Several of you told us before the election that if Obama won, you’d be on the next plane making Aliyah to Israel. I’m really looking forward to welcoming you home! Here are a few important links you’ll need to visit to get this process rolling quickly – it would be best if you could arrive here before the Israeli elections in February as we need your votes!
- If you’ve been procrastinating about obtaining or renewing your US passport, you need to begin at the US Dept. of State website. They have made it fairly easy to locate the correct application, complete it online and print it out. Once you’ve purchased your passport photos – a relatively easy and inexpensive process these days at places like CVS, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. – you can take your application package to any passport acceptance office (the post office in most states). The State Dept. website provides you with a locator tool listing not only the addresses and phone numbers, but also the hours the passport desk is open in your area. (Note to Clevelanders: The Beachwood Post Office handles this in a very efficient and friendly manner.)
You do need to provide evidence of your US citizenship – if you can’t locate a certified copy of your birth certificate, they link you off to the CDC website page on Where to Write for Vital Records. Being the impatient person that I am, I ordered mine online from VitalChek and it was delivered to my mailbox in less than a week. Suggestion: It pays to order additional certified copies because originals need to be submitted during the Aliyah process.
- Next you’ll need to open a TIK (file) with the Jewish Agency for Israel – you can do this before your passport arrives. Their contact page provides you with a list of North American offices – choose the one closest to where you live (don’t worry, you don’t actually have to go there) and call or send an e-mail requesting an Aliyah application package. You will receive a package of information and forms to complete and fax (or scan and e-mail) back. Don’t hesitate to contact them as often as necessary with any questions you might have. After they have received your application, you should have an interview (via phone – or in person if the shaliach is coming to your city). The Jewish Agency will review your application and issue your TIK number – you need this number in order to officially make Aliyah and qualify for klita benefits. So if you don’t hear back from the shaliach within a few weeks of your interview, contact the office and keep doing so until you have your TIK number.
- As soon as you have requested your package from the Jewish Agency, download a Nefesh B’Nefesh Application and complete it – don’t procrastinate on this one because NBN will be your best friend during the Aliyah process and you need to start the paperwork ASAP! As long as you have applied for your TIK number, you can send in your application and provide them with it later (but before they’ll approve your application and issue your plane tickets).
That’s it – just 3 easy steps? Not quite. Unless you already know exactly where you want to live in Israel, you’ll need to do some research to determine the best place for your family to begin their lives here. So, here are a few good sources of information:
- Nefesh B’Nefesh Community Guide
- Kehillot Tehilla – Finding the Right Community
- Lamdeni – Assists families in selecting the best schools for their children.
- And consider moving to a Community Aliyah City for the extra klita benefits like we did. Currently specific programs are available to Olim from the following countries to the following cities:
North America: Ariel, Jerusalem, Maaleh Adumim, and Modiin
UK: Modiin and Haifa
South Africa and Australia: Modiin
Oh, and about that house you need to sell… I’ll bet there are some friendly and peace-loving Muslim families currently living in East Jerusalem who would love to swap with you in their desire to live the American dream – what better time than during the Obama-nation?! We could create an emigration-immigration non-profit (run by ethical American and Israeli Jewish lawyers) to handle all the red-tape involved. What do you think?
I will personally be happy to assist you along the way, just ask and I’ll do my best to provide you with the information you’re looking for or point you in the direction of someone else who can help you.
They could be greeting YOU in less than two months!