh, and their debts can quickly pile up. When the Shears raised the 800 shekel to cover one woman’s substantial debt, the mikveh lady confessed that Purity with Dignity had done a chesed not only for the woman, but for the mikveh lady, who felt a stabbing pain in her heart at the thought of reminding a poor woman that she had outstanding debts.

As a spin off of Purity with Dignity, the Shears started the organization “Bayit Chadash” providing basic items for needy Kallahs, along with a package of necessities for a woman’s first trip to the mikveh. Rabbi Jacobs commented; “The Shears are not only helping defray immersion related costs, they are literally making embarking into a life of marriage not something to dread. Rather into that special dream it is meant to be.” If you would like to make a contribution, please visit http://torahonline.weebly.com/baal-teshuva-mitzvah-fund.html
Miriam Metzinger, miriammetz@gmail.com

--- This article was published on Living Jewish


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