Sunday, August 20, 2006

Getting my Feet on the Ground

A-Plus: 4 Days
Moshe, who met me at the airport, called last Friday.  He had the day off and was in the city looking for an apartment.  After he had finished looking at places he came over, took me driving, and helped me find all the locations that I was unable to find Thursday.  We first went exploring down Rechov Hertzog in southern Jerusalem, and found the Beit Hanoar Haivri (Young Men's Hebrew Association) where I will hopefully be able to take my ulpan.  They also happen to have a gym and a pool with separate swimming hours for men and women, so I had hoped to be able to sign up and then I could do my exercizes and studying in the same place, but when I saw the prices I gawked.  $74 per month.  By contrast, my gym in Walnut Creek was $19 per month.  Forget it!  I'm just going to have to buy a set of dumbell weights and do my own jogging and lifting.  After exploring the area, we discovered that the number 6 bus, the one which goes from Pisgat Ze'ev (a Jerusalem suburb) to downtown also has a stop right in front, so I also have means of transportation there now. We then found the Nefesh B'Nefesh offices where I will be receiving my Teudat Zehut (Israeli Identity Card) on Tuesday.
Later in the day, I was finally able to establish contact with my cousins Rafi and Galila (and their 4 children) here Pisgat Ze'ev and arranged to move over here after Shabbat. 
I had an excellent first Shabbat in Israel with my friends in French Hill, overlooking the old and new city, and was able to meet up with some of the Rabbis I knew here before.  I had a special aliyah (calling up to the Torah) to celebrate my aliyah (moving to Israel,)  and when the kehillah (congregation) heard of my recent arrival, they broke into song and began pounding on the tables, "May God return all his children to within his borders."  It was quite a high for me!
After Shabbat, I moved to Pisgat Ze'ev.  I'm sleeping in Rafi's daytime office, and they told me that I don't have to rush out, just take as long as I need (within reasonable limits, of course) to get my life settled and situated.  My goal is to be out on my own in a month, hopefully less.
My next steps, in the approximate order I hope to achieve them are:
1. Acquire cellular phone
2. Obtain Teudat Zehut (Israeli Identity Papers)
3. Open bank account
4. Sign up to receive payments from the government (part of aliyah package.)
4. Get health insurance
5. Find and rent apartment
6. Sign up for ulpan
7. Establish internet connectivity
I'm worried about my job now (I'm always worried about something.)  My boss is returning from his vacation on Wednesday, and I'd like to be able to get to work before people in Walnut Creek start to forget about me.  Unfortunately, I don't have my phone system set up and don't think I will be able to until after I get my own place with internet connectivity, which, as detailed above, is at the end of a long list of tasks which must be completed first, and may take slightly longer than I had thought.  What I'm thinking of doing is offering to begin right away doing basic work via email and fax and making my own international calls in to the office as necessary, and then letting them know as soon as my phone service is up and running.  It's a gamble because I want to prove that this can work on all levels, and my first impression will be harmed if I can't be reached by phone for the first couple of weeks, but it is also important to get started ASAP so I'm not left out of the loop.
Today, I took a "day off" from aliyah worries and all of the cousins, and their brothers and sisters and children, drove out to a park in Yemin Mosheh, with a stunning view of the walls of the old city, for a barbecue.  We ran the kids around, I had time to catch up with everyone, and had a great and relaxing day.
And of course, jetlag is really slowing me down.  But, IY"H, I shall overcome!

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