Gan Ends at 1:30, now what?

Gan Ends at 1:30, now what?

What is Mishpachton?

For many mother’s private gan is a great option. Usually beginning at 8:30 and ending at 1:30, its just the right amount of time to run a few errands and (hopefully) have the house ready for the hungry crew that is ready for a great lunch. But what happens if you need more time? For some, the day begins at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 3:30 or 4:00. And what about those times that your gan isn’t running the entire month of Nissan, but you still have to go to work? There are options, such as afternoon babysitting or hiring a high-school girl to come to your house, but these options can be very costly, often eating away at much of whatever money was made during those hours.

That’s why Israel offers the working mother a super affordable option – mishpachton. These family style babysitting groups are subsidized by the government making it cheaper (in some cases) than sending to private gannim. Mishpachton begins at 7:00 am and pick-up is at 4:20. The best part is, the longer hours you work, the better the subsidy. Not only that, but only mishpachtonim provide food and cribs, all included in the tuition. This way, when dropping off your child, the only thing you need to do is bring him or her – everything else is provided.

Mishpachton runs on a separate schedule from the regular Bais Yaakov schedule, so during Nissan, there is mishpachton the entire time except 1 day before Pesach. And yes, even if you are on a student visa you are entitled to all these benefits.

So how can you sign your child up?

You need to call the mishpachton’s rakezet that you are interested in registering your child. You can get a list from here for the ones in the bais Yaakov system, specifically located in Yerushalyim.If you have a t.z. you can navigate this site pretty easily and sign up online.
After you find out that there is room for you child, you will need to go down to their office located on בליליוס 6 קומה 1 , to pay a small registration fee.

Once you have been signed up you can begin the process to receive a “darga” (discount). If you and your child have a t.z. than you can apply for the discount by using this site. If not, do the following;
You will need to be in touch with the municipality directly. Call *2969 on your cellphone – ask to be forwarded to Ilana (she is the only person who knows how to deal with passports and student visas). It will take a few tries before reaching her, and you may need to explain to multiple people that you do not have a t.z., but eventually you will get through to her or, more likely, you will be called back (Make sure to answer your phone when a strange area code comes up, because it might be Ilana).You will then be faxed a questionnaire that you will have to fill out in addition to a few other documents found on the municipality’s website. When speaking to Ilana, she will explain exactly which forms will need to be filled out depending on your specific circumstance. Afterwards, you will fax everything back to the number
that Ilana will provide. Make sure to call back in about a month to ensure your case was opened. From the time your case is officially opened, you should be informed that you received the darga. You may have to lay out the entire cost of the month’s tuition before receiving the darga, but you will get payed back retroactively.
The money goes through your mitaplet, and you can arrange with her how you would like to have the money returned to you.


In addition to mishpachton, there is also Maon, which deals with the same age group, but can be more challenging to get into. The process is the same except there is no rakezet – you sign up with the menahelet, but all this information is found on the same sites posted above.

Hatzlacha and I hope this makes your year a little less stressful and a little more profitable.

Easy, Organic, Healthy

Easy, Organic, Healthy


Many times there are small stresses and scares that have to be dealt with on a daily basis – from moldy washing machines to cuts and burns, this is part of daily life. The difference in Israel is that we learn that there are creative and healthy ways of dealing with these events. Here are a few daily stresses that come up and how to combat them with organic and cheap ways:
1. After having a washing machine for a few years, it’s very normal for it to start to smell. Unfortunately, this means your clothes could be smelling like your moldy washing machine. A very simple way to rid your washing machine of this mold is with vinegar. Run one warm cycle after placing vinegar in the liquid detergent compartment of your washing machine. After running that cycle, I like to run a quick cycle with softener just to make sure that there is no vinegar residue. It really works and your cloths will come out smelling clean and fresh once again!
2. Fruit flies are really annoying and unfortunately can sometimes be a constant companion in the kitchen. But do not worry, there are a few simple ways of getting rid of the pests. A quick fix is to a bowl about one-third of the way with apple-cider vinegar and add in a Tablespoon of dish soap. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and then poke holes with a tooth-pick. Leave it out for a few day and the fruit flies will be safely inside your home-made trap. You can also do this with any rotting fruit (if you are
brave enough). Unfortunately, this does not resolve the root of the problem. So if the reason why you have flies is because you just bought some old fruit, this will due the trick. Yet, this is not always the case. If you still are having fruit-fly issues, see if there are any moisture issues near your sink, such as a leaky pipe or something old and rotting. After getting rid of those problems its best to pour down some baking-soda, salt and boiling water down the drain and let it set there overnight. Fruit flies usually lay their eggs in the drain so this will kill them. Also make sure to always clean your dishes right away (or at least let them sit in water) and don’t leave food out uncovered. This should get rid of the unwanted guests.
3.There are times that we worry about our kids’ (and our own) digestion. After seeing that your child did not have a dirty diaper giving him or her prunes really helps out. . You can give prunes to a child who is as young as five months. For yourself as well, you can buy prune juice at any local grocery store and the results are pretty quick coming. If you wake up with a bad stomach ache, beside for prunes, immersing in hot water or using a hot compresses helps soothes the digestive system. Muscles that are tight and contracted cannot always do their job, so by applying heat, the muscles are able to loosen up. Another way to deal with a bad stomachache is with chamomile tea and ginger (such as ginger tea or ginger ale). Chamomile relaxes the body which again helps with the contracted muscles. Ginger is a natural alkaline and anti-inflammatory which can help or stomach aches that are due to a high intake of acid. This eases the irritation caused by the acidic foods. If you find these remedies help, try avoiding foods that contain acid, such as tomatoes,
hot peppers and green apples.

3.When cooking in the kitchen, sometimes the oil sputters and you get caught in a scary rain of hot oil and
sometimes get burned. A quick and extremely effective way dealing with burns is immediately applying honey (the purer the better) and then wrapping the applied area with plastic wrap. Honey naturally prevents bacteria growth from unwanted bacteria and therefore prevents pus and bad infections. If you do it immediately, you won’t have blisters and will not even be left with any scarring (this should only be used for first and second degree burns). The same applies for minor cuts. If the cut does not require stitches, this is a grate way to avoid infection. Aloe vera works in a similar fashion and is a great way to deal with burns and minor cuts, but many times honey is more readily available. Additionally, to avoid oil popping off your pans, make sure to wipe it down of all water before putting on oil. Oil is hydrophobic (literally scared of water). When you start to heat up oil that is mixed with water the water starts to boil before the oil causing the water to rise and bubble up and then eventually burst, which causes the oil to fly off of it and land on unwanted surfaces.

All these methods are tried and true. Hatzlacha with your day to day stresses and dealing with them in a
healthy way!

Israel Winter Hacks

Israel Winter Hacks


In Israel, when November comes around, winter begins abruptly. We all are davening for mashiv
ha’ruach, but sometimes we wish that the rain only falls directly into Israeli water reservoirs so that we
don’t have to deal with the rain. Here are a few winter hacks to help you have a more pleasant winter.

1. Protect yourself from mold: Winter in Israel usually brings about a very unwanted substance – mold. A very simple and effective way
to avoid having mold is to leave the windows open (when it’s not raining). This allows for the moisture in
the air to evaporate properly and not sit on your walls (which causes mold to grow). If you already have
mold you can easily wipe it away with bleach. Be sure to wipe it down thoroughly and re-apply bleach as
you don’t want to just spread the mold from one area to another.

2. In America it’s very common to wear Uggs – those boots will not help you here – even if they are water
proof. Winter in Israel usually just means a lot of cold rain. The best thing to do is buy a pair of sturdy
rain boots and insulate them with fuzzy socks. Many times the weather will not report any rain, but it can, and very often does, come unexpectedly in buckets. A simple way to avoid getting wet is to leave a shein coat both at kollel and at home, saving
yourself from a lot of agmas nefesh.

3. A lot of diras are equipped with a dud shemesh which works amazingly during the spring and summer
time, but if this is your first winter in Israel, you will have to learn to remember to turn on your dud. This
is a learning process, as some boilers will take as short as 30 minutes to warm up for a long shower,
while others take two hours before getting warm. If your dud has a timer – you are in luck, just
remember to set it. Although many people are hesitant to turn on the dud too early, it may be worth
your while to turn it on when you remember. You may save a few sheckel by only turning it on when you
“need” to, but most of the time you end up with a cold shower. If you forgot to turn on the dud and you desperately need to bathe the kids – just plug the bath, turn up the kumkum and dump a few liters of boiling water in the bath Afterwards turn on the water and mix
the cool water around with the boiling water until its at the right temperature for a bath – usually only
takes five minutes. Before doing all this though, make sure you turn on the dud so that when the bath is
done, you can shower comfortably.

4. The air conditioning units in Israel are also equipped to provide heat. If you are not feeling warm air
blow, check the filter inside the AC. You take off the cover of the unit and you will see a filter spanning
across the width of the unit. Take it off and you may see that it is extremely dirty and collected a lot of
dust. This prevent the air flow. To clean it just put it in your bath and run water over it. Afterwards leave
it outside to dry for about 2 hours and then put it back in the unit. If you checked your filter and saw
that it is clean but still feel that the hot air is not coming, wait a few minutes. It can take good seven
minutes until the unit actually lets off hot air.

5. Make the most of the cold air outside. If you are having a lot of guests, or you just want to always make
sure your drinks are cold – just leave them outside. They will get very cold and this helps save room in
your fridge.

6. You family will probably be sniffling a lot and you will need to stock up on tissues. In Israel, it sometimes
is hard to get good quality tissues, like puffs that are soft on the skin. A good way to avoid rashes by the
nose is to apply a little Vaseline before blowing. Your kids’ sensitive skin will feel a lot better. Also avoid
bathing to often as the winter here is pretty brutal and you kids skin will be a lot more sensitive. Too
many baths can lead to dry and raw skin.

Hatzlacha braving the winter and keep in mind gishmei bracha!

Starting a Business- Part 3: Establishing your business

Starting a Business- Part 3: Establishing your business



Now that you have figured out most of the business, what exactly you are offering, the best places to
advertise and so on, you need to establish your business.


Firstly, you need a convenient mode of payment. Obviously, you would love to make your sales in cash, but many people would prefer to keep their cash. Quickpay or Zelle are very common applications that allow for easy transactions between your clients bank and yours. If your bank is a small private bank it is very likely that they do not offer Zelle. In that case you can easily open your own Chase account. They
offer a personal and business account and depending on your need you can decide what works best for you. Afterwards you can download the Quick pay app from google play store or apple store. Another option is to open a PayPal account. Most banks, even small ones, have an option to automatically connect your account with PayPal. This is another safe alternative to QuickPay and Zelle. This can also be either a personal or business account. It is cheaper to receive money on a personal account, so bear that in mind when first opening an account. You can always change it later on. There are also many e-commerce websites that allow for credit card payment. You have to pay for this
feature, but you may find many people requesting to pay via credit and it might become worth it to invest in it. Happy clients come back and making payment convenient for them makes clients happy. Personally, I have not yet used such features, but Wix allows for it, WordPress, and many others.


Legal Stuff

In the beginning your business will probably be small and you may not want to invest so much into it. That being said, there may come a time where excel spreadsheets will start taking over and you are finding it hard to manage the books as well as figuring out other legality issues that come along with owning a business, such having a ח.פ. , which is like having a teudat zehut for your business and allows
for your business to retroactively receive V.A.T. from the government. With this number you can also hand out receipts and bill people. Many people prefer to have official receipts for specific services. Not necessarily does your business require to take this step. Again, see what the clients are asking, and you will be able to decide what is worth spending time, effort and money into. It also may get confusing if you start employing others and have to start worrying about pension plans, or it may be that even you are having a hard time personally to arrange a pension plan for yourself. It is then, that you should look into getting an accountant. I personally have gone through a few people and I am very impressed with Levine Schnoor Ltd. The company number is 02-622-1140. You also might want to use someone who really knows what to do for personal pension plans. Eli Shimoni came highly recommended, he can be reached at 054-626-9229. He is Israeli but he understands English. Pension plans allow for you to have money to live off of once you retire. If you do not think you will be in Israel long term than I would not recommend opening a pension plan as the Israeli government makes it near to impossible to transfer that money to America. Alternatively, you can open a savings account in America and save up that way. Ultimately, this is something you need to decide.

Opening a new business can be daunting, exciting, exhausting, energizing all at the same time. You will have many ups and downs through out your journey. Many people say that you can’t determine the success of your business until at least a year later and most of the time a few years later. Don’t get discouraged! With enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a lot of Siyata Dishmaya, you will see things will
work out!

Hatzlacha and keep going!

Sukkos in Israel

Sukkos in Israel



For those who may be spending Sukkos in Yerushalayim for the first time, here are some important things about building a Sukkah to keep in mind as the Yom Tov approaches.

In order to build a Sukkah, you need to have a place to build it. For some, this is a non-issue, as their apartment has a mirpeset that allows for a sukkah. Others may have a retractable roof, which in that case, no need to build a sukkah, all is needed is Schach and the sukkah is ready to go. (In case your roof is retractable, realize that if it rains then your house will get wet. The best way to prep for that is to cover any beds you may have set up or anything else that is not waterproof with plastic table clothes – and make sure to have some spare sponja clothes to mop up the water).

Yet, many people do not have a mirpeset or retractable roof and if you fall in that category, you need to ensure you have a place to build your sukkah. In many buildings, there are reserved spots so do not assume you can build anywhere. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of machlokes over sukkah spots. In general, there are two different schools of thought, some buildings go with the idea that the sukkah spot comes with the dira, while others hold that whoever moved in first gets the next available spot. It is important to clarify what your building does in order to know if you have a place to build a sukkah. It could be that things are grey in that area, but remember that it’s motzie Yom Kippur and it may not be worth getting off on the wrong foot with your new neighbor.

With all the above in mind, there are basically two places to build a sukkah, on the roof, or the parking lot. In general, unless you are on a low floor, the roof is a better option. The roof provides a cool breeze, fewer cats to worry about, and more privacy. If you are on a low floor and plan to build on the parking lot, locate a shady spot, as parking lots tend to get very hot and uncomfortable.

Now that you have a place to build a sukkah, what do you need to build one, and how can you be cost-effective? Canvas sukkahs tend to be cheaper than buying boards but it also depends on what stringencies you hold by. Many people try selling their sukkahs so before purchasing new boards or sukkahs, keep your eyes open, or you can ask any groups you are on, and you will be surprised, but some people have extra boards or canvas sukkah. If you are only going to be here short term, there is also the possibility of renting a sukkah, although it does not seem to be cost-effective from the rentals that I have checked. If you are looking to purchase a new sukkah, or sukkah boards and schach, there are many sales around the greater Ramat Eshkol area, for example on Vitznitz in Sanhedria Murchevet, which will actually custom make boards for you. They also have keter tables, chairs, and sukkah lighting and fake grass for the floor of your sukkah for good prices. Standard six-foot table costs around 200 NIS, four keter chairs for 100 NIS, lighting, and grass depends on quality. You will also need extension cords to hook up lighting and duct tape to hold the cords in place. But around sukkos, many people will sell this stuff used and you can get it for much cheaper. You may also need a staple gun and drill, but most people will be happy to lend you theirs, so you probably will not need to stomach that cost.

Decorating does a lot for your sukkah and also gets you into the spirit of the Yom Tov. If you are artistic, a great way to decorate is to paint a mural for your sukkah. You can buy cheap paint on Bar Ilan at the art store there. If you are trying to go for a classier look, or if your sukkah is canvas, hanging glass or plastic ornaments with flowers placed inside from the bamboo creates a beautiful look for your sukkah. You can get ornaments like this at different stores around Bar Ilan area, or you can spend a little more at the art store located near the bus stop on Bar Ilan.

No matter where your sukkah ends up being, or how it ends up looking, enjoy the special atmosphere of Sukkos in Yerushalayim. There is nothing like seeing Sukkah in every corner and watching the entire Yerushalayim getting ready for this special holiday together.