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Moving to Israel with kids... Where to start?
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 12:52 pm
Hi everyone, thanks in advance for your help.

So my husband and I have been discussing moving to Israel for about half a year. We would like to do it, we filled out a NBN application, my husband has started job-hunting, etc. The tricky part is that we have kids, the oldest of whom is already seven years old. So we can't just move anywhere we like (I loved living in Nachlaot as a single! but can't imagine that it would be as fun with a family, not to mention how expensive it would be), and we are also not free to take a leisurely open-ended pilot trip (of course my husband also has work... so for multiple reasons we can't just go to Israel for a while to figure this out. We need to plan our move mostly from here).

So it is probably time for us to plan a pilot trip, but I feel like first we need to begin to narrow down where we might want to live. I would greatly appreciate any help with this.

Factors:

1) We need a good school/schools (girls and boys). Including an easy landing (as much as possible) for an anxious, English-speaking kid. We need kind, understanding teachers. A system that I can navigate, even though my Hebrew is only average and I am shy. And I think we need to live somewhere close enough to the school that at least in the beginning I can bring the kids to school and pick them up. It doesn't matter to me if all the kids in the neighborhood take a van half an hour away... I feel like in the beginning at least, I need to be nearby. I can't just dunk my English-speaking kids in a van to a new school.

2) We are Lubavitch and would like our kids to grow up identifying as such. So we need a school/city that would accommodate that.

3) My husband works in the science field. I understand that there would be the highest concentration of job opportunities for him in the center of the country.

BUT

4) We both can't stand the heat, and neither can half of our kids. They get physically sick from it. We like Yerushalayim weather, and I think there are some science-y jobs in the region, but again we need to figure out where we want to live first...

5) Just to toss this in there, my husband would love to live in a settlement type place in Gush Etzyion. He loves nature as well as relating to the idealistic factor. But I feel like this would be a huge transition for the kids and for me. We are currently in a very American suburbia type place where all dogs are on leashes, for example. I can't see some of my dog-phobic kids suddenly running around barefoot happily meeting the neighbor's guard dog. And while my husband loves nature and would be happy to never enter a city again, I love cities, cafes bookstores shopping etc. (I love hills and nature too, but I think I would get very bored and lonely in an isolated place. Anyway, he would be off at work all day presumably in a city while I would be the one home with the hills and the donkeys.) And a related, follow-up thought: Does it make sense to move to a place like Beitar (which has schools) with an eye to possibly moving to a more settlement-type place down the line?

I hope I articulated all the factors. I've been turning this over in my own mind for so long that I'm not sure I got it all down accurately, but I feel like I can't delay anymore. I will post and await your feedback.

Thank you Smile
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FranticFrummie









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 1:42 pm
I really love Beit Shemesh Aleph. It's very Anglo, warm, and supportive. Big Chabad shul here.

As long as your oldest is 7, your kids should be fine.

The one thing I absolutely wish I had done before I made Aliyah, is to start learning Hebrew earlier. I can't stress that enough.
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Teomima









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 2:08 pm
I was glad to see FF respond because as I was reading your OP I kept thinking Beit Shemesh sounds great for you. I don't live there so I don't know it really well but I have friends in Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph and in Mishkafayim and they are all really happy there. It seems to tick off a lot of your boxes.
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etky









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 2:21 pm
Teomima wrote:
I was glad to see FF respond because as I was reading your OP I kept thinking Beit Shemesh sounds great for you. I don't live there so I don't know it really well but I have friends in Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph and in Mishkafayim and they are all really happy there. It seems to tick off a lot of your boxes.


Except the heat.
Beitar would be better in that respect.
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amother




Periwinkle


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 2:23 pm
Consider Haifa? I think Neve Sheanan (not sure re spelling) has Chabad anglos. Science jobs should be do-able in Haifa, and the communities, though smaller, are warmer.
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Teomima









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 2:55 pm
etky wrote:
Except the heat.
Beitar would be better in that respect.

OP said they like Jerusalem weather...isn't Beit Shemesh pretty much the same?
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trying hard









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 3:19 pm
Hi! I hope it's okay to add a further question to this topic.

My husband wants to make Aliyah this summer, and our oldest (dd)would have just turned 12, and son would be turning 10, and youngest 5. I am very concerned about uprooting the older ones at this age and stage of their lives. They would be very far from family and grandparents if we move, and love their friends and schools here. Does anyone have any insight they could share?
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etky









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 3:19 pm
Teomima wrote:
OP said they like Jerusalem weather...isn't Beit Shemesh pretty much the same?


No. It's much hotter.
Winters are milder though...
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DrMom









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 4:29 pm
A few comments:

1. Why would your kids go to school in a van? Why don't you just live near the school?

4. It's hot everywhere from July-Sept.

5. Many areas of the Gush or other communities over the green line are somewhat suburban-like. Donkeys??
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Rappel









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 4:48 pm
Most yishuvim are suburban. I wouldn't fear dogs and donkeys in your average yishuv.

My personal knowledge of the Gush is limited to Alon Shevut, Bat Ayin, and Never Daniel - but I think Shabbatiscoming lives down there? Maybe she can tell you more.

In the Binyamin region, I immediately thought of Bet El for suburbia +great high schools. Kochav Hashahar is also suburban and with great elementary schools, but it's a little farther from Jerusalem - 20 minutes by car, 40 minutes by bus.

If you wanted to start off in pretty cities and branch out from there, then there is Maaleh Adumim, and of course Ariel. Adam is also basically a city.

I want to emphasize, though: IMHO, schools/language/work, while all very important factors in aliyah, do not make or break an aliyah. The single most important factor in your Aliyah is COMMUNITY. You need people whom you feel close to, whom you can lean on, a group where you feel relevant and needed. You need friends whom can mutually support each other.

I didn't find that in the exclusively Anglo areas, though I'm sure it exists. I do think Kochav Hashahar has a wonderfully blended, very strong community, and is a great landing place for new olim.

(I currently live in Itamar, which is NOT a place for new olim. It is a wonderful community, but t they don't have the tools and support systems in place to help you transition into Israeli life. Don't start here. But do keep in touch - I'd love to welcome you after your move, and help smooth over any beaurocracy afterward. Hatzlacha!)
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Hatemywig









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 4:51 pm
http://www.nevechabad.com/
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 10:52 pm
Thanks to everyone who answered.

I have heard a lot of good things about Beit Shemesh from people in real life as well. But I am not sure about the weather... It does sound like it would be a good bet for an easy landing as far as kids' schools and me being able to get errands done the way I am used to. I guess it would be a place we should look into more.

I have also heard about Neve Chabad. But I'm doubtful if it's for us. Aside from the heat, aren't they still for all practical purposes living in Beersheva? Maybe I should be more open-minded. I just can't seem to get a sense if it's real or a dream and if it's a dream, if it's our dream.

Etky or anyone, do you know anything more about Beitar, specifically the schools or English-speaking presence? I know it is exclusively chareidi which we really are not. Anyone have any thoughts on whether it is feasible to move there to start with, with plans to move out to a smaller town? I can't imagine it is the best choice for us long-term.

Re Haifa, we actually have some friends who recently decided to make Aliyah there. But they don't have kids and also don't identify as Chabad so I can't really piggyback on their research and experience (they visited and fell in love). I'd love to hear more if anyone knows what Chabad is like in Haifa, specifically the schools.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 10:55 pm
DrMom wrote:
A few comments:

1. Why would your kids go to school in a van? Why don't you just live near the school?

4. It's hot everywhere from July-Sept.

5. Many areas of the Gush or other communities over the green line are somewhat suburban-like. Donkeys??


1) That's exactly what I meant. I DON'T want to move somewhere and then need to send my kids to school in a van, even if that's what all the kids in the neighborhood do. I want to live near the school.

2) I know it's hot everywhere in the summer. I can handle that. (And the heat can also be more or less punishing... I want to opt for the most gentle version I can.)

3) I know of one person living in a yishuv in Gush Etzyon who has a donkey. I didn't dream it up, it was somebody I met. (And I spent time in that yishuv and some people had guard dogs and there were no sidewalks... It was beautiful, but it was not exactly suburbia.) So basically, the more donkey-friendly the yishuv is, the more my husband will probably like it. And the less my kids probably will feel immediately comfortable...

To clarify, we live in suburbia now, but we don't love it. At least my husband and I don't (kids might not know better). I may have worded it wrong in my initial post when I was explaining why I like cities. It's not the cafes I want specifically or any sort of glamour. It's more that I want to be able to accomplish my daily life by walking. Right now I spend most of my day at home alone, except for a bit of carpool driving and an errand or two that consists mostly of driving long distance. I'd rather live in a place that is more happening in and of itself and I can get some of my errands/appointments done by walking. I hope that makes sense.
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notshanarishona









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 10:57 pm
I lived in Beitar for a few years. It is primarily a chareidi city and most of the city is run that way I.e. busses are mehadrin, restaurants not open late at night, signs up everywhere about tznius and not having smart phones ,etc.
There is a big chassidich presence, including lubavitch in Beitar. There is a big English speaking presence both in A and B.
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notshanarishona









  


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 10:58 pm
Efrat is near Beitar but more dati leumi.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 11:04 pm
Rappel wrote:
Most yishuvim are suburban. I wouldn't fear dogs and donkeys in your average yishuv.

My personal knowledge of the Gush is limited to Alon Shevut, Bat Ayin, and Never Daniel - but I think Shabbatiscoming lives down there? Maybe she can tell you more.

In the Binyamin region, I immediately thought of Bet El for suburbia +great high schools. Kochav Hashahar is also suburban and with great elementary schools, but it's a little farther from Jerusalem - 20 minutes by car, 40 minutes by bus.

If you wanted to start off in pretty cities and branch out from there, then there is Maaleh Adumim, and of course Ariel. Adam is also basically a city.

I want to emphasize, though: IMHO, schools/language/work, while all very important factors in aliyah, do not make or break an aliyah. The single most important factor in your Aliyah is COMMUNITY. You need people whom you feel close to, whom you can lean on, a group where you feel relevant and needed. You need friends whom can mutually support each other.

I didn't find that in the exclusively Anglo areas, though I'm sure it exists. I do think Kochav Hashahar has a wonderfully blended, very strong community, and is a great landing place for new olim.

(I currently live in Itamar, which is NOT a place for new olim. It is a wonderful community, but t they don't have the tools and support systems in place to help you transition into Israeli life. Don't start here. But do keep in touch - I'd love to welcome you after your move, and help smooth over any beaurocracy afterward. Hatzlacha!)


Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I haven't put much thought into community for myself, mostly because I think I've never experienced it. How can I expect to find something in Israel that I don't even have in the US? I've moved around a lot over the years and I don't think I can honestly say that in any once place I had a crowd of friends who had my back (in adulthood... in high school I did). More like I made a few friends in each place I lived, who mostly were not friends with each other, and then I moved on and kept in touch with some of them and lost touch with others... I have good friends in the world (including some in Israel) but I wouldn't call it community.

Can you explain more what mean when you say that you did not find this sense of community in exclusively Anglo areas?

Do you know what Chabad is like in any of the places you mentioned? My husband has a friend in Kochav Hashachar who loves it there...

Thank you again in advance!
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 11:06 pm
Hatemywig, if you don't mind answering, are you part of Neve Chabad?
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 11:09 pm
Notshanarishona, did you like it in Beitar?

I've spent some time in Beitar visiting friends so maybe that's why it feels like a safe/reasonable place to me, even though I don't identify with the whole chareidi mindset (at least not the way it looks from the outside).

I've only ever seen Efrat from inside a bus passing through, and once I had an appointment there. But I probably identify with the DL crowd in many ways even less than the chareidi...
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shabbatiscoming









  


Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 2:04 am
I didnt read all of the replies yet, but you mentioned you would like the gush and you dont want the heat. Well, the gush is great for that. I know that neve daniel has a lovely chabad community and shul.

Also, 7 years old is a great age to come. They already have a year of what school is but not too old that learning the language and everything else should be tooo hard.

Also, another great things about the gush, and neve daniel too, is that there are many many olim here and that means many english speakers for yourself and your children to have an easier adjustement period.
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etky









  


Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 2:49 am
OP, I think you're going to have to decide how crucial the heat issue is to you and your family.
If it is a deal breaker then you really have to confine your search to the central mountain area (Jerusalem, Binyamin, Gush + Beitar, Kiryat Arba etc.) or Tzfat, where there is also an Anglo haredi community, not sure about Chabad in particular though. Maybe certain high altitude communities in the Shomron?
Beit Shemesh is in a completely different climactic area than Jerusalem. It is in the Shefela, not the mountains. It is also less inland than Jerusalem. This means that it is signficantly hotter and more humid than the Jerusalem + central mountain communities.
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