Ask Shira, the aliya expert

Vol XIII: I am the only Jewish on my father's side. How does this affect my aliya rights?

Shira Wolfe is Coordinator of Merkaz Meida for Young Adults. The Center is sponsored by the World Zionist Organization's Hagshama Department, Merkaz HaMagshimim Hadassa and The Jewish Agency, in cooperation with the AACI and UJIA. Send us your questions. Please include your first and last names, your city and country
  • For full Cafe Oleh resource listings on Aliya and Absorption click here!
  • Click here
  • to read Vols I to X Vol XIII Q: I am an olah of 2 1/2 years. My husband has no "rights" as he was here for too long as a "tourist." We currently get a rent subsidy as though I am single. We will, G-d willing, be welcoming our first child in February. What is our status with regards child benefit? Are we a couple? Am I single? Does his non-oleh status have any meaning in relation to this? A: The rental subsidy is from the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, while the child benefit is from the national insurance, in whose eyes you are married. As to an increase in your rental subsidy, that is something you will need to verify with the bank. Q: Also, we are considering buying a home. Are we "entitled" to the discount in mas rehisha? An oleh mortgage (do those still exist?) If he has no zchuyot, but he's been here longer how do we get the benefit of those years here? A: Yes, you are entitled to the discount, and oleh mortgages do still exist. You should be able to receive all, in your name. Q: I returned to Israel as a toshav hozer in July 1998. In October 1998 I left after not finding a job. I hope to return in January 2006 for good. While not looking for handouts or deals, nevertheless I would like to know if there are benefits I can receive , like sending a few boxes of personal belongings without tax, or maybe there isn't any tax at all ? What can I send or not send? A: Because you have been away for several years, there may be things you are still eligible for, including sending three lifts of possessions, tax free. Your aliya shaliach will give you a definitive answer for your specific case. Q: I am Jewish on my father's side only. If I choose to make aliya will the same services and assistance be available to me, asto those who are considered "halachically" Jewish? A: Yes * * * Vol XII Readers please note the following change that was recently instituted regarding the registration of para-medicals: Licensing for paramedical professionals: In the light of a Supreme Court ruling, the Ministry of Health is no longer issuing licenses (Teudot Hakara) to paramedical professionals in the following fields: Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Chiropady, Podiatary, Dental Assistants, Medical laboratory workers, Medical Technologists, X-Ray operators, Heart-Lung machine operators, Clinical Criminology, Dietitians, and Clinical Genetics. In a letter received by the offices of merkaz Meida, the Ministry of Health has confirmed that according to a Supreme Court ruling: "Public sector and other employers may employ a person who does not have a Certificate of Recognition from the Ministry of Health". The ruling is based on the fact that none of these professions are governed by law (as opposed to Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Psychology, Pharmacy, Optometry and Hynosis). The Supreme Court ruled that until such a time as these professions are governed by law, the Ministry of Health cannot issue a certificate of recognition, or prevent a person from working in the field by not doing so. * * * Vol XI Q:I made aliya nine years ago. My wife hasn't and wants to. She has been living in Israel for six years as a tourist. What are her rights? A: She has one more year of rights to a reduced property acquisition tax, and to educational/employment assistance (ie retraining or placement) and nine more years for an oleh mortgage. Q: After graduating from secondary school at the age of 17, I arrived in Israel. I enrolled in a one year program (hashara toranit=yeshiva+kibbutz) and for this purpose I was granted a one year visa. The following year, I enrolled in Bar Ilan University, where I completed my BA in computer science. During these three years I had the status of tourist. After the completion of my studies, I returned to Belgium. My questions are:
  • At present I'm 24 years old. Imagine I would decide to return to Israel and make aliya. If I stayed more than one year out of Israel, would they consider my status as someone who arrived at the age of 17 or 24 in terms of army service? Does this make any difference in terms of the draft period?
  • If I decide to return to Israel, and request a work permit for the entitled three years, and let's say I would make aliya at the age of 27, would this make any difference in terms of the draft duration? A: A 17 year old serves 30 months, a 24 year old = 3 months, a 27 year old, not at all. So it makes a huge difference. In order for you not to be considered an oleh from the age of 17, you would need to remain out of Israel for two years. Q: Kindly provide me with information about my status as well as that of my children. I am considering moving back to Israel after living 16 years in the US. My children were born in the States and I am aware that they are Israeli citizens. However I wonder what if any assistance we would receive if we decided to go back, since they speak no Hebrew at all and both are of elementary school age. I was 10 years old when I made aliya with my family in 1971, but in 1990 I moved to the US. Will I be considered as toshav hozer or toshav ole, and what would be the zhuyot for my family to ease the transition? A: Since you were over the age of 14 when you left, you will be considered a toshav hozer, and are eligible for some rental and mortgage subsidies (each case is different so I cannot tell you specific amounts), for assured income following the first few months of aliya, and you may bring three lifts within the first three years, customs-free. Your children will be eligible for most of the rights of a new oleh (ulpan etc), but rental benefits will be for the family as a whole, not on an individual basis. If your wife is not Israeli, she may be elgible for all the benefits of an oleh. Check with your local shaliach. * * * Vol X Q: I'm studying dentistry and also working in a restaurant. I'm 29 years old and I want to live in Israel. Can I go to the army first and then finish my studies in dentistry at an Israeli university? I have double nationality, Spanish and Israeli, because I was born in Israel, but I don't speak a word of Hebrew. A: If you enroll in your studies before the age of 30, you may be eligible to have some of your tuition covered by the Student Athority. If you prefer to do the army first, you will lose out on this.You can take an ulpan as part of your studies to prepare you for the Hebrew at university, but you will also learn Hebrew in the army. Q: Though not officially part of any Jewish congregation, at the moment, I affiliate my self with the Reform movement. My father was born Jewish and comes from Jewish lineage. My mother converted to Judaism through a Reform Synagogue in Buenos Aires before she got married and before giving birth to myself and my brothers. Making aliya has been a dream of mine for a long time. Am I eligible for aliya? A: Yes. Q: Yes, I should have made aliya 15 years ago, before I got married (to someone who did not share my dream) and had two kids. Now we're not together anymore, but I also have no savings and I'm 47. Is it too late for me? I don't want to wait until retirement age. I'm also concerned about employment. My field is healthcare administration. I can't imagine having to retrain as an electrician or a carpenter or something. Have I missed the boat? A: I am not one who believes it is ever to late to make aliya. You will need to make a bit more of an effort, and do as much "home-work" and utilization of services and resources as possible. By homework, I mean networking with anyone you know in Israel to see if you can get a lead on a job, as well as to begin searching the following sites: Jobnet Israemploy Tehilla Jewish Agency and Jobs In Israel. Israel tries to help its olim, through financial grants (approximately NIS 15,000 about $3,400 in the first year) and vocational assistance (placement, guidance etc). In addition, speak to your shaliah for concrete suggestions specific to your situation. Note from Cafe Oleh: Check out our comprehensive listings. * * * Vol XI Q: My wife and I, along with our two year old, are considering moving to Israel within the next two years. I am 53 and we have three older children. Although we are quite anxious to make the move we know there will be some transition problems, in particular as regards our responsibilities to the older children who will not be coming with us and employment possibilities. My question is should we be going through the formal aliya process from the beginning, or should we give ourselves a six month "trial" in Israel before making a final decision on our status? A: If you have never been to Israel for an extended period of time (at least two to three months), ideally within the past 20 years, as Israel has changed in this period of time. I would definitely come for a trial period first, although if you see that six months are not enough, be aware that longer stays will effect your benefits if you do make aliya. Q: I am a 30-year-old US Army officer with four years active duty experience in combat, including 14 months in Iraq. I now have reserve obligations and college loans to pay off and won't be able to make aliya until I pay my debts. I will be 32 or 33 before I can get to Israel. I understand that olim are not drafted after 32, but I still want to serve and maybe make a career in the IDF. What are my options? A: Upon arrival, you can petition the draft board and they can decide to accept you for service. The capacity in which you will serve will depend upon your health and other considerations at that future date. Q: I made aliya in February of 2004. At the time, the tax rate on cars with engines smaller than 1.5 liters was 25%. The rate was raised in mid-2004 to 50%. What tax will I pay on a new car with a engine smaller than 1.5 liters? A: Unfortunately, the new, higher rate. Q: What level of conversion is acceptable for aliya? I am doing this process through a Conservative rabbi and want to be sure that I will be able to make aliya after I am finished. A: As long as your rabbi is recognized by his movement, it will be recognized as far as the Right of Return is concerned. You will be entitled to citizenship and aliya benefits as a Jew, but not recognized as far as the Rabbinate is concerned (so that if you want to get married in Israel, or other participate in other aspects of life that are overseen by the Rabbinate, you will not be able to although pressure is being put on the government to change this). Your rabbi will need to provide a letter acknowledging his recognition by the Conservative Movement. * * * Vol X Q: If we choose to just pick up and move to Israel, where do I find immediate programs to help with the process? We prefer to move to a kibbutz, are there specific ones which welcome new people to their community? A: Aliya is a serious step. I would not simply move without consulting a shaliach for advice, information, and to help get the paperwork started. You can contact the Jewish Agency for assistance via e-mail, see their website . They will also tell you about kibbutzim that absorb new olim. Why not take advantage of all the wonderful assistance that Nefesh B'Nefesh provides? Q: I made aliya on my own at the age of 19 in 1998. I lived on a kibbutz which I loved, but could never make it as a citizen. I moved back to England in 2000, to rejoin my family and get more educated. Since then, I have married he isn't Jewish. We have both thought about moving back to Israel, but not too sure how to go about it! Would my husband have to convert to Judaism or can he make aliya because he has married a jewish girl who has an Israeli passport? What if when we get there, I will find that i don't have the support again? Last time I was there, I had so many problems finding somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and no one could help me! I wanted my life to be on a kibbutz, but i was told that it wouldn't happen (I think I was too young). What should my husband do about his status? He isn't religious, but he may convert if this is the only way for us to live there! Any advice? A: According to the Law of Return your husband can make aliya without converting. As to support, (ie advice), you can always turn to us once you're here. We help with information on housing, employment etc. Before you make the move, do some research on your profession in Israel, on where you'd like to live, and on your expectations vis-a-vis the reality of life here. Speak to an aliya shaliach, for pre-aliya advice. In England our shlichim are based in Londona nd Manchester: London The Jewish Agency for Israel Balfour House 741 High Road Finchley London N12 OBQ, England Tel: (0208) 369-5220 x5222 Fax: (0208) 369-5221 Email: Manchester The Jewish Agency for Israel Mamlock House 142 Bury Old Rd. Manchester M8 4HS England Tel: (0161) 740-2864 Fax: (0161) 740-2050 Email: Q: My family and I would like to make aliya. I am a ger, and have been actively involved in our synagogue for several years. One of my sons celebrated bar mitzva with this congregation and my second son is studying. The problem is my wife is Jewish, but her family denies her Jewish roots, as her only surviving parent, her mother, now denies her Jewish parentage and says she is nominally Catholic, though she belongs to no church. We have made our Reform congregation our extended family and this is where my conversion took place. Our rabbi is much more Conservative than most Reform rabbis, and my conversion included long study, Beit Din, Hatafat Dam (as I was circumcised as an infant) and mikve. I feel such great need to move my family to Eretz Yisrael. We are in a very rural area and I really want my sons to grow up where they can be comfortable as Jews, no matter what. I am beginning an aliya tik. Do you see any problems with my wife's lack of Jewish documentation? A: If your conversion is recognized then it wouldn't matter even if your wife were not Jewish, because she would be married to someone who is. Your shaliach will also help you begin the aliya process. To verify your conversion write to the Jewish agency, or to the nearest shaliach: The Michigan Israel Connection Max M. Fisher Building 6735 Telegraph Rd., Suite 206 Bloomfield Township, MI 48301 Tel: (248) 645-7878 Fax: (248) 645-7879 Email: * * * Send your comments >> Cafe Oleh experts have been chosen for their knowledge and reputation. Cafe Oleh does not take responsibility for any advice they offer.
    Cafe Oleh is the place where you can join in and be published. To send us your comments, article ideas, suggestions and community listings, click here. In the meantime, check out our comprehensive listings and calendar services.