Preparing for an emergency
Making aliya, living in Israel and being part of Israeli society is, for most of us, the ultimate expression of our Zionism.
DEMONSTRATORS WAVE flags at a rally in Paris Photo: NADAV SHEMER
As we know, life in Israel can be fraught with challenges. That is why AACI has
been caring for and supporting Israel’s English-speaking community for over 60
years. In today’s Jerusalem Post (page 7), you will see the first in a series of
articles reprinting the latest AACI Emergency Handbook.
living in Israel and being part of Israeli society is, for most of us, the
ultimate expression of our Zionism and Judaism. We should be proud that we have
made our homes here and have raised our children here.
We live in a
vibrant and vital society where life is never boring.
I made aliya 22
years ago with my wife and year-old son – immediately after the Gulf War. Over
the years three additional children – two boys and one girl (in that order) –
were added to our family.
My oldest is finishing his third year of
compulsory military service and the others are on the way to serving; thus, one
of my children will be serving in the IDF for the next 10 years.
over 20 years of living in Israel and having worked intensively on the
production of the AACI Emergency Handbook in English, I should have been well
prepared when the sirens went off in Jerusalem and its environs for the first
time last Friday evening. However, I initially froze, like everyone else. Then,
after that initial fright, I immediately took action and found a safer location
and immediately gathered the frightened and skeptical around me.
after we heard the explosions of the Grads did everyone understand that this war
was also on our doorsteps.
When I returned home and calmed down my
family, my wife complained to me that everyone else had an Emergency Handbook
but the family of the director of AACI did not. Obviously, it was because I was
focused on getting the handbooks mailed out to all the members of the AACI
For those who are not members I encourage you to
join. However, we have made a free on-line edition that you can find at the
websites of the AACI or The Jerusalem Post.
New immigrants always ask
when they will become real Israelis. My answer (as well as that of AACI) is that
“aliya never stops.” No matter when you made aliya or how long you have been
here, we will always be olim (immigrants) even if we speak perfect Hebrew. I
know that when dealing with major issues such as health, finances or, in this
case, security I prefer my information in English.
Even when the issue is
not life-threatening, many of us prefer their information in English.
over 60 years AACI has been providing information in English. Information is
power, and AACI works hard to provide the latest and most up-to-date information
in every area – health, housing, schooling and higher education, employment,
military service, finances, tax reporting requirements, voting in Israel and
abroad. This material is gathered by AACI’s amazing professional aliya, klita
and employment counselors, assisted by volunteer experts. We are proud that we
offer our services in all of Israel’s major cities; Beersheba, Haifa, Netanya,
Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
You will find our branches filled with a small,
dedicated and professional staff and thousands of wonderful
Our volunteers are great and they are there to help no matter
your gender, religious or political beliefs or where you live. We believe that
the English-speaking community deserves an address to turn to. That place is
In times of national emergency or just everyday living, AACI is
your home and provides that safety net when things don’t go right. I encourage
all of you to join AACI and be part of our community.
Our hope and
prayers are that you will only read AACI’s Emergency Handbook as anecdotal
material and never have to put the recommendations into actual use. May the
whole house of Israel return to a somewhat quieter existence, and may the next
big lights we see be in our homes during Hanukka.
The writer is the
executive director of the AACI (Americans and Canadians in Israel).