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.

Starting a Business – Part 2: Advertising

Starting a Business – Part 2: Advertising

 

Social Media

 

A business can only exist if you have a clientele. In order to gain a following, a business relies heavily on advertisement. This is a major factor in having your business succeed, but as most things in a fledging business, it can be a big expense so here is a break down of how to make a big name, but pay less. Social media is a great free platform for you to get your business out there. Instagram is a major platform to showcase your product and gain a following. Although Instagram is free – be prepared that running a platform in itself, is a full time job. People want to see updates of you product, they want new pictures and what helps is putting a face behind the business. People will relate more to your business, when they see who is behind the product – that it’s more than a product, but it’s a person providing a
service. In addition, everyone loves free stuff, so a very popular way to increase your following is by having giveaways. In general, a giveaway is some sort of competition that involves a person being entered to have a chance to win your product/ service by helping you increase your following. Lastly, Instagram is great for collaborating. For example, you only have a few followers, so by collaborating with
other small business or other big names on Instagram, you can leverage the fact that they have more followers and therefore increase your following. There are many social media platforms and many more strategic ways to use these platforms to help increase your publicity, but this will help you get started. Not only is it important to use social media, but while doing so, it is important to create the name you
are looking to portray. As a small business, it is important to take into account every expense, but you don’t want to cheap out on your image. Therefore, it may be worth your while to have a professional to create your ad or logo. There are many cheaper options, like finding a student or beginner graphic artist who is also trying to showcase their work, and whom might provide the service in exchange for you
having their name on your ad, or they may do it for less. Although this is another expense – the image you make for yourself is what attracts a clientele – if you look like a serious business, then people look at the business in a professional light. In addition, WhatsApp groups are another great way to publicize your business. Some groups are free – so you can periodically post your ad, for no cost. Some WhatsApp groups are bigger and may ask for a minimal fee to post – it is up to your discretion to decide if it worth you while. Some groups, such us the
LYB group, will offer you to advertise for free in exchange for giving their subscribers a discount of your product. This is a great way to get your name out, because people always feel better about paying for something on sale, and it gives them the impression that your business has great deals. There are also different emailing groups that provide the same type of publication. There are small local google groups, for example, where it is free to advertise. Just like WhatsApp groups, there are much larger emailing lists, like the Ramat Eshkol Nshei (ramateshkolnshei@gmail) where you can pay for different advertisement plans that fit with-in your budget.

 

Printed Ads

Although it may seem old fashion – printing out advertisements is another productive way to publicize, especially here in Israel. Not everyone has social media here, and people look at bus-stops and light poles for updates. You can get very good deals at printing presses – such as דפוס השושנים located on Shmuel Hanavi and Yechezkel – they will give you a card that allows you to print 100 color prints for 100nis, but allow you to split up the time you print. Therefore, you can print 50 of one ad, and then come back another time and print another 50 of a separate ad. They also cut your prints for a minimal cost of 5 nis. You can email them at 5827402@gmail.com or WhatsApp them +972-2-532-2315. Personally, after doing research from different printing presses in the area – they provided the cheapest deal. Having print outs will increase the type of clientele your business will reach. You can also join different “Pop-up shops” that usually happen around big buying times, such as erev Sukkos and erev Peseach. This also allows for potential customers to see the face behind the business and creates a friendlier
repertoire.

Lastly, there are different advertisement publications where you can have your ad printed in. This can be costly, but you may find that this reaches a wide range of potential customers. One of the most widely known publications is the “Pirsumit” (pirsumit@gmail.com). It is important to keep in mind that although your ad can be seen by many people with such publications – you need to make sure its formatted in a way that people will notice it, amongst the tens of other advertisements. The “Pirsumit” and most publications, have a graphic designer who you can pay a minimal fee to (in addition to the fee of the advertisement) to create for you an ad that you want displayed.

 

Conclusion

With all these options, it is therefore important to know where to invest your time and energy. The most effective way to determine this, is by always asking your customers how they heard about you. Always ask and when you see a clear pattern develop – for example after asking 50 customers, 30 people tell you they saw you on the BIL group, you know to hone in on WhatsApp groups, or if they tell you that after a giveaway on Instagram they started following you – then you know that you should continue to put effort in improving your Instagram account.
Keep in mind – advertising is costly but it is a worthwhile effort. It may take time, but when people see your name everywhere, it becomes familiar to them and therefore the next time they need a service you provide – you will be the first they turn to. Don’t get discouraged, this is how all businesses build themselves. Keep it up – and you’ll see results.

Starting a Business – Part 1: Getting Started

Starting a Business – Part 1: Getting Started

 

For many women moving to Israel, having a job is vital in being able to stay here and live your BIL. Why? Aside from the obvious answer of having some basic form of income, jobs provide an outlet for many wives to do something they enjoy and create order in her day. Many people leave right after Shana Rishona, or even in the middle because many wives feel bored and unaccomplished and cannot wait to get started with real life. That being said, not everyone is cut out to be a ganenet, or work in an office. In addition, not everyone has the schooling experience that may be required for some jobs (see how to continue your schooling here). If you are interested in trying to make the most of your time here, it is vital for you to feel productive. One very popular way of giving yourself that structure, as well as the ability to express whatever talents you have, is to start an at-home business.

But how do I get started?

The first thing to do is to pinpoint a need in your community. For example, you find yourself constantly wondering why there are no normal sheitel headbands in the area. Well don’t stop wondering, start providing!

A business does not necessarily have to be selling a product, but can also be a service. For example, a lot of people tell you how talented of painter you are, and you realize that a lot of women are interested in having female painters paint their walls. Bingo! You just found a need.

Another way of deciding what business you should run is conversing with other people and keeping your ears open. Many times you won’t know of something lacking in the community because you are not yet at that stage. For example, you only have one child at the age of one year and you don’t realize that there is a huge need for a baking chug for children around the age of four. So next time you are shmoozing with a neighbor or are in the park, or even seeing that people keep asking for gymnastic chugs on the WhatsApp group you are on – that might be your big opportunity. One of the most difficult parts of starting a business is finding a need – so once you have done that, you are halfway there.

Logistics

If you are selling a product there are many logistics that have to be factored in and require serious research. For example, you want to sell women nursing tops (please do, no one does) and you see that the styles that you are interested in are from America. How will you get your stock to come overseas? You have to factor in the cost of shipping and handling as well as the cost of customs. Be aware that dealing with customs is a long and arduous journey. Not only can they detain your stock for days on end, but they can also charge you, at times, more money than the value of what is being shipped. Therefore, it is important to think of creative solutions, such as paying people to bring an extra suitcase, etc. You may also be interested in importing from China. This has the same issues as mentioned above – but generally, if the value is less than 1000 USD than customs do not hold it. Sometimes though, it’s worth seeing if you can get what you need locally.

Additionally, how will it be packaged? If you are selling food, the packaging is one of the most important parts. The packaging must attract the costumers as well as keep what is inside fresh. Will you offer delivery? If you are delivering you may think it’s a great way to get customers but you must also consider how much delivery can cost. It may not be worthwhile to deliver something all the way from one end of Jerusalem to the other. In addition, if its food – you have to ensure that the food does not get overheated when being delivered, so you may need to invest in frozen packs or other insulation delivery options. Where will you store your stock? These all need to be considered.

If you are providing a service, think about what is required from you and factor that into your cost. Let’s say you want to start support groups because you realize that there are no English speaking support groups for women. Firstly, if you yourself are not qualified to lead these groups, then you have to find women who are interested. In addition, you need a place to hold these groups – meaning paying rent. You should also provide water and coffee. It could be you are a talented photographer – but you want to not only provide outside candid shots, you want studio shots as well. It could be to rent a proper studio is too costly for the session price so consider having a pullout studio in your house and invest in some props. Although these are small things, it adds up. It is key to figure out how to give it your all but think outside the box in order to save.