Just hanging out at the beach

Just hanging out at Haifa beach…

As our time in Israel is coming to an end, here are a few things we have loved about living in Israel, and some things we have not, along with a few tips.


  • People. We have made a lot of great friends here in Israel. They have made our time much more enjoyable.
  • History. It’s been so cool to see places from the bible and from other points in history.
  • Cafés! Tim and I really enjoy having breakfast at local cafés. Our two favorites are: Israeli Breakfast (eggs, salad, bread, and tapenades and jam with coffee and juice. So good! And Shakshuka (a spicy tomato stew with poached eggs) served with bread, coffee and juice.
  • The beach! Warm water, nice promenades, tasty restaurants, and beautiful sunsets.
  • The weather! Not as hot or cold as Texas, with lots of sunshine and cool breezes.
  • Coffee. Israeli version of something between a latte and a cappuccino, but way more awesome.


  • Distance. We are so far from our family and it takes so long to get to the U.S. Also, the Timezone differences stink!
  • Not being Jewish. It makes security more a challenge. It makes TSA look like a picnic. Also, the Jewish calendar follows the lunar calendar and changes every year. It can make knowing when a holiday are confusing.
  • Language. While Tim has enjoyed the challenge of learning a foreign language, it has not been as fun for me. Also when at an English movie, subtitles of foreign or fictitious languages (Star Trek or the Hobbit) are in Hebrew.
  • Shabbat. While a day of rest is nice, it limits our ability to travel and experience more of Israel since there is little to no transportation available, and few places open.
  • Grocery stores. They are just not the same as the U.S. and non-perishables and hygiene products are very expensive.

*A lot of people ask us about safety. Thankfully Haifa is a very safe city and is far enough away from most of the conflict. Still, the conflict between Israel and Palestine was a major concern for us. However, we practice something I learned as a military dependent call “OpSec”. It also boils down to common sense. Be aware of threats (watch the news or get alerts on your phone) and don’t go to dangerous areas. I’ve often described visiting Israel is a lot like visiting NYC. There are certain places you have no business going day or night or times of conflict. Watch your stuff and don’t advertise anything that will make you a target. If you do these things, you will be safe, just like you would be in the U.S.


Tips for Living in Israel

  • Learn the Hebrew alef-bet. Hebrew is phonetic and relatively easy to learn (not so much to understand). It will make shopping, reading menus and traveling much easier.
  • Understand basic Kosher laws, especially regarding food. Parve (foods with no animal products). Kosher Dairy (some fish is okay) vs. Kosher meat. You can not mix dairy and meat, so no cheese burgers in most of Israel (except for non-kosher places).
  • Befriend both international friends and locals. Don’t limit yourself. Plus it will help you to emerge yourself in culture.
  • Emerge yourself in Israeli/Jewish culture. Attend Shabbat dinners and Passover Saders. Ask questions and enjoy local foods, and traditions.
  • Subscribe to a good VPN service. This will help you to watch your Netflix subscription and other American TV shows.
  • Get a library card before leaving the U.S. (maybe at your parents). Most libraries have an online borrowing system, which is nice to have access to, if you enjoy reading. Plus the Kindle app is free!
  • You can make free U.S. phone calls through Google Hangout! Very helpful.
  • Wake up early on Friday mornings. If you don’t get groceries early enough, it will be a long and hungry Shabbat. Plus the longer you wait the crazier the markets get.
  • Get a “Rav Kav” bus card. When buying tickets in bulk (usually 10 at a time) you save 10%. Also, in Haifa tickets are good for 90 minutes, so you can hope on and off.
  • In Israel 10% is the standard tipping at restaurants. Also, you will have to ask for your bill. Like in Europe, they will leave you pretty much alone for most of your meal, so you can talk with friends and family. This can be frustrating as an American, since we are use to waiters are always checking on us.
Isn't it wonderful?!?

Isn’t it wonderful?!?