Deliveries, Health Insurance, and Nefesh B’Nefesh

Tuesday, July 15th:

Michael and Yisrael stayed home waiting for the refrigerator delivery and possibly the “technician” who was to bring and “install” our ADSL modem.

I took the bus (#174) to the Ma’aleh Adumim post office to exchange money (less expensive than doing it at the bank – better exchange rate), and attempted to pay the health insurance registration fees (14.7 shekels for each adult = $4.34 – no charge for children).

The guy at the counter told me that I needed a Bituach Leumi card (national health insurance), he wouldn’t accept the form the Ministry of Absorption gave me at the airport – this was after I waited on line for about 40 minutes! I went out in the hall and called Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN)and was told to go back in and tell him he was wrong and ask to speak with a supervisor. I had already been in the supervisor’s office to exchange the money because when you exchange more than a certain dollar amount, the counter can’t do it. Having no patience left for the counter clerk, I knocked on the supervisor’s window. She welcomed me in and explained that the clerk was ignorant (my words, not hers!) and that the problem was that Michael & I needed to do this together.

From there I went to Nefesh B’Nefesh to pick up our teudat zehuts (identity cards) and grant check, and to attend the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) health and banking fair to learn about benefits and services.

#175 bus to Central Bus Station in Jerusalem and then #21 to Kanfei Nesharim at the Cellcom stop, then take a right on Am V’Olama and turn right into the Beit Ofer building as the street curves to the left. I’m thankful 🙂 that Shoshana and Ezra Hurwitz were on the bus because they knew where Cellcom was and I didn’t.

I asked the Bank Leumi representative about depositing the NBN check because it was drawn on a New York bank. He told me it takes at least 21 days to clear. I decided to follow NBN’s recommendation and cash it at Cheerfully Changed in Jerusalem and then deposit the funds.

Back on the same two buses and called Michael to meet me at the post office so we could finish the health insurance registration transaction. Michael likes to walk and save the 4.8 shekels ($1.14) it costs to take the bus from our apartment to the mall, so he tried the pedestrian paths through the Nehalim neighborhood and made a wrong turn. I arrived at the mall before he and Yisrael, but that saved them from having to wait the extra 15 minutes on line at the post office.
Pedestrian Path

Lesson learned: It doesn’t always pay to be nice. As luck would have it, my number came up (you take a ticket when you enter the post office) to go back to counter #3 with the same clerk who dismissed me that morning. When he tried again, I forcefully stabbed my finger on the form we were given at the airport and said “ze bituach leumi” (in an attempt to tell him this was the correct form). He smiled and asked for our teudat zehuts. If I had read the Registering for a Kupot Holim instructions that I was given upon arrival at Ben Gurion, I would have known they were required for processing.

He asked a bunch of questions and then filled out a form that I had to sign. I gave him the money, he gave me the receipt. And as he was dismissing me, I asked “what about my husband“? He gave me that deer in the headlights look and then Michael shoved his ID under the window. The guy completed the task and we left – thankful to have completed another of the tasks on our list!

After several calls (challenging when you don’t speak Hebrew), Schechem Electronic’s delivery guys showed up at 9:30 PM with our refrigerator. Did you know that one needs a service technician (separate appointment) to plug in a refrigerator? We decided to wing it ourselves – being without a frig is not fun, especially during 95 degree weather.

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