While your Israel guidebook might teach you how to get from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv or where to exchange your money for shekels, there are a lot of things your local guidebook won’t tell you when you first move to Israel. That’s why we’ve compiled an insider’s list of “What NOT to do when you move to Israel,” compliments of Karen Lerman, a student of Citizen Café OOlpan.
So, without further ado, here are the things you should NOT do when settling down in the Holy Land:
- Don’t look for an apartment on Craig’s List…unless you favor cockroaches for x.
- Don’t shop in the middle aisle of the Shuk…especially on Friday mornings. The best local shopping exists on the side aisles.
- Don’t talk to the woman in the Shuk selling pitot either…she will never let you leave.
- Don’t underestimate the power of ‘combina’ (loosely translated as ‘working the system’ or ‘getting a deal because you know someone’).
- Don’t be a ‘frier’ (aka a ‘sucker’). Israelis have an incredible talent for making sure they are not played, which means if you don’t notice, you might be played instead.
- Don’t get a taxi with out asking for the meter (‘monet’ in Hebrew) before starting…Otherwise you may become a frier.
- Don’t stay in Tel Aviv…BUT do live in Tel Aviv.
- Don’t forget to introduce yourself to your neighbors.
- Don’t stay at home…our golden rule: the first time you meet someone and they invite you out, say yes. Because if you say no three times, you become the person they forget to invite places.
- Don’t wait three years to convert your driver’s license…it only gets harder.
- Don’t forget to tip according to Israeli culture 10-15%.
- Don’t go a week in the summer without making it to the beach…on that note, DON’T sit next to the matkot players.
- Don’t delay learning Hebrew…sign up for Citizen Café Ulpan now.
- Don’t be hard on yourself…learning Hebrew is challenging. Try to speak twenty minutes a day because if you put the work in, it will pay off.
- Don’t worry about making Hebrew mistakes – we’re all human. Israelis make mistakes while speaking English too, check out our blog 5 Mistakes Israelis Make When Speaking English here.
- Don’t leave your bike on the street…just don’t.
- Don’t forget why you moved here…everyone has a reason.
- Don’t be afraid to go out by yourself.
- Don’t forget this is Start-Up Nation…if you want to see something happen, get off your butt and start it.
- Don’t be afraid to take a job at a café…even if you have a master’s degree.
Check out more on what Karen had to say at our last Citizen Cafe Community Night.
Written by Tamar Pross, CEO & Founder of Citizen Café
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