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Learn from (and respect) the weather

So, how’s the weather? In Israel, the answer is probably HOT. Even before moving here, almost very one knows that Israel is a very warm country. In the summer, daily temperatures average 29°C (84.2°F) and August is worse. More, the summer in Israel is way longer than just July and August. May and June are also quite warm, September and even into October can be as well. In short, it’s very possible that Israel will be hotter than what you currently experience.

Too often, new immigrants think they can “beat” the weather. In reality, if you don’t adjust, the weather can easily defeat you.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you:

  • Get used to carrying water with you. Two of the greatest dangers related to the weather in Israel are heat stroke and dehydration. You can avoid heat stroke by staying hydrated, wearing a hat that covers most of your head, and seeking the shade whenever possible. And you can avoid dehydration by getting used to carrying water with you. Water is quite inexpensive and even readily available for free in most places. Another thing to remember is that if you have a headache on a hot day, that could be a sign of dehydration. Before you take painkillers, DRINK!
  • Wear natural fabrics (cotton, wool). Within a year of our aliyah, I had replaced all my clothes because I found that the summer clothes were too hot, and the winter clothes weren’t warm enough. Now I find that I often wear many of the same clothes year-round. In the months before you make aliyah, if you are purchasing clothes, consider what it will be like living in a hot climate. Avoid synthetics and fabrics that don’t breathe.
  • Rent a place with trissim. Trissim are shutters. Sometimes metal or wood, usually plastic; sometimes electric, usually manually raised and lowered. Many immigrants open the trissim to see the beautiful views. In the short winter that we have, this is a great thing to do. And, as evening comes, closing the trissim will keep the heat in the house for the cold winter nights. But, in the summer (hot season), you do the reverse. Open the trissim and let in the cool evening/night air and then close them in the morning to keep the heat of the day out. Yes, air conditioning has become almost mandatory in most places in Israel, certainly in schools and in work places, but the trissim remain a very Israeli tradition.
  • Adjust your diet to the weather: Consider eating lightly in the summer and more heartily in the winter.
  • Adjust your exercising to the weather: And here may be the reverse of what you are accustomed to doing now. In the summer, when the sun is beating down, it might be more comfortable to exercise inside (or during the evenings); in the winter, consider exercising during the day when the sun brings its own warmth to a cooler day (or in the house, in the evenings).

Wherever you settle and whatever your lifestyle, conquer the weather by adjusting to it. Learn to work with the heat by planning your daily outings accordingly. Also, another consideration for choosing a place to live might be the weather as well.

While most people would love the idea of living beside the Mediterranean Sea and its magnificent sunsets, the coastal region is much more humid than other areas of the country.

If you simply cannot stand snow and could go a lifetime without ever seeing it, avoid the mountain areas of Jerusalem, Tsfat (Safed), and much of the Golan Heights and Gush Etzion.

Research the weather in Israel because, as small as the country is, the weather is quite diverse. On the coldest day of the year, we will have people snorkeling in Eilat and skiing in the Golan. On the warmest day of the year, people in Eilat will flee the seashore and refuse to step outdoors while people in Tel Aviv and Nahariya will flock to the beaches.

Start a Journal

Ever created a journal? Well, if you’re thinking of aliyah, this is the place to start.

This may well be the most important tip we can offer. Why the most important? Because if you plan your aliyah carefully and correctly, all the tips to follow will be contained in this one – start a journal?

Why a journal? Because almost from the moment you decide you want to make aliyah, you should begin collecting information. People will offer advice. Possibly, you may not be ready for some of it that information now. But, rather than lose it, organize these offerings so that when you’re ready, you’ll be able to learn from what others experienced. They’ll tell you about a caring and attentive doctor, a great school, an amazing community. Write it down.

Keep a file on your computer, or (we think better), start a physical journal (more information about the journal in future tips). Whatever it takes. Collect knowledge. It’s never too early to begin. Preparation starts now. Here’s our suggestion for how to organize the journal:
Journal Contents

On the cover, write OUR ALIYAH JOURNAL…just looking at those words will give you courage and strength as you go through the process.

On the next page – write Table of Contents and then number the remaining pages.

On the next page; Write WHY – and write down WHY you are making aliyah.

And then you begin sections, leaving extra pages.

Create a section for Packing – what you want to purchase, what you want to leave behind. You can separate what you ship into boxes for your first home in Israel and others for things you can’t give up but won’t need immediately. Make a list per room (and per person), what you need to pack. Don’t forget things like medication, medical records, etc.

Create a WISH LIST Section – and list what you want in a community, types of jobs, things you plan to buy in Israel.

Create a section for Shipping Companies and each time you find information (contact, costs, comments, references etc.).

Create a section for Communities you are considering (contacts there, benefits, concerns, costs). What schools are there. When you read or hear about a community, create a page and make notes there.

Create a section for Medical Issues and list there any medical considerations you have for you and your family. List current medications each family member takes (and add to your packing list a supply for several months).

Create a section for Employment and when you have time, investigate and list Israeli companies that you or a family member should consider contacting.

Create a Resources/Contacts page and list organizations that can help you (both before you get on the plane and after you are in Israel.

Page by page, fill your journal with your ideas, thoughts etc. And add the page number where the section starts to your Table of Contents so you can find each section quickly.

And when you land in Israel, take a picture of your family and paste it at the end of a journal. Read your WHY regularly before and after you come; look at the picture often!