Saturday, March 24, 2012

3/24/12: Israeli Bureaucracy And I Really Get Along Well

My Israeli ID Cover 

Now that I am settled into a more regular school routine I have decided to dedicate this next week to finishing up my Aliyah obligations, which essentially means I'm designating a week to dealing with the famed Israeli bureaucracy. Now, one of the first things I had to do was go to Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of interior) to get my Israeli ID card, and this absolutely terrified me. I have had a few friends make Aliyah before me and they had nothing but relatively awful things to say about this step of the process. First of all Israeli bureaucracy is not the easiest thing to deal with, and they don't go out of their way to make what you need to do enjoyable. Needless to say I was not so excited to brave this venture alone, and I was almost sure that I would end up crying at least once while I was there. 

I was told to arrive at Misrad Hapnim at least 30 minutes before opening at 8am otherwise I would never get in to see someone, and was instructed to be extremely pushy. When I arrived at 7:30 I was surprised to see the room outside the office filled to the brim with people from all over the world. There were groups and groups of African's waiting to get refugee status (or at least I assume that is what most of them were there for), Asians, Indians, Russians, and so on all waiting to take care of their business. When I finally got past security I was given a number and brought into a room that very much resembled the DMV. 

Inside Misrad Hapnim 
After waiting for about 30 minutes (which is not bad considering I was told I could be there for up to 4 hours...) my number was called and I was brought to a desk with a very nice older lady. The first order of business was to present all of the papers I had received when I arrived at the airport 3 weeks ago; I gave my papers, my passports, my letters, passport pictures, and everything I would need to get my ID card made. Once the lady reviewed everything it was time for me to present the documents proving my Judaism... yet again. 

Proving Judaism is a very big deal in Israel, and if you are not recognized as being Jewish by the Orthodox rabbinate you can run into fairly large issues in the future in terms of getting married, getting citizen benefits, etc. I have heard stories of Holocaust survivors who had to get rid of all of their papers showing they were Jewish, and when they came to Israel their children had to reconvert because there was no proof that their mother's were Jewish. It is a part of Israeli bureaucracy that I can't stand, but thankfully I had adequate proof of my Judaism, my mother's Judaism, grandmother's Judaism, and even great grandmother's Judaism. After I was reassured that I was recognized as Jewish by the Orthodox rabbinate (which was a huge relief), I was told that everything was in order and sent off to get my ID card made :-). Before I left, however, I was given one more piece of paper that I need to travel with until I can get my Israeli passport in 3 months. 

After my ID card was made I walked out of the office with the biggest smile and feeling of accomplishment. Not only was the whole process as smooth as ice, but I was comfortable, prepared, and the best part is that I did it completely on my own; I didn't wait until one of my roommates or Israeli friends could go with me. I felt quite exhilarated and was now a full Israeli, ID card and all :-) 

Thursday night was filled with fun and friends at one of my favorite clubs in Tel Aviv, Friday was spent at the beach and then the roommates and I prepared a wonderful Shabbat dinner for ourselves and a few friends. The meal was absolutely delicious and then we all went out dancing afterwards. It was a long but wonderful Friday. Talking advantage of the gorgeous weather we have been having, this afternoon was also spent relaxing and sleeping on the beach followed by a delicious dinner at a Tel Aviv hot spot. Now, since we are all exhausted and have work/school tomorrow, we are enjoying a quiet movie night which will undoubtedly be followed by a good night sleep. 

Next week will be quite busy and filled with work, school, dinners, concerts, and so on, but I'm looking forward to another fantastic, amazing, fun filled, adventurous week here in Tel Aviv! Stay tuned for plenty of updates :-) 

Lilah Tov ya asdeqa <3,
Jordana Simone 

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