Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wow, It’s Been a Year Already!

A year ago, on January 22nd 2011, my wife and I landed in Israel after living 20yrs in California. Moving is never easy. There is stress, time pressure, inconveniences, costs and efforts associated with any move. Some moves may be easier than others, but generally speaking, moving ain’t easy…

2011 has been quite a year
When we moved to the US, it was a move into the unknown.  I visited the US before the move multiple times, on business and leisure. But still, landing in a new country, with a different culture and processes was not easy. Moving back to Israel is different. It is like returning home after being away for many years. Some things changed, and some things never do.

I am often asked “why did you move back after so many years?” There is no simple answer. If I sat down and did the pros and cons, I suspect it would have been a tough decision. Perhaps one I could never rationally make. It takes a lot of emotional energy to change the status quo, especially when things are just fine the way they are.  I lived in a nice house, had a great job, and developed friendships over the years. So why move?

I guess it had to do with answering a different question. “Do I see myself grow old and eventually die in California?” The answer to that question was clearly “No” for me. I always believed we will return back to Israel at some point.

We ran out of “excuses” to delay our return… The kids have grown up and no longer needed “babysitting”.  I have accomplished most of the career goals I set for myself in Silicon Valley, and other goals could be achieved in Israel just as well. And finally a family medical emergency coupled with the fact that two of our kids temporarily lived in Israel at the time gave us the necessary “kick” to pack and go.

The next question I am often being asked is “are you happy that you moved?” The short answer is “yes” . The longer answer is a bit more convoluted. There are things I am very happy about, and there are things I am not. There are things which are better today, and there are things that are not.

I am happy to live in a country where there is “Life after 10pm”. I am thrilled to live close to Tel Aviv, which is one of the most exciting cities in the world, and I have seen a few. I feel pride and deep connection to Israel, something I missed while being a foreigner in America. I enjoy (most of the time) that people feel close to each other, and do mind each other business. And thanks to my talented wife, the 60yr old “dump” we moved into has been remodeled into a modern, cozy home.

I am unhappy about the way some people behave on the road, or anywhere else I see intolerance. I am saddened that after so many years, wars and innocent casualties, we don’t seem to be any closer to peaceful coexistence with our Arab neighbors. I am happy that Israeli consumers started to raise their heads, but I fear that it will be a while before social injustice, monopolistic behavior and public funds abuse will disappear. I am concerned that our domestic political environment has become far more aggressive and intolerant.  

I have to remind myself at times that Israel has been around for only 63yrs, while the US has been around for over 235yrs. A lot has been accomplished in a short time, and more can and will be accomplished in the years to come. So I try to be patient, and sometimes succeed…

It has been a year since I started my back-to-Israel blog. I appreciated some of the comments I received over the year, and curious about the comments I didn’t. Do keep them coming… I wonder if I should rename the blog to ‘life-in-Israel, after all I am starting to feel like a native  J


  1. Hi

    I am enjoying reading your stuff.

    My husband and I plan to return to Israel by May/June of this year and only now are really getting organized for this. I am also in California.

    My question is technical: How did you handle the whole Kupat Cholim first half a year issue when you arrived?


    San Francisco

    1. It is pretty straight forward. Either you pay the sum Bituach Leumi charges to eliminate the 6mo waiting period, or you get a private insurance for the first 6mo. Note that you might get refund for some of the payment to Bituach Leumi - check with Misrad Klita.
      The Israeli consulate has a detailed info package, plus you can find more at

  2. Hi,
    How was your journey of finding a job when you arrived in Israel.I understand that it is very difficult if you are over a certain age.
    Do you have any school age kids-- how did they handle the move?

    1. I personally work as a freelancer. As far as job hunt - I know of many people who returned to Israel at an "older age" who found a job. You need to work your connections and leverage your experience. Just sending a resume isn't very effective.

      I don't have school age kids. But from talking to many friends who returned with school-age kids, they all claim that after initial adjustment period, it's the best things that ever happened for them. Kids love it here compared to the "sterile" environment they grow up in the US.

  3. Are you happy with your move? Do you miss the relative peace and comfort in California? How do you handle everyday things that are more difficult in Israel -- such as driving, dealing with people when going to the supermarket, etc.
    If you lived in CA for 20 years -- did you return to Israel in your 40s?

    1. I am generally happy with the move. Of course not everything is perfect, and California does have its advantages. But none of that came as a surprise. The main question is: "Are you willing to live and feel as a foreigner for the rest of your life?" If the answer is no, then moving back to Israel is the right step for you.

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