The Best Last Minute Pre-Aliyah Tips

El-Al-Plane I received this email from Neshama:

My husband and I are FINALLY coming Home, and should be flying July 6 IY”H (G-d wiling). We’re BE”H (with G-d’s help) renting for a couple of months in order to get acclimated and look for a permanent place together. Can you offer advice on any topic to be considered BEFORE we depart, so that I don’t say: “Wish someone told me that before we left – wish someone had told me to bring that.”

It’s been nearly twenty years since I made aliyah, and the only tip I can come up with at the moment is to leave your water-wasting washing machine at home. But I imagine the newer olim will have more to share.

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Advice for Olim (New Immigrants)


  1. Hadassah says

    Leave your expectations at home!

  2. pack office supplies! the price of printer paper is outrageous! Also high-thread count bedding (if you like it), quality kitchenware, and extra new shoes for everyone.
    Plan on eating out for a while until you figure out the grocery stores, etc. Also, expect to be very tired for several weeks. Aliyah, even a well-planned one, is stressful and tiring. Don’t try to go everywhere at once. try for 3 “official” tasks per week, starting with opening a bank account (allow 3 hours time for the bank. trust me) and getting cell phones.

  3. We came on aliyah over 26 years ago and things were quite different. We brought a lot of everything because at that time there were not yet as many of the products available that we see today.

    Over the years the thing that I’ve heard most, that is the most important to bring, is as much money as you can. Really. You might not have a job right away and it is more difficult to be frugal when you are not yet comfortable with your new environment.

    You should bring a few months worth of the family’s favorite toiletries, until you have a chance to try out what’s available here. Even the same brands are different here because the water is different.

    You should bring some boxes of favorite breakfast cereals so that there is at least one simple comfort food available for the beginning of the day.

    Neshama should subscribe to the Tachlis aliyah discussion mailing list and ask the same questions there. You can subscribe at this link:

  4. We came on aliyah over 26 years ago and things were quite different. We brought a lot of everything because at that time there were not yet as many of the products available that we see today.

    Over the years the thing that I’ve heard most, that is the most important to bring, is as much money as you can. Really. You might not have a job right away and it is more difficult to be frugal when you are not yet comfortable with your new environment.

    You should bring a few months worth of the family’s favorite toiletries, until you have a chance to try out what’s available here. Even the same brands are different here because the water is different.

    You should bring some boxes of favorite breakfast cereals so that there is at least one simple comfort food available for the beginning of the day.

    Neshama should subscribe to the Tachlis aliyah discussion mailing list and ask the same questions there. You can subscribe at this link:
    You’ll have to copy and paste it into your browser as it seems that wordpress will not accept the comment when I have it as a full link.

  5. BTW, even after 26 years, there’s no way I’m giving up my “water wasting” washing machine! My time is more valuable than that. Referring to the larger loads and shorter machine time needed for a load.

  6. Bring lots of extra small toiletries– i.e., foundation, mascara, spare razor blades, heart burn meds, whatever you need. You can usually find the same or similar brands in Israel, but they’re much more expensive, so it’s worthwhile to stock up on these small items in the US.

    Bring along a good book or two that you’re looking forward to reading. You’ll need some escapism during your first few weeks here. (Btw, I recommend shipping the rest of your books via the USPS’s special Airmail M-Bag rate:

    Expensive, small electronics (laptops, ipods, etc) are also well worth buying in the states and bringing with you. It’s easy to find a plug adapter for laptops. We still buy all of ours in the US. Basically, if something is small and expensive, it’s worth buying in the states.

    Get psyched!! You’re in for an adventure!

  7. We LOVE our washing machine – and it’s (supposedly) not water wasting, but it was definitely our best pre-aliyah purchase.
    Also, printer paper and boxes of cereal take up lots of space in a suitcase, and printer paper especially is very heavy. Something to take into consideration. But money? Definitely!
    It might be helpful to find out ahead of time which kupat cholim is the “good one” for whatever city you’re moving to. Then you can just go to the main office and sign up, and not spend valuable time doing all the research.

  8. Definitely second the recommendation to bring toiletries, especially sunblock which is insanely expensive in Israel. Also, ziploc baggies in different sizes.

    I don’t think the shoes are a necessity, though. Shoes in Israel are much higher quality than in the US, and not noticeably more expensive. The only exception might be sneakers or running shoes, which are still cheaper in the States.

  9. T to add to the toiletries comment above, bring neosporin, cortaid, bandaids and other OTC meds you use freuquently. Some are only avail. here with an Rx and others are very expensive. If you have small kitchen appliances that are in good condition, (blenders, mixer, food processor etc) it’s worth buying a good transformer to keep in a corner of your kitchen and bring your 110 appliances. They will run fine, and even if they eventually burn out, you won’t need to replace them all at once. Food items I still ask people to bring are vanilla extract, baking powder, chili powder (the blend not cayenne), splenda, ground coffee (especially decaf). There are often debates over whether to bring beds or buy here, I don’t think it makes that much difference, the key is get the beds and the sheets in the same country so the sizes match.

    If you haven’t already done so, join the NBN Yahoo group. This time of year especially, there are lots of conversations on this topic.

    Good luck

  10. I agree with a lot of the above. There are two categories of US purchases, though…

    1. the things that are very hard (or impossible) to get and

    2. the things that are readily available but very expensive

    For #1? Ziploc brand bags and real maple syrup. Decaffeinated black tea. (Maybe I am the only person in the country who is bothered by this being missing!)

    For #2? Sunscreen and (my BIL tells me) contact lens solution

    Re: hair care and other products, the water is much harder here and this probably means your favorites won’t do the same job. I recommend either buying here (they have several major brands like Pantene and Garnier and Head & Shoulders) or buying something specifically formulated for hard water.

    We bought all of our appliances over here (rather than buy 220 and ship).

    Beds here are smaller, so it’s possible to use US sheets on Israeli beds. Not a perfect fit, but good enough.

    Definitely agree with Rabbi’s Wife about not being able to do it all at once. We found that we could take care of one-and-only-one “big” thing every day. (Big = bank account–yes! at least 2 hrs!, signing up for kupat cholim, registering with the municipality for school and arnona, Internet/cell phones/cable–also at least 2 hrs!, etc.) If you come during Chofesh Hagadol (July/August), especially during August, be aware that many offices have reduced hours–the administrative office of our kupat cholim (largest one in the city) virtually eliminated their afternoon hours for the entire month.

    Coming with an organized group like NBN was great–they are ready to take care of some of the administrative headaches for you, and give literal step-by-step advice for taking care of some of the basics (kupat cholim, sal klita, driver’s license conversion).

    Hatzlacha! It really does get better. Promise! (Worst is the 3 months BEFORE you come.)

  11. Bring a sense of humor.
    Document or blog your coming adventures.
    I think you can skip the bulky cereals because I think you can
    most of them here (maybe a bit more expensive).
    When I made aliyah 26 years ago, favorite foods were the main items to bring.
    Today I would say small electronics and favorite English books and magazines.
    Have a great trip / aliyah.

  12. Bring a positive attitude. If you have that, everything else will fall into place.

  13. What Baila says. “Attitude is (practically) everything. And dump all the excess stuff that you thought you needed in Chu”l. You probably won’t have space for it. Besides, living life here fills so much of your time that babysitting your stuff becomes too much of a burden.

  14. Oh, I forgot about ziplocks! Those are light and handy, esp. the freezer kind that can be washed and re-used. Also Ibuprofen and Tylenol are much more expensive as well as sunblock ($25 per bottle!) and all OTC kid’s meds.
    Something light to pack in your suitcase is Crystal light/kool-aid. You can’t get drink powders (just syrup) here and you will need to drink a LOT during the summer. Drink mixes help.

  15. @RW: Thanks for the suggestions.
    @Debbie, I guess for once we don’t agree! A longer cycle doesn’t cost you extra time when you plan well. And the difference in loads isn’t that great, because you can fill a front-loader fuller. Neither is worth the waste of that amount of water. Breakfast cereal is a good idea, but I recommend transitioning to an Israeli-style breakfast as fast as you can.
    @Maya, my friend said she’s checked out the blogs on my sidebar and yours is her favorite. 🙂
    @Maayan, I’ve found that kids shoes are cheaper in the US.
    @Rachel, good tip about the small appliances. We did that.
    @Kate, good points. I’ve bought contact solution for my son (Target brand), though, and he said he could get it here for the same price.
    @Gila, weight is an issue, which partially explains the expense here.
    @Jacob, thanks for the visit. Blogging is a great idea, of course.
    @Baila, I knew someone would say that. I just didn’t think it would be you. 🙂
    @Ruti, love your comment about babysitting your stuff.
    @RW (again)Skip the Crystal light and get your kids used to tap water right away.

    When I go to the US I buy sunscreen, dental floss, ziplocs (occasionally), English books, and electronics. And English workbooks to keep kids busy during English class when there isn’t a better alternative.

  16. I agree that ATTITUDE is the most important thing. The other thing is Hebrew. Learn as much of that as you can before coming to Israel.

    Regarding purchases, electronic gadgets and small kitchen appliances are more expensive in Israel. If you have kids, buy lots of English books. Today you can order most things from the US and have them shipped to you in Israel for a relatively small charge and anything under $75 is imported tax-free.

    One word of advise, whenever you go on any of those long, frustrating “official” trips, bring food, water and something to do for yourself and for the kids (books, crossword puzzles, paper and crayons,etc). It will totally change your experience.

  17. Maple syrup? Zip lock bags? You guys are making aliyah sound like a camping trip! Anything you want you can get in Israel – anything. If maple syrup is too expensive you will find a local and healthier product like date syrup. I think the advise should be what NOT to bring. If it has sentimental value – bring it – pictures, books etc… Do not bring furniture. American furniture is too big for Israeli homes. Appliances are not expensive here and suited to the specific needs of the country. Why pay for a lift when you can get more suitable things here. Clothes in America are often too hot to wear in Israel – buy things here.
    Try to keep an American bank account so your US child tax benefits can be directly deposited into your bank account.
    I agree with Baila – attitude is the best thing.

  18. one thing that we found helpful when going to gov’t offices was to have multiple sets of photocopies of birth certificates, apostilles, passports etc so as they were needed, we could just hand the clerk the documents for each person. They appreciated our organization and were able to accomplish most things on the first try.

  19. I was going to say read Maya’s blog, but she already commented here!

    Lots of luck.

    Remember things will be different here (when we first arrived, even cucumbers did not look the same!!!)

  20. rachel q says

    I agree with Ariela.
    Our philosophy has been that if Israelies survive without it we really don’t need them.
    Ziplog bags? Haven’t used them since aliyah. Quality of my life remains unchanged.
    Washer? Bought here. Quality of my life remains unchanged. When I travel to the US I am amazed that the ohh so powerful American washers do not remove stains as good as my slow and small washer.
    toilettries: bring for the beginning, but otherwise get used to the israeli osed, buying imported stuff here is so expensive.
    ditto fpr diapers, baby wipes, etc.
    At the end of the day you can find things in Israel, if it’s too much money then it’s time to rethink wether you need it or not.

    Do not bring furniture (beds and cribs maybe), throw away 3/4 of your junk, it not pleasent to live in a crowded tiny apartment full of stuff you can do without.

  21. Interesting that all the focus is on material items and bureaucracy. What about the important things like finding the right educational framework for your children? Finding a community where you feel comfortable? Integrating into the local culture? Instilling a love of the Land in family members despite the difficulties?

    Which washing machine you choose to use will not be a deciding factor in whether or not your aliyah is a success!

  22. I disagree with Ariela and Rachel q. I think it’s important to have some “familiar” things when you first make Aliyah. Yes, you can transition, (and you will!) but right at first, familiar things help. And when relatives come visit or want to send presents, why not ask for some of those familiar things, or things which are cheap in Chu’l (children’s shoes are a perfect example. 3-4 dollars for good clearance shoes in America, 50-60 shekels for the cheapest baby shoes here, 250 sh. for some really good shoes)
    Also, some foods you can’t get here, why not have them as treats sometimes? Or to be able to make some of your familiar recipes until you can learn how things work here? Nothing is more disappointing than trying to make your first Shabbat in Israel and not having any of your food turn out nice because you can’t get some key ingredient, or don’t know what the Israeli equivalent is. Like when I tried to make my first birthday cake here from my favorite recipe, and it flopped so hard I cried. Now I know you have to drain the “cream cheese” here, and that the powdered and granulated sugar isn’t like the stuff in America, but then, for a slightly homesick oleh, it was soooo disheartening.
    You’re right that moving to Israel not a camping trip, but neither is it a walk in the park. Anything I can do to ease the transition for a fellow Oleh, I will do, including that they bring in their luggage or in their lift certain things that they may miss from home right at first, or things they can save LOTS of money on in a very expensive place to live. (Ibuprofen-11 dollars for 500 tablets at costco in America, 25-35 shekels for 30 tablets in Israel. I could make a huge list like this, as I’m quite the penny/agurot-pincher!)

    • Hi, I am a 26 year old male making Aliyah next week. Are there any other shekel pinching tips that you can share?

      I usually spend a fortune on eating out, but I want to brig Tupperware and eat cheaper. I’m coming from Vancouver Canada. Any tips?

      Thanks for this stream!


      • You can check out my cooking blog at, lots of frugal tips there. The best tip is to learn to eat like an Israeli! Where will you be located, Paul?

  23. I agree with those who say to get used to Israeli products as quickly as possible. It will also affect the way your children acculturate and how quickly they integrate into Israeli society. If you continue to use/depend on American products, your kids pick up on it and start to consider Israeli products as “icky”. If you’re moving to a heavily American neighborhood, they will tend to socialize with other American families who feel the same way, creating a clique and, if you’re kids are older than 2, that could make it harder for them to learn Hebrew and integrate into Israeli society. I know that sounds a bit dramatic and farfetched, but I’ve seen it happen a few times already with olim.

  24. rachel q says

    forgot the most important piece of advice; learn hebrew, do everything in your power to learn hebrew and make sure your kids learn hebrew. After a few years hebrew should be the main language of your kids (adults is much harder)

    Rabbi’s wife; you’re right, the first few months you need the stuff you are familiar with. But it shouldn’t last for more than 6 months-1 year. The family needs to do the transition to Israeli culture at some point. The sooner the better. Aliyah is more than living in Israel. It’s integrating to Israeli society. When my husband and I are in the center of the country we love going to meatland to look at the american imports. We usually end up commenting on how we used to buy all these products and now we even forgot that they exists. So far we have bought 2 items there, one of which I forget to use.

  25. Clothes – there are sublte (at least to me) and not so subtle differences in fashion here and in the states. When we returned to Israel after 3 years in the states, my kids took one look at what everyone else here was wearing and refused to wear most of their American clothes. They just didn’t want to look like tourists. The bottom line, don’t bring too many clothes. Also, I never wear (and have gotten rid of) my heavy American sweaters, coats, etc…. It just doesn;t get that cold here.

  26. “(Ibuprofen-11 dollars for 500 tablets at costco in America, 25-35 shekels for 30 tablets in Israel. I could make a huge list like this, as I’m quite the penny/agurot-pincher!)”

    I bought one of these bottles the last time I was in the states 4 years ago- we never finished it and there were still about 400 tablets left when I had to throw it out after it expired. Why do two normal healthy adults need 500 tablets of Advil in their possession anyway (assuming your children are still on the liquid stuff like ours)? We go through maybe two average Israeli bottles of adult Advil a year. The 70 shekel is not really breaking us. Children’s Nurofen, however, we go through like water, but it’s not worth it for us to have shlepped from the US. Besides, my kids got attached to the British orange flavored version, anyway.

    Also, it’s helpful to get out of the American Costco way of looking at shopping, mostly because few pple have room in their apartment to store the bulk shopping that could save you money (but, judging from my own Advil experience) rarely does in the long run. I think you end up spending more because you think you’re saving.

  27. Agree with Ariela and Abbi about the fashion and bulk buying. But sunscreen is astronomically priced here, I buy it anyway so why pay ten times more? I do buy clothes for myself there–I just find it easier to find what I like.
    Jewish Ideas Daily-the writer specifically asked what to bring, so that is how the discussion evolved. It doesn’t mean it’s the most important ingredient in a successful aliyah.

  28. We are also coming HOME this summer, although it’s actually a “chazarah” for us. For our kids though, this time will be entirely new (and exciting!).
    When we made aliyah 8 years ago, we did it all: toiletries, shoes, clothing, appliances, etc. and the real truth is that you can get just about everything there, so don’t sweat the small stuff (ok, with “sweating”, I guess the sunscreen would be a good idea, I had NO idea it was that outrageous!). First time around we brought all appliances, but that was silly bec. the American ones were too big for the Israeli kitchens, and repairs ended up being much more expensive. But I am totally with those of you who said to bring an American washer/dryer. I have six kids, KA”H, and I worry that with the Israeli machines I’ll never get to enjoy E”Y if I am doing laundry ALL DAY every day!

    Thanks for all the suggestions, this really helped!

    • NT: So you get a second chance to do it better. For the record, there do sell large, front-loading washing machines here. Although even with six kids I prefer the smaller size, so I can do more frequent loads and get by with fewer clothes. I have to hang the same amount in any case. Good point about the appliance repairs, not to mention parts.

  29. This has been great fun. Thanks everyone; got to meet some great minds here. I’m printing everything and its my ‘bedtime story’ tonite. :-))

  30. @ Jewish Ideas Daily, those issues are occupying us (and will continue to do so) now–and have been since about four months after we arrived.

    But at first? We had to figure out about fabric softener + laundry soap and sifting flour (and a million other tiny things).

    By the way, does anyone know WHY sunscreen is so expensive here? It makes me so entirely enraged. (My kids look like they are of Irish descent. We go through a lot of it.)

  31. Kate- a trick I’ve learned with sunscreen is to stock up on the end of summer sales at the chain pharmacies. Doesn’t help for now, but keep it in mind for August. The usually have 2 for 1 or 2+1 and then your set for next summer.

    • My friend sent me this tip by email:
      The price of sunscreen in much cheaper if you buy it in a kupat cholim pharmacy. They also have inexpensive Band-Aids and talcum powder (at least mine does).

  32. Shimshonit says

    Welcome home! Someone from Nefesh B’Nefesh said he discovered soon after making aliyah that the first trip to anywhere (bank, government office) should be regarded as a pilot trip. That’s when you find out who you’re supposed to see, what you need to bring, etc. After nearly 4 years, that’s still usually true. We still try to find out what to bring before making our visit, and once in a while succeed in transacting whatever business we have, but the pilot-trip expectation has saved us a lot of disappointment.

  33. Medical records – results of tests, doctor’s reports, specifically ask for a letter from a doc if you think the info might be important.

    Your new doctors here may well insist (and rightly so IMO if there is no documentation to support your reports of past medical history) on doing various tests again – you can avoid at least some of these by bringing detailed documentation. It can also speed up renewal of prescription meds.

    On that note – as well as OTC meds, bring a stock of any regular prescriptions if you can – gives you that bit longer to get organised with new doctors etc.

  34. rachel q says

    re: sunscreen. When I see a sale (50% off or more) I buy a lot. Also I don’t buy higher than 30-35 spf. With suncreen it’s more important that you put a lot rather than a higher spf number. You are better protected by usind a lot of 30 SPF than a little of 70 SPF.

  35. I lived in Israel for many years and only ever missed one thing from overseas – the clothes. I could never find things my style in Israel and the few bits and pieces I did find were not great quality. As a result, any trips overseas turned into shopping trips and were incredibly expensive….. But I never did get used to clothes shopping in Israel.

  36. I made aliyah in 1988 when things were much different but like many others, I think that today you can get almost anything you want/need in Israel even if you have to pay more for it. So might as well start getting used to living the Israeli way. I think one thing that contributes to a successful aliyah is attitude, specifically, don’t think about your aliyah as “We’ll give it a try for a year and see how it goes.” People think that a year is enough time to be acclimated but it’s not! Yes, in some ways you’ll be acclimated by then but it’s an ongoing and continuing process. You’re coming home for good and if you view your aliyah that way, it will make a huge difference!

  37. When we made aliyah I met a couple who had heard that a lot of people go back after three years, so they committed to 5. It was enough.

  38. Sunscreen – you can get it on sale for under $10 a bottle even in June (if you’re willing to buy the store brand, for example). Bring a bottle. Don’t bring a 5-year supply.

    Makeup/cosmetics, bring enough to last a while… there is cheap junk and high quality (expensive) and not much in the middle

    Shoes: if you’re a payless/walmart shoe shopper, definitely bring shoes. It’s hard to get half-decent shoes for under $50. Once you’re willing to spend that much, you can get VERY nice shoes here. Sneakers are cheaper in the US though.

    Men’s clothes – higher quality and cheaper, and men rarely change styles or sizes. Pick up a bunch of Dockers and shirts.

    MII: The US washers are MUCH faster and are gentler on clothes by far. I would definitely get a US washer if we had space/money for one. Since I have trouble loading the machines and stuff, my husband does most of the laundry on Friday. 2 hours per load means he almost never gets through it.

    Maple syrup is available. Zip loc bags are available at Big Deal – there’s one in rehovot, raanana, bnei brak, and more than one in Jerusalem. There are a few other places that carry them, but they’re a pain to get here. I just ordered some on ebay (have a specific need that can’t be met with non-zip bags)

    Don’t bring vanilla flavoring – Half the time, it spills. Make your own. 6 vanilla beans and a bottle of keglevich will probably keep you in vanilla for more than a year. If you’re coming to Modiin, I’ll start a batch for you in advance if you let me know.

    bring loads of passport photos for everyone. Be sure to bring a good digital camera. If you’re into snazzy electronics, get your fix before you come. (ipod touch, digital camera, digital video camera, etc)
    don’t bring a tv.

    Remember that a lot of stuff that isn’t easily available here is available on ebay. I just got my daughter fancy dresses on ebay (NEW) for $8 a piece (including shipping)

    I disagree about forcing your kids to drink tap water. I ended up in a hospital with an IV because I was more stubborn than the adults who said I should drink tap water.

    OTOH, you can buy the syrup here, or make iced tea from tea bags (when I’m in the mood, I make a very very very strong batch, and then add a cup per pitcherful) or make lemonade. A few packs of Crystal Light isn’t a bad thing to bring. Just don’t develop the expectation that you’re going to have it all the time – though one of the specialty shops in the Modiin area carries iced tea mix. Haven’t checked the price.

    • Speaking of shoes. I am looking for good quality shoes here in Israel for my daughters. They are 15 and 18 and want something fashionable and good quality. We went to the NAOT factory and I got wonderful shoes for myself but my girls want something less “nerdy”. I live in the Galil and any help is most appreciated!

  39. RaggedyMom says

    Thank you for running this post, MiI, and everyone for your contributions – I’m adding them to our notes for summer 2011!

  40. LGG: Things are changing in the US too, and manufacturers are concerned about water efficiency. I don’t think it’s black and white anymore and there are many water-efficient American models so olim who must have an American machine can look for one of those. Anyway, it’s well known that front loaders clean clothes better than the American top-loaders using about half the water. As I wrote in the post I linked to, clothes get cleaner when less water is used.

    As for time, the shortest cycle on my machine is 35 minutes, compared to 30 minutes (?) for the Maytag. Also, for a Maytag you need an extra tap for hot water which is not standard in Israeli apartments.
    I don’t bother heating water, I do most things in cold. That is what takes the extra time. But even if I did, it’s waiting time, not working time. Even a woman who works out of the home can manage 3 loads a day: One started before work, delay spin until return home. Second immediately after. Third at night, hang right away or delay spin to hang in the morning. There are variations but it’s the space in the dryer or on the line that limits how much laundry one can do, not the length of the washing cycle. After Yom Tov, I always start with a load needing a short cycle so I can get it hanging quickly.
    Even if the American top-loading machines are clearly superior (and they’re not), it’s hard to justify using all that extra water, a natural resource. And the price of water is not going down.
    Re the dehydration: You were a stubborn kid! Sorry that happened to you.

  41. Okay, I have to ask – why bring vanilla extract and baking powder? They’re available in every supermarket here and at a fairly reasonable price. Yes, real vanilla is harder to find but it is available in quite a few places, including major supermarket chains. Look with the spices for McCormick brand, not with the dreck that they sell with the baking supplies. The Spices gourmet chain (not kosher) also sells large bottles of a different brand and often puts it on sale.

    When I first came 20 years ago things were a lot harder here, particularly in terms of consumer goods. These days pretty anything you might want is available, albeit sometimes at a higher price. It’s up to you whether you prefer to pay more or stock up when you’re in the States for a visit.

    My best advice though? Decide WHERE you live, in which country, and then stick to it. You can’t live sitting on top of your suitcases. I’ve seen a LOT of people come and go over the years and on the whole the ones who decide to “try it” often end up leaving while the ones who commit emotionally and (just as importantly) genuinely LIKE the life they’ve created for themselves here stay.

    Robin, 20 years and counting

    My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  42. Robin – Apparently, you can get a pint (16 oz) of vanilla extract for $6 at costco. I just saw 4oz for over 100 shekels.

    400 shekels versus 24 shekels. Yeah… I can see why people would bring it in.

    If you make your own though, you can make a batch of 16oz for ~40-50 shekels. It’s a little more expensive, but you can chalk it up to the price of living in Eretz Hakodesh, especially since few people use more than that in a year.

    baking powder isn’t terribly expensive in Israel, imo – I use about 20 shekels worth a year. baking soda is a bit worse, but if you get it at the shuk, it’s supposedly better.

  43. I made aliyah almost 6 months ago and not a day goes by when I don’t wish I had kept something I had in the states. We couldn’t afford to ship anything and had no one to store things for us and bring them later. The biggest advice I would say is when you are deciding what to bring, don’t think about how much it costs in the states, figure out how much it costs and how hard it is to find in Israel. Kids shoes seem much more expensive and lower quality to me. Electronics are very pricey. I can’t find clothes I like, and I don’t have time to shop. I also have trouble finding simple, cheap clothes for my kids. I dream of just having 20 minutes in Target or Walmart to pick up some shorts for my son, Excedrin, Chloroseptic (they don’t have that here), and some personal products where I am unsatisfied with the brands I find here. Think about personal items you might be particular to and find out if they have them in Israel. But also remember you may have less closet or kitchen space. Hatzlacha!

  44. ok, well i think no matter what there is in the states or canada, im sure there is an equivalent in israel, but to decide to pick up and leave to israel is a big step for anyone and everyone eventually adapts, as for me im planning to do aliyah within the next year and i think im ready to tackle any issues there may be, but i have 1 question to all of u that are currently living there,,,,,,is there a WAL MART? or an equivalent, cuz im a wal mart junkie,

    p.s: thanks for the sunscreen advice, but above and beyond that, i think all should b well,

    good luck to everyone, and hope things that dont work out for u, eventually will

  45. Hi,
    My family is planning to make aliyah next year in the late fall. We have two children 4 an 1 with a baby on the way. We are moving to Rehovot where I will be doing a post-doc in the sciences. We’re still not certain what my husband will have lined up. Any general suggestions for transitioning kids in the middle of the school year and for mom’s that will be working full time immediately?

  46. Hi! What is the natural and organic food scene like in IL?

    We avoid chemicals whenever possible…only organic – especially certain foods and fruits– only “safe” sunscreen, natural not petroleum lip balm, shea butter not lotion, etc.

    Are there good food and toiletry items there? Or will we need to really stock up on whatever matters to us?

    Will Whole Foods ever make it to IL? haha…

  47. Hi, I made Aliyah about 9 months ago. Everyone to me to bring everything we had. We spent a lot of money having everything shipped here. Luckily we didn’t have too much. When we arrived I realized almost everything was available here. I am still confused about the vanilla as I buy vanilla extract here (2oz bottle) for 2.99 (sheckels).
    I would say bring everything that have sentimental value to your family. My two older kids and myself miss our friends like crazy. My kids are in school so it has been easy to make new friends for them but for myself, being home with the baby while my husband is working and studying leaves me know time, and we are shomer Shabbat so making it to all these “group meetups” that happen mostly on Friday or Saturday can not happen for us. So I would suggest to join chat groups or something to meet people before you come. The last 9 months for me have been very lonely.
    Bring a labtop with camera so you can skype, and get good phone plans. We have Hot but I am not sure I love it.
    I noticed cloths and shoes are not expensive if you know where to shop. Shoes are much better quality here. We bought all our furniture and washer second hand and got great deals. Fridge and stove we bought new.
    Also, sunscreen at superpharm we bought very cheap and it is great.
    Here is what I cannot find and I really miss (besides my friends..sigh)
    Chili powder (the mixed kind, not ground flakes)
    lemon pepper
    skim milk (not encouraging anyone to pack that, LOL
    Spiracha Hot chili sauce
    kellogs rice crispies (they have a knock off but its just the same)

    Someone said kitchen stuff and I agree. Everything here is so expsensive. Pots, pans etc..Bring them!

    • Sarah, welcome to Israel! I haven’t bought sunscreen in a while, and am finding clothes to be expensive lately. I’m sorry it has been so hard to make friends. It seems that a lot of mother and babies don’t meets face to face so much anymore.


  1. […] 15, 2010 by Kate Reading the discussion over at Hannah’s about what to bring for aliyah reinforced for me that there are many ways of […]

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