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.


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