Jerusalem’s New Mother-Friendly US Consulate

baby friendly US consulate in West JerusalemPlease welcome Chana Jenny Weisberg for today’s guest post. Mazal tov on your new baby, Chana!

Until recently, I found registering new babies at Jerusalem’s US Consulate almost as harrowing as the births themselves. So when I went to register the birth of my baby at the brand new US consulate in Arnona, Jerusalem last week, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the consulate has become much more mommy-friendly, and even somewhat enjoyable.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of what made those visits with newborn in tow so incredibly unpleasant—and why it is so much better now.

  • Location: The old consulate was nestled amongst the hostile and unfamiliar streets of East Jerusalem. Making that venture across Street #1 with a newborn baby during the years of intifada was especially scary. The new consulate is GORGEOUS. Millions of dollars worth of marble and glass with expansive vistas of the Judean Desert. Almost  Holy Temple-ish in beauty and magnificence. And it’s located in the tranquil, historic Arnona neighborhood of West Jerusalem, convenient by car, taxi, and the #7 bus line.
  • Strollers: For security reasons, no baby strollers were allowed into the old consulate. The strain of carrying a baby in my arms or a baby carrier for several hours so soon after a birth inevitably meant that I was in bed for a day following my visit to the consulate with a virus or cold or infection.Parents are now allowed to bring a stroller into the consulate, and leave it in the stroller parking area inside the consulate when they enter the consular services area. This means that parents still need to hold their baby while they are actually submitting their applications, but this new arrangement is a huge improvement over several hours of baby-holding.
  • Lines: The hours-long line outside the old consulate was exposed to the elements, which meant that the baby and I were often stuck standing in the burning sun or the pouring rain while waiting to be let inside. I worried that I wouldn’t be allowed inside if they had already exceeded their quota of applicants,adding more stress. But the relatively new online appointment system has made the awful, endless, element-exposed line a thing of the past. Registering a new baby and getting a first passport used to take between 2-4 hours. Now you can easily be in and out in an hour or hour and half.
  • Facilities for Babies or Children: At the old consulate, there was no place for children to play, no place to nurse (I would cover up and nurse in the Federal Benefits corner), no place to change a diaper, and no special arrangements to speed up the procedure for the many parents who visited the consulate. Now this is the best part. The new consulate features a spacious, beautiful nursing corner off of the women’s bathroom, a large, marble diapering area, and a half-a-football-field-sized picturesque outdoor sitting area where kids are encouraged to play and run around.

What a tremendous step up for the 80,000 American citizens currently living in Israel!

Make an appointment with the Jerusalem US Consulate.

Make an appointment at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Chana Jenny Weisberg is the author of the world’s most popular weekly newsletter for Jewish mothers. To sign up, visit www.JewishMom.com

Photo credit (American Consulate):
Rahel Sharon Jaskow, Elms in the Yard (http://elmsintheyard.blogspot.com)

Check out the 2016 fashions at Hydrochic modest swimwear.

Comments

  1. Wow, it’s about darn time. The Embassy in Tel Aviv wasn’t quite that bad but nearly so. Hurray for progress!

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  2. This was so helpful! Do you also have a link to the Consulate site to make appointments?

  3. Chana, the last time I went to the consulate was to replace the passport my relatives had lost. I was in a seminary here, and needed to take a witness who knew me as a child, and the only candidate was a boy from a local yeshiva where I knew a lot of people. Oy, the grief I got!

  4. AHHH the consulate in East Jerusalem was terrible. Anyone remember that after the hours of lines you were greeted by another outdoor waiting room? But my largest problem with the US consulate is bigger. My first child’s birth, registered in Jerusalem, does not list her as an Israeli birth with the US government which is an appalling policy whereas my second child registered in Tel Aviv is somehow suddenly magically Israeli.

  5. I never went with a newborn. You don’t need to register the baby immediately. We waited 6 months and sometimes a year with one of the kids.

  6. We were very pleased with our experience at the Embassy in Tel Aviv. There was an armchair for nursing in a private spot off the women’s bathroom, there were toys in the waiting room, the consul gave both our boys stickers at the end! I also thought it was very child-friendly because although they had strict restrictions on what you could bring in for security reasons (eg no cellphones) anything for the children – stroller, toys, food – was allowed in.

  7. Nurse Yachne says:

    I remember that over 15 years ago at the J-lem consulate, they confiscated the blunt-tipped bandage scissors I had in my purse. Hurting anyone with those would be a challenge to say the least. Thank G-d now we have American airport security to protect us all from large tubes of toothpaste.

  8. Nurse Yachne says:

    This changes everything. Well I remember the terrifying ordeals standing outside the consulate in all kinds of weather, feeling like I was waiting for a Wallenberg certificate or something, waiting for the snipers and the bombers the lynch mob.

    And this is odd, because working in the hospital, I feel completely comfortable working with Arab patients and their families, especially the mothers.

    Always managed to stay cool, if very, very alert while waiting there, but I always had nightmares for days afterwards. Things I could compartmentalize at work spilled over their boundaries in my subconscious.

  9. Pls can u give me exact directions how to get there Thank

  10. What a great move! The old location was definitely a horror.

    I saw on Janglo someone spent 50 minutes looking for the new U.S. consulate building. The address listed on the consulate site ( http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/contact_us2.html
    ) is:

    14 David Flusser

    The person on Janglo claimed there is no such street. Are they correct?

    I don’t see a street David Flusser on the Google map.

    They (on Google) say the consulate is somewhere near Beitar street. Do you know which cross street? Could you give us specific directions?

    Thank you!

    Avrohom

    • Avrohom, I can’t help you but I like your website on Israeli home repairs.

      • Thank you for the compliment.

        Yes, I guess you could say you we both have similar goals of trying to help out Yidden living in Eretz Yisrael.

        My site is a Do-It-Yourself site for Home Repairs in Israel.

        BTW, if anyone else could give us exact directions — I think this could be helpful for others.

  11. Dr. Michael D. Evans says:

    It is a relief that Isarel has an ally. It’s great that they have now a child and mother friendly facility.

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