Making aliyah is a process filled with a mix of dynamic emotions. There is the anticipation that comes with months of planning, the excitement of a dream coming true, and usually more than a little anxiety to accompany it all. One of the most emotional aspects of making aliyah is the prospect of leaving family or friends when going to your new home. While there are many ways to keep up with those abroad or chutz la’aretz, as Israelis refer to the rest of the world, managing communication and connections across time zones can easily fall into one of the Top 5 Headaches When Making Aliyah to Israel. Let’s explore some of the ways to bridge the distance, and keep those connections going strong.
No matter the distance, it’s easier than ever to send love and caring to anyone in the world from wherever you are. For family occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, gifts can be an exciting and thoughtful surprise from abroad. From the big names like Amazon or Target to the local candy or flower shop, sending a gift, big or small, can really feel like you’re part of the action.
Or perhaps you have a group of people that you want to keep up with? Maintain a long-distance book club, knitting circle, or craft group by uploading ebooks or buying the necessary supplies locally. Set up a monthly meetup online, or by phone, and discuss your thoughts and ideas as if you were all sitting in the same room. You’ll learn something new while keeping up with your friends or family, and don’t forget to add a little international flavor to the group with translated titles, or joining from a different location, so everyone can catch a glimpse of your new home.
While messages and video chats are great for keeping up to date with the latest developments, for some nothing will replace a phone call, including many who just aren’t as familiar with the latest technological options. So if you’re checking in on grandma, or reaching out to someone else, those regular phone calls can come with a number of options these days, whether through your cell phone, home line or other service. That can be a lot to figure out within days of making aliyah, with providers that may not have English speakers to explain the ins and outs of their service. TCS Telecom communication services knows how you feel and best of all can help you figure it all out, with a native English speaker standing by to help make sense of the options.
Consider having an American, British, or another foreign number that can provide easy access for those calling from abroad. Contact TCS about mobile plans which include a foreign number that works as a local call for your friends and family ‘back home’ while ringing straight to your cell phone locally. Or inquire about international landlines that can provide a foreign number straight to your home. Once friends, family, and even business associates, have that number you will really be just a phone call away.
Making aliyah will change some of the ways we interact with friends and family that remain abroad, but in the age of technology, there are many ways that can stay the same. If you’re used to sending emails, connecting on Facebook, or sharing pictures and messages on Instagram or WhatsApp, of course, these methods can continue and grow into a source of connection and support no matter where a person finds himself. App stores are filled with messaging and social media apps that allow you to keep in touch no matter the time zone or distance between you and your loved ones. If there is anyone who isn’t connected to your favorite app, maybe help them to sign up or start familiarizing yourself with some of the ways to stay connected in the blink of an eye.
Seeking a more personal connection in the form of a phone call, or even video chat, as described above, may require more planning. Times zones vary greatly depending on the countries and cities abroad. While placing a call to Sydney, Australia, one has to factor in a 9 hour time difference ahead of Israel, reaching out to Los Angeles in the U.S. will require a calculation of 10 hours behind the Israel time. This can get pretty confusing and often require some help. There are a number of resources like WorldTimeBuddy.com and TimeandDate.com which can help you do the math when connecting with others around the world. If there is a timezone you will be in touch with fairly often, or need to keep up with, consider keeping one of your devices on that particular time zone. This way you can always know what time of day it is for family or colleagues, and hopefully, avoid waking someone in the middle of the night.
No discussion of communications today would be complete without the development of video chat and video meeting options that have grown in popularity and usage in recent years. These can enhance a family get together, or even a trip to the store. Let your family see what it’s like grocery shopping in Israel with a short video chat at the local grocery, or take a tour of the city sights with friends abroad. You can plan a family concert for the newest pianist, or stream a family event to those who can’t be there. Sharing screens on Zoom or similar apps can also mean sharing a movie together, or a story complete with pictures. The last year has increased the need and availability of these options including Facetime, Google Meet, and more, and they are definitely here to stay. Make use of them at family celebrations, birthdays and graduations here and abroad and keep up to date with all the happenings across the world.
There are a multitude of options to connect with those dearest to us, even when the time comes when they aren’t the nearest anymore. And although it’s counterintuitive, the availability and convenience provided by all this technology doesn’t necessarily help schedule the moments to catch up, when busy with things like work, school, or moving across the world. In fact, it is the ability to connect at any time that makes it that much harder to plan for it. A phone call, Whatsapp message, or Zoom meeting can always happen tomorrow. But making those plans with family and friends will be the best investment in keeping your connection alive and growing. So plan for the weekly call, the monthly zoom, or whatever interval and method fits your schedule to make those times happen and keep the communication flowing.
The methods described here are all fairly typical for current communications but nothing beats some ways of sharing and caring that were more typical in the days gone by. Sending a letter or card, especially with a handwritten note, a child’s drawing, or printed pictures will not only build connections but likely become a memento for those far away to feel close whenever they glance upon their special surprise. For added interest grab postcards from parks, museums, and any local hotspots that you can still find these antiquated greetings and send a hello from the time before instant communication. It’s not only fun but shows you’re thinking of them wherever you are.
These ideas will give you information and inspiration to stay in the loop with family and friends even though that loop spans half the world. From internet access to cell and home phone plans, TCS will be able to guide you through all the possibilities that today’s technology can deliver, and keep the connection going across land, sea, and air. Looking forward to connecting again and sharing more ideas about life after aliyah.