I polled the Jerusaguide community of women to hear the tips they have to share with you.
Moving to Eretz Yisroel? These days, this golden opportunity is more common than ever. But the gift is no less great. If you’re one of the lucky ones, consider yourself to have won the jackpot, because you are moving to the most beautiful place in the world, both physically and spiritually.
One picturesque morning, a friend and I were walking to the Kosel. The cerulean sky glimmered on the white stone, as crowds of all types and stripes of Yidden converged to meet at the holiest place on Earth. As we walked, we mused that if someone had told our great, great-grandparents, that their descendants would be privileged to live in Eretz Yisrael, they would’ve been met with disbelief. Living in the Holy Land? Only in their wildest dreams could such a phenomenon occur. And in such close proximity to the Kosel, Kever Rochel, and other mekomos kedoshim? A pipe dream!
And not only living, but thriving! Amongst beautiful communities and infrastructure that bolster frum life. Amongst every kind of Yid united under the umbrella of Yiddishkeit! What a gift.
Want to make the most of this special time? Whether you’re moving temporarily or permanently, take some advice on how to maximize this unique opportunity from actual boots on the ground.
There is an incredible forum for English-speaking women in Eretz Yisrael, called Jerusaguide. It’s the ultimate source of information, support, and camaraderie, and it was founded by Bruchy Duschinsky, a powerhouse in her own right. This forum helps thousands of women navigate life in Eretz Yisroel, daily. To help ease your transition, we’ve collected some advice that your sisters-in-arms want you to know before you move!
We asked, “What do you wish you knew when you moved to Eretz Yisroel?”, and here are the answers!
- There are so many opportunities for you. You just need to open your eyes and find them! And even when you find them, you gotta jump on them! Don’t be a bystander; be an active participant!
- Get the newcomers guide (a directory for the English speaking community), as it’s so convenient. They have a website too, filled with all kinds of information you need.
- I wish I would have known about Jerusaguide! It would have solved so many questions I had in the beginning. Join it by emailing email@example.com. Some people like to create a new separate email address for Jerusaguide emails as there can be a lot.
- Living in Eretz Yisroel is a kli for real personal growth. It’s built into the atmosphere.
- 85% of what’s in boxes in America is in a bag here!
- You can and you will learn Hebrew or Yiddish by osmosis!
- You can walk a lot more than you think!
- Space is overrated! You can make a real homey home with your 50 meter apartment. Make the nooks and crannies your own to make it home.
- You won’t be living by the Kosel or Kever Rochel or Geulah. But you do have the chance to do it more often than you realize, and definitely more than if you’d be living elsewhere. Even if you have a hectic schedule, make it happen!
- Israeli ketchup and mayo will just never be Heinz or Hellman, and that’s okay! If you can’t adjust, have no fear, they sell ‘em too.
- I wish I knew that the first year will be challenging, but THINGS WILL CHANGE and one day I wouldn’t want to go back! The me back then would never have believed it!
- Try to move with somewhat of a plan, or a plan of not having a plan. Have the discussion before, so you feel more comfortable when you’re here.
- Don’t bring so much with you! Apartments are smaller here.
- Start using Israeli cleaning products right away, don’t shlep Shout or Up ‘n Up! Once you use Israeli products to keep your ‘mikdash m’at’ clean and homey, you’ll feel more settled.
- It can be hard raising kids without family around. Be kind to yourself, and make your friends into family. Support each other!
- Living here isn’t a place to be when you have no choice, but it’s seriously the best place to live!!
- You can’t get fresh veggies on Sunday, so stock up on Thursday/Friday!
- Your local makolet will not have fresh chicken when you decide at 4 pm what to make for supper!
- The adjustment period can be tough. Let yourself settle in slowly, and don’t push too hard. Everyone you see confidently scanning their veggies in Osher Ad also feels homesick sometimes. A person can feel homesick and lonely and at the same time happy and content. Pushing through the emotions brings you closer to your husband and deepens your relationship!
- The first time I went back home, as soon as we landed in Newark, I looked out the window and said, ahhh I’m home! The second time I went home, it didn’t feel so much like home anymore. When we got back to EY I felt that I came home!
- It might take a while, months or even years. But one day, you’ll come home to your little apartment, open the squeaky heavy door, see the glorious sun shine over the matzah meal tiles and transparent paint work, and you’ll feel at home! Because we all are at home here.
- Living here is nothing like the high of being here in seminary. Yes it’s a very spiritual, holy atmosphere, BUT day to day life is well – day to day life! Don’t have the same expectations.
- Ice coffee doesn’t tide you over while running a house, it’s only good for cramming for exams and late night DMC’s, so find your foods and nourish yourself!
- It takes TIME, like a long time, to get used to things. For some, it can take 6 months for things to feel normal and at least a year to start enjoying it.You need lots of patience!
- Practically speaking, you don’t have to set up your apartment in a day or even a week! It’s all right for it to take time, and happen more organically.
- If you want it, you will come to LOVE it. I wish someone would have told me that to give me chizzuk during the initial hard stage.
- If you’re planning on moving back, be aware that it means uprooting your life here, and starting again, which is of course doable, but something to be aware of!
- You will miss minor and sometimes major events outside of EY, but there is NOTHING compared to the relationship and the depth that exists in a marriage that has its foundation here.
- Only in Israel do people look into your grocery shopping cart and tell you that you mistakenly labeled one of your vegetables wrong and will end up paying much more than you’re supposed to!
- The difficulties will pass but the beauty will last!!!
- It’s not like when you come on vacation, it’s real life!
- You actually need to know the names of products in order to shop successfully!
- I used to look down on people who came to live here on high standards, but then I realized that everyone living here is sacrificing something, and that is so beautiful!
- I wish I knew that there was a way to live on normal (aka not tight but still very careful) standards and still put away money for the future. I got paid under $10 when I first started working (Israeli office, Israeli pay, Israeli benefits), because I didn’t know better. Advocate for yourself and your capabilities!
- Invest in relationships when it’s still easy to build them. Be proactive. It’s much harder to make friends when you’re juggling more and more responsibilities as life progresses. Start early because things only get busier!
Read more from Bina over here.