Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Best Printing Company "in Israel"

If you're working in a private business in Israel - or just wanting some type of professional print work done for your activities, you'll have to find a printing company to work with. Having spent many years here already, I've found it difficult to form a relationship with any one company. In addition, obtaining quotes is excessively difficult - and even when one does, if one does not accept the quote immediately, it can well change within minutes. A call back to place an order spoken about just minutes before might be met with a new quote which one must - once again - decide upon on the spot!

Last week I was in need of producing a professional stamp used for lending library we run. The stamp goes in every book and shows our ownership of the book together with our contact email address. I found it difficult to obtain the exact type of stamp I was after - something with the image of a book or the like next to it, but found a store in Meah Shearim with a selection of pre-designed library stamps

The owner was obviously not interested in my business, and I really had to push hard to get him to agree on what I wanted. It was pay-up-front style - where the owner demands payment even before showing you anything he can do for you. I had no choice. He gave me his quote - but immediately changed the amount after I explained I wanted to include an additional line. It was understandable - but I would have preferred knowing the costs for each part of the stamp before selecting what I would have on it. The price was a lot more expensive - but I needed the additional line. In addition, I needed another stamp for personal reasons.

I explained to the gentleman that he should first send me a sample copy of the stamp  (via email) before making it and gave him both my contact number and email address (which appeared on the stamp!) to him. He confirmed he would be in touch. A few days later, I had heard nothing, and realised my only option would be to visit him in person to see what happened. He had indeed done the stamps without my approval. To add to this, there was an error. He tried all sorts of ways to get out of having made the mistake including such ideas as the inconvenience in designing a stamp that was slightly bigger to my wanting a personalised stamp (all ridiculous considering the mistake was with one letter that had been done capitalised where it should not have been!) Eventually he acknowledged his mistake but said at best he would re-do the stamp as long as I paid for the new stamp itself. He would pay for the graphics to be redone! 

At the end of the day I was not happy with either of the two stamps I had purchased and out of pocket a few hundred shekels. The trouble involved in travelling backwards and forwards to Meah Shearim and dealing with the incompetency was just not worth the hassle.

After asking some friends on a social network their thoughts, the responses were quite unanimous. When involved in printing in Israel - select an online service. I am told the service is great, the price is good and things seem to just move smoothly!

Here then are some wonderful sites which I myself am going to be spending a lot more time getting to know. It's really important that we are happy with our print work and the type of service we are receiving. 

There are a lot of companies now offering services via the Internet, and it's worthwhile to look into them - from printing, to online shopping. I am hearing stories of a lot more people using these services and avoiding the frustrations found with physical stores. The choice is yours, but I present you with some sites to consider - all suggested to me by a number of people who use them and feel their services are good.


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Jobs in Israel - and What You Really Get Paid

The new (and old) Oleh/Olah may well be surprised to find out both the cost of living in Israel as well as what a job actually pays. For those reading this blog regularly - you may have seen this issue addressed before - but there's never enough said on this subject and it's vital to educate yourself in understanding what you'll be doing to earn an income in Israel - and what you will be paid for your efforts. 

There's a well known fallacy that you get paid what you're worth and that if you're not getting paid enough, it means you need to get a better education. Let's set things straight... The general Israeli outlook is one of socialism. It encourages working for a boss and being a part of a working team that arrives at work at 7:30am and leaves at 6:30pm every day - 6 days a week. In real terms what this means is that the "boss" receives the majority of the income generated by the business - and most employees receive an "average income" which in real terms is known as "minimum wage".

It may seem like everyone is doing okay - but minimum wage really means you'll be earning less than ₪25 an hour. Again - in real terms, you'll be generating some ₪4500 per month before taxes, Bituach Leumi (national insurance) and other other basic deductions that happen before you actually access any of your income. To qualify these figures and the situation at hand - if you'll be working in the main central Jerusalem area - you'll most likely need to be living there. Roughly speaking a 2.5 room apartment - that means one bedroom and one and half other rooms (i.e. the main Salon and a corner) will set you back some 1.1 million Shekels. Do the mathematics on your monthly salary and you will quickly realise it will take you almost 15 years of constant saving to earn the minimum deposit required to purchase that home. I neglect to mention being unable to eat, stay anywhere, use transport or communication methods of any kind during that time - as you continue to save your money. If on the other hand you're considering rental, a one room apartment may well set you back some ₪3700 per month - or in real terms your entire salary after your basic taxes (if you are lucky!)

Yes, this is the real cost of rental and housing. I was happy to hear of another outstanding radio program recently - podcast linked below (you'll be directed to the site it is on.) It is here to educate and to make you aware of just what the job market is actually doing to the average person in Israel.

Remember, you can often earn a lot more working on your own - even if you incur the wrath of friends who cannot understand why you are not "working" - as above that all people should be part of a socialistic society. Yet, ironically as an educated person, working a full time job will often see you earning less than an uneducated person with no experience. 

Choosing your type of work in Israel means choosing to be honest about what you need to do to earn a livable income - as opposed to fitting in with the crowd. Many coming to Israel will either give up highly specialised fields to opt for house cleaning, bus driving and guard work outside of shopping centers - all jobs which often earn at least the same, if not more than the jobs going for highly educated people with many years of experience. It's a phenomenon that makes absolutely no sense. But the faster one gets to understand the process here, the easier one's integration can be.

In this radio podcast - Why are the Wages in Israel Alarmingly Low - you'll get to hear more about what is actually going on, giving you the ability to reconsider the type of work you'll be wanting to do when living in Israel.  

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Renew Your Israeli Passport - Online!

No matter where you are in the world - you'll need a passport to get around! Do you check your expiration dates of yours regularly? For those not travelling often, you might not even realise that the expiry date is approaching soon. It's always a good idea to check your important documentation regularly!

In Israel, the department that handles your passport is known as the Misrad HaPnim - משרד הפנים - or the Ministry of the Interior. It's a really busy place, and anyone who's been there knows well the aggravation encountered in having to often wait the entire morning - afternoon or even the entire day, just to see to one or two important issues of living in Israel. Some things that can be done there include arranging your Teudat Zehut - תעודת זהות - your identification document, updating details such as your address (a must when you change your address even when renting and moving regularly,) and of course arranging your passport - דרכון - and applying for a new one when the time comes.

As of today there is great news for those who need to apply for a new passport but would prefer not having to wait in line the entire day. You can now arrange for your passport ONLINE directly, fill out a basic form, make your payment immediately, and then download a form which still needs to be filled in manually and dropped off (without waiting in line) at the main office. You'll need to wait just 10 days until you receive your new passport. It makes life just that much easier!

  • For all the info you'll need about what can be done at the Misrad HaPnim, see the Misrad HaPnim website
  • For more info about the services of passport and identity documentation see this informative page here
  • For info about passports in general, including info about what must be done in the event of losing one's passport, see the main passport page
  • For info about the new biometric passport as well as regular passport renewal see the biometric passport page (with tabs to the other passports next to it.) There is currently a special offer to update one's passport for FREE if one selects the biometric passport and one's current passport is still valid for at least two years. You'll also notice that renewing one's passport during certain months brings with it a cost of ₪195, while in other months, it costs ₪280!

For a direct link to a form that will allow you to renew your passport online from A-Z, with you having to then download a form to be filled out manually and then dropping it off at the main Misrad HaPnim, see Online Passport Form

The Misrad HaPnim site and all forms are currently only available in Hebrew.

Note: You are now able to have your photograph taken directly on the premises without having to bring photos with you as was the case before.

This post is sponsored by Chessed Ve'Emet-www.lovingkindness.co: Teaching Torah online, assisting orphans to marry and a number of other exciting projects! Please visit our sponsor and support their activities.


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