Health Insurance, Taxes, Books & the People Left Behind

Sunday, July 20th:

We started our morning taking the bus up to Kikar Yaalom to Maccabi Healthcare to pick up our ID cards and sign up for supplemental coverage. It was a pretty painless experience as the young man who assisted us was very competent and spoke English. We were impressed with the clean and modern facility.

Ma’aleh Adumim Maccabi Healthcare

After that we met up with Shelley Brinn and she interpreted for us at the Arnona (tax) office – everyone pays property tax here. It looked like it was going to be a long wait so I sent Michael and Yisrael home to play computer games. Shelley is wonderful! She amazes me with her ability to quickly switch between Hebrew and English, explaining to both parties what the other said/meant. Ma’aleh Adumim – and all of it’s olim – are very fortunate to have her here.

Our 90% arnona discount (a one-year benefit for new olim which goes on for 5 years at reduced rates) became a little complicated because the house we live in isn’t cut up into two tax records, but the clerk was very helpful and worked it out so that our landlord will receive a quarterly credit for 90% of what our tax portion would be and then we have to pay him the 10% difference – 67.10 shekels every two months (= $19.75 at today’s exchange rate).

I learned in talking with another parent in the waiting room of the tax office that the local book store has the book and supply lists for each school, so I went there and purchased Yisrael’s school books and supplies for 520 shekels = approx. $153. Not bad considering the tuition is only 285 shekels per month (= $82.00! compared to the $900+ per month we paid in Cleveland).

Those of you who insisted we were crazy for making Aliyah before we were in better financial shape should reconsider this for yourselves.

In mid-August the education department will test us to determine which level of ulpan (Hebrew school) we each need to be in. And we’ll meet with a counselor at Ma’aleh HaTorah to discuss any additional tutoring that Yisrael might need – which is provided (free of charge to us) by young adults who choose to perform community service rather than serve in the armed forces.

Nine business days here and we’re just about done with all the running around to get signed up for all the great benefits.

We each had a nice talk with Peter and Paula Baum today and learned that Freddie Mac (the backer on our home loan) has accepted the Goldstein’s short sale offer on our house in University Heights. From what we’ve heard, the neighborhood is pretty excited that a granddaughter of Rabbi Berel Wein will soon be occupying our empty house. We wish them hatzlacha!

We are also very thankful to the Baum’s and Firestone’s for moving all our unsold moving sale items down the street and setting them up for Paula’s July 24th sale. It’s times like these when you find out who your true friends are – THANK YOU Peter, Paula, Bill and Dahlene for really coming through for us.

We’re happy to report that in Israel everyone is happy that we are here. The community has been making every effort to meet our needs while we’re waiting for our lift. Tonight we received a used dresser – it just showed up at our door (delivered by a friendly neighbor who said it had been sitting in his garage and needed someone to use it – thank you Marvin!)

It is also refreshing to live here knowing that the entire country is in synch with all the religious holidays – schools and employers. It doesn’t get any better than this – certainly not in the US (referred to by Michael as “the golden cage of galut”)!


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