Aliyah Planning: Finances

financial-guide-aliyahI made my semi-annual trip to my accountant’s office yesterday and, as usual, it was not a pleasant experience. This is in no way my accountant’s fault!  Rivki at Don Shrensky & Company is one of the nicest and kindest people I’ve ever met (i.e., she always tries to soften the blow) and she has the patience of a saint!  The main reasons that these visits have been so painful (financially and emotionally) is my pathetic Hebrew reading skills and lack of understanding of the differences between the American and Israeli tax systems for self-employed people. This is not Rivki’s fault as I just recently moved my business to their office from a different accounting firm.

As we reviewed the many red notices I received in the mail while she was on maternity leave, Rivki pulled up my accounts online and explained the thousands of shekels in penalties lodged against me by the various tax offices for a combination of errors and my lack of response to their overwhelming (due to my lack of Hebrew mastery) paper in the mail notices.  Rivki patiently and thoroughly explained every field on all the monthly & bi-monthly forms I am required to submit to Mas Hachnasa (similar to the US IRS), Bituach Leumi (national insurance – similar to Social Security + more) and Ma’am (the evil VAT – value added tax – people who have been making my life hell), as well as how I am supposed to calculate each and make the payments. Continue reading Aliyah Planning: Finances


12 Year Old Entreprenuer’s Revolution in Jewish Entertainment

aviva-krainessDuring the frenzy of preparing for Pesach, I received an email asking me to share this story on my blog.  I politely told the sender – the father of this amazing 12-year-old – that I was busy cleaning, shopping and cooking (and suspected that most of you were too)  and that I’d get to this after the holidays.

I’ve been extremely busy, but was slowed down this morning by a priority shift – my Mom is in ICU again.  So when the reminder of this message popped up again I decided not to put it off any longer and as I read it, it hit me! I know this child!  Aviva Krainess was in my son’s kindergarten and possibly first grade class back in Cleveland and made Aliyah around the same time we did.  And I remember her name being on my (and Young Israel’s) Tehillim list for a very long time.  Aviva’s story of battle and triumph is inspiring. Amazing!

Please watch the video, read the story and share Aviva’s exciting project with everyone you know who could benefit from a bit of inspiration and love. Continue reading 12 Year Old Entreprenuer’s Revolution in Jewish Entertainment


Income Opportunity

This is a short-term opportunity for website owners and bloggers – you can now earn extra money with by placing banner or text links on your website, blog, or  email newsletters directing people to the site where they can purchase their Israeli or Yanover Lulav & Esrog sets for Sukkot.  They also have a program for schools, synagogues, organization and shop owners to earn money by placing bulk orders at wholesale prices. From their site: Continue reading Income Opportunity


21st Century Mommy Time Bandits

While hiking to the mall this morning (uphill both ways, really!) to do my weekly shopping, I was disturbed by the fact that it is already Thursday!  I wondered, does time fly faster in the Holy land? Or do 21st Century working mothers have more to juggle than our ancestors?  Where did the time go this week?

Rewinding the week I remembered that in addition to my daily walk to the mail station and corner market, the usual food prep, laundry, banking, bill paying and planning the Shabbat menu I: Continue reading 21st Century Mommy Time Bandits


Relief & Deliverance Come

Recall these words from Mordechai in Chapter 4, verse 14 of Megillat Esther:

…relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place

Yesterday was a roller-coaster, strange day in the realm of health and parnassah that caused me to experience the words of Mordechai.


If we don’t have it, quality of life suffers.  I’ve been suffering with breathing difficulties and sharp back pain for about 6 weeks. My medical doctor sent me for tests of the blood, heart Eco, stress test, x-ray, pulmonary function test variety. About 3 weeks ago I asked him to refer me to a chiropractor and he bluntly told me that he felt the tests were enough. The stress test resulted in a knee injury (excruciating pain – imagine bone rubbing against bone) that my doctor feels will take 3 to 4 weeks to heal – on the upside, that allowed me to cancel the 4 hour bone density scan he wanted me to have done.   Continue reading Relief & Deliverance Come


Common Denominator: 2 Christian Clergy & 1 Rabbi

Three American men: a Baptist Pastor, a Seventh Day Adventist Minister and an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi – what do they have in common?

No, this is not a riddle or joke, there’s story.

During my quest for truth and purpose in life, I ventured through a few of America’s religions (actually the truth is that there were many if you consider the various forms of idol worship that the average American participates in – materialism, musical artists, actors, “must watch” TV shows, etc.) and this is my account of conversations I had with these three particular religious men. Continue reading Common Denominator: 2 Christian Clergy & 1 Rabbi


Guest Post: Calculating Vacation & Havra’a

by Moshe Egel-Tal, CSPP & CEO Israpay

Havra’a is a mandatory payment by law. It is paid annually to all employees who have at least one year’s tenure with their current employer. There are several rates (for private and public sector) and they are updated each year in June.

The current rate (June 2011) in the private sector is 365 shekels per day. Employees are allotted days according to their tenure as follows: Continue reading Guest Post: Calculating Vacation & Havra’a


Guest Post: Youth Employment

by Moshe Egel-Tal, CSPP & CEO Israpay

Just in time for the summer vacation!  Make sure your teenage kids who found a summer-time job are paid according to the law. Effective July 2011, the new minimum wages for youth are as follows:

apprentices = 14.22 shekels per hour
up to age 16 = 16.59 shekels per hour
up to age 17 = 17.77 shekels per hour
up to age 18 = 19.67 shekels per hour
from age 18 and up = 22.04 shekels per hour

There are special regulations in effect for employing youth: Continue reading Guest Post: Youth Employment


What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

I’ve received a lot of great feedback from yesterday’s post (Are you Too Old to Make Aliyah?), thanks to all of you who wrote to me offline.

Since you’re already in that change state of mind (if you’re considering Aliyah, that is), another useful exercise to consider is that of carefully assessing your skills, hobbies and passions to determine if there is something else you’d rather be doing to make a living – something that could work here.

Go ahead and give it a try for maybe ten minutes, or a few hours – or a few days!



Got it?  Okay, now: Continue reading What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?


Are You Too Old to Make Aliyah?

There has been a very popular discussion thread taking place on the Nefesh B’Nefesh LinkedIn group for more than 2 weeks regarding older olim, employment and living in the northern part of Israel.

There were more than 100 comments when I logged in tonight and I became concerned about an air of negativity that was rising.

Let’s put things in perspective shall we? How is the IT job market in the US for the over-50 crowd right now? Yeah, I thought so… we made Aliyah when I was 50 and my husband 52. During the 10 years prior to that in NY, WV, TN and OH he (a senior level DBA and Chemical Process Engineer) was unemployed for a sum total of approximately 3.5 years. My very secure Internet Content Editor position with Deloitte and Touche was moved to a different state at a time I wasn’t in a position to relocate and my Senior Technical Writer position with a mortgage bank went away when they fell on hard times.

Lesson learned: there is no such thing as job security. Senior level people can make a good living as Consultants. We learned that my husband could do trouble-shooting contracting to a variety of companies (thru outsourcing firms) and earn $50 to $75 per hour – this made up for the down-time. Continue reading Are You Too Old to Make Aliyah?