Thursday, 24 September 2015

What Kind of Water do You Drink in Israel?

I recently treated a patient who had difficulty deciding what kind of water to drink in Israel. With the heat we have been experiencing, I decided to ask in 3 different FaceBook groups what kind of water people prefer to drink in Israel and why. Here are some of the results:

114 responded that they drink regular tap water
73 responded that they drink filtered water
45 responded that they drink mineral water
2 responded that they drink bottle water
2 responded that they drink Soda Water
3 responded that they drink: tap water, bottled water, whatever is on sale

Among the comments that gave a bit more insight, we received the following responses:

- One person said she used a filter situated after the water meter. When asked if this was removable for those who rent she said that it's not worth removing when move.

- Some use a Brita and some a Dafi Jug. For the Dafi jug, one can purchase 3 filters for NIS 60, with one filter lasting about a month. The person to give this info was not able to quantify how many litres were used in a month, obviously this would depend on how many people drink the water from the same Dafi jug in the month. 

- Someone stated that she uses Reverse Osmosis Filter which is removable. 

- One said she purchased a filter from a Home Place store  for NIS 300. While another said she found using Electra Bar was preferable as it gives boiling or cold water at NIS99 a month.

- Two mentioned using Tami 4, but did not clarify what this is. 

- Someone reminded the group that the water in Israel is hard water and high in high in calcium and other minerals, this is the reason for the sediment that forms in kettles and the need to filter the water. 

Some complained about the taste of the tap water and it became evident that there are a number of different water supplies which seems to affect the taste of the water. These include: Tzfat, Kineret, Springs in Gilboa, which is checked every 2 weeks, Spring in Nachal Kziv

- For filtered water from the tap, we had a few options offered. One stated that she uses "this spout installed at my sink & it has a filter attached under the sink that they come to change every 6 months. I opted to pay for the insurance as it covers changing the filter twice a year and if I move they will move it for me and reinstall for free. here is the link for what it looks like."

Another said she paid 700 shekels for my under the counter filter with the spout and I pay 39 NIS a month for the insurance which covers the filters being changed twice a year. With the amount of water we drink it 1) it was far better than having to carry up those 6 packs of big water bottles every shopping and 2) the amount I was spending on the bottles turned out to be the same as putting in this filter.

A third said that the under counter filter costs about NIS 600 to install. Filter needs to be replaced once a year at a cost of NIS 100. It is recommended have a plumber install it. 

The mini survey raised a few other questions which we still have to address. In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you. What do you drink when in Israel and why? Please share your preference.

In this heat, remember to drink enough fluids to keep yourself hydrated together with a balanced diet. The fluid intake does need to include water.

This blogpost is prepared for you by 
Shoshanah Shear

Friday, 18 September 2015

Joint Bank Accounts in Israel: Be Aware....

So you've made Aliyah with your spouse - or perhaps you've just got married in Israel and you're all set to saving your money. You'll need a bank account. You'll probably ask friends and family (who may not actually know the legal ramifications of anything banking wise) what type of account to open. Newly weds often debate the pros and cons of having a joint bank account. One is so used to one's own account, that one feels it's the way to go. Others might encourage you to give way and show your commitment to marriage by having a joint bank account. Should you choose separate accounts, people who find out may feel the right to pressure you saying you or your spouse has something to hide - as if to say that once one is married, one should feel that one's own money is just as much one's spouses as it is one's own - and therefore having a separate account seems to indicate some sort of disloyalty to the spouse.

One may well feel pressured to take a direction one had not ever thought of doing before. Banking in Israel is probably not the same as it is it in other parts of the world. Due to this, it's vital to understand some very important points which - by the way - your bank manager and bank client-relations representative will never tell you. In fact, just at about the time you're ready to open the account, you'll probably find over 50 pages of documentation you'll need to sign. When you ask what it's about, you will just be told to sign the pages (and who knows what will happen afterwards!) Should you inquire as to the better type of account i.e. separate or joint - you will not be informed of anything - but will rather be met with a stare and a pen being handed to you.

In fact, there are some vital points every Israeli needs to be clear about. It seems that even after years after making Aliyah - there are new things one finds out about only much later - things one wishes one knew when one had made Aliyah - "Why didn't they just tell me it should be done this way?!"

A case in point concerns the joint bank account in Israel and a particularly dangerous part of it. Be warned before opening one - so that you can protect yourself from the start! Here's the thing: Your account is open, money is being deposited and accumulating regularly (only of course if you have a job that secures you more than minimum wage.) The account is doing nicely - and sadly one of the spouses dies. For those with all their money in one account, this can be devastating in terms of the legal ramifications. Immediately, save for essential urgent and immediate expenses, the Israeli bank will freeze the account and you will have no access to it at all!

Solution: Before opening the account, make certain that a clause is put into the documentation giving permission for the other spouse to make use of the funds should the other spouse pass on. It's really as simple as that. The banking clerk could easily tell you this and save everyone much aggravation - but as is often the case - it's up to the individual to know the correct way of doing things and to take the initiative. Wherever possible, when involving oneself in any sort of important legal undertaken - make sure to get as much helpful and necessary real advice - in order to make the best of informed decisions in Israel.

Tzvi Szjanbrum - a practising attorney at law, shares this point in the video below. Share this post with your family and friends, and help them to be better informed about the joint bank account in Israel and a hidden danger that lies behind it. Share our entire blog - and help your friends and family learn more about life in Israel, legal points, difficulties, challenges and the happy moments too!

This post was prepared for you
by Eliyahu Shear
Torah Learning Online and Acts of Lovingkindness

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Fast of Gedalia 5776

The past week has been a very strange one here in Israel. A sudden sandstorm the likes of which has not been seen in Israel, at this time of year, for many years. The light turned to orange, the air was think with dust and sand and the heat has been unbearable. We hoped and prayed that by Rosh HaShanah the heat would have decreased a bit. But, this Rosh HaShanah has been extremely hot.

Today is the Fast of Gedalia and since it is a fast day and the heat is still pretty hot, I thought I'd share a nice video to give some food for thought about this time of year and what the fast is about. Sadly many videos I looked at were not what I was looking for.

I started looking for Rosh HaShanah in Israel and found many videos from previous years, still not what I was looking for. I took a break and came back to find a friend had shared a music video. It's not exactly what I wanted but it does stir us to remember the heartache of Yerushalayim and our desire for an end to the tears and suffering.

Today, we remember the murder of Gedalia, the leader of Judah who death resulted in our loss of our autonomy over Israel at the time of the fall of the First Temple. What lead to his death? Why are we fasting? All good questions. If you have any others or any good thoughts, please do post them in the comments below. 

With just a few hours left of the fast I leave you with the beautiful song by Yaakov Shweky - "Cry No More"

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Cats in Jerusalem

Photography by Shoshanah Shear

Coming to Israel, something that many notice is the many street cats. Some complain about them, some enjoy them, others try to help them. Did you know that in Jerusalem there is a Street Cat Amuta? It was established 15 years ago by a group of cat lovers. Often low on budget or in debt, they have limited ability to assist. When they are able to they provide neutering or spaying of street cats at reduced cost and assist in emergency situations. They also offer advice and recommendations about cat issues or refer to someone who can assist.

When they have the budget, they provide poor elderly people in Jerusalem with money to purchase a sack of cat food to help to feed their cat.

A friend of ours manages a colony of 30 cats in central Jerusalem which she feeds and takes care of daily. The Street Cat Amuta assists with this effort.

The Street Cat Amuta is a registered Amuta and receives limited funding from the Ministry of Environment.

The main contact person in the Amuta is Shmuel Cohen 0528701277.
The JSPCA vet clinic in Talpiot is open 24 X 7. The vets are usually helpful with phone advice 
02 678 0222

We hope you have found this information useful. Next time you have a concern about a street cat, please don't hurt it, don't get upset with it, turn to Street Cat Amuta or the JSPCA for guidance.

This post is prepared for you by 
Shoshanah Shear of
Chessed Ve'Emet


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