Olim Associates Team

By Rochelle Miller Every year, myriad Jews from around the world decide to make Israel the setting of their happily ever after. But much as they aspire to embark upon this beautiful dream, making aliyah and buying a home in Israel are challenging experiences, often fraught with frustration. To address these concerns and ameliorate the situation, Olim Advisers has assembled a panel of experts who specialize in helping olim and Anglos acclimate with alacrity.

“Making aliyah can be overwhelming, stressful, and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” says Rafi Shulman, the personable co-founder of Olim Advisors. “We have found that the webinars in particular have been an effective way to share our insight and advice. Over the years, we’ve hosted over 30 websites and over 5,000 people have registered. Among the topics we have covered are ways to reduce costs associated with your aliyah; healthcare options; making aliyah with kids, as well as answering any questions you may have.”

The elucidating webinars, which will take place on Sundays June 11 and June 25, will be co-hosted by seven premier Israeli companies, working in tandem with the objective of helping olim make aliyah and find a home in Israel. Pooling their extensive expertise in their respective fields, these industry leaders are collaborating with Olim Advisors to facilitate the process. Comprised of consummate professionals, the panel includes Omega Mortgages, Elite Israel Realty, IsraProp, IsraTransfer, The Avraham Levinsky Law Firm, and ReMax/Vision Jerusalem.

Launched in 2016, Olim Advisors is the brainchild of Rafi Shulman and his sister, Lara Itzhaki who recognized that making aliyah can be extremely challenging. Because of these perceived challenges, many people for whom making aliyah has been a lifelong dream, fail to move forward. Moreover, a great number of olim find that acclimating to their new lives is a constant struggle—one that may last for years.

“Lara and I are passionate about Israel and believe it’s the home of all Jews,” Rafi shared. “We started Olim Advisors with two goals in mind: 1) to encourage, guide, and provide personalized assistance to people who want to make aliyah, and 2) to provide assistance to them once they make aliyah with practical matters, such as dealing with bureaucracy, buying a home, and daily routines.”

Imbued with a deep love for Israel at a tender age, Rafi, Lara, and their parents made aliyah from South Africa in 1977. After living in Israel for eight years, they returned to the United States. “Our father got a job back in the States, so we moved to New Jersey, where we lived for many years.”

Neither distance nor the passing years could diminish their affinity for Israel and their dream of “coming home.” In 2010, Lara, who has a degree in social work, came back to live in Israel, and Rafi returned in 2015. Since then, the siblings and their respective families, have become an integral part of the fabric of their community. Blessed with a keen business acumen, Rafi brings 25 years of experience starting and running businesses. For this dynamic duo, being at the helm of Olim Advisors since the company’s inception has truly been a labor of love—they have helped thousands of olim and Anglos successful acclimate to the challenges of living in Israel with alacrity and facile. Olim Advisors also helps olim and Anglos buy and rent homes throughout Israel.

Olim Advisors provide an array of packages that begin when a client signs up, typically 6-12 months prior to aliyah, and continue for 6-12 months following aliyah. Additionally, the company provides a service for families who have children with special needs as well as a service for people who require assistance in navigating the healthcare system. Finally, Olim Advisors provide a real estate service that guides foreign and Anglo buyers through the real estate transaction.

Arguably the definitive source for all olim-related issues and concerns, Olim Advisors will be at your side throughout the entire process. “We accompany our clients to appointments and help them get through all the bureaucratic red tape,” Rafi notes. “New olim often experience quite a cultural shock even when dealing with such routine matters as applying for a bank card. Whereas in the States, you apply for a card, get approved, and receive your card very quickly, in Israel the process can take several weeks.”

Rafi also stressed the importance of dealing with a company that you can trust. “All too often, unscrupulous individuals will take advantage of an individual, particularly if they see that the person is unfamiliar with the culture. We have your back and ‘hold your hand,’ every step of the way. Like a trusted family member, we have your best interest at heart, which is particularly important when you are considering buying property and are unfamiliar with the real estate market—or any aspect of Israeli society—and don’t speak the language fluently.”

I asked Rafi if he has noticed any new trends in people making aliyah. “We have, indeed, recently noticed a few emerging trends in aliyah that few people are aware of,” Rafi noted. “For example, people are making aliyah with older kids. Families who have children with special needs are making aliyah to take advantage of the superior support and resources that are available to their kids in Israel. More people in the 50+ age bracket are retiring to Israel rather than to Florida, Arizona, California, and other warmer states.”

Since the company’s inception, Olim Advisors has garnered an international and multi-generational client base. The following unsolicited testimonials are representative of the multitude of missives received by Olim Advisors from olim who are living their dream.

SMALL {IMG Yifat Mittleman

{Caption Yifat Mittleman

SMALL {IMG Zach Mittleman

{Caption Zach Mittleman

“Our decision to make aliyah from Great Neck with our four children felt like a monumental leap into the unknown. However, with the exceptional support of Olim Advisors, our (normally hard bureaucratic) journey was transformed into a seamless and exciting experience. Amidst the challenges posed by COVID, Rafi’s invaluable connections and unwavering assistance ensured that every step of the process was smooth and efficient. Normally, processes such as getting health insurance, or even getting the power turned on are highly challenging to olim. Rafi and his team made these processes seamless (20 minutes to get a teudat zehut), enabling us to focus on the rest of our journey. Choosing to work with Rafi, Lara, and the entire Olim Advisors team was undoubtedly the smartest decision we made. Their unwavering commitment and genuine care made us feel like part of their own family. They were not simply advisors; they were our advocates; excited for our aliyah and determined to make our transition as smooth as possible.”—Zach and Yifat Mittleman

“We moved from Chicago to Ramat Shiloh. From the early days of our aliyah planning, Olim Advisors have been with us each step of the way. Olim Advisors helped us find schools for our children and made sure they were registered. When we arrived in Israel they were able to set up important appointments with government offices, making sure we received all our paperwork and olim benefits. Working with Olim Advisors has allowed us to focus on our children and family rather than having to navigate through the Israeli bureaucracy. Thank you, Olim Advisors, we could not have done it without you.”—Dina and Jeremy Hartstein

“Making aliyah to Israel was a dream of ours for so long, but when our time came, we were incredibly overwhelmed. Between bureaucratic appointments, bank account setup, getting our tav yarok and everything in between, Lara guided us every step of the way. Always accessible and extremely helpful, so much of our stress and anxiety subsided with her being at our side. Additionally, Ilana (who works at Olim Advisors) was our superhero when it came to applying for Bituach Leumi. She jumped through hoops, orchestrated the phone calls, and showered us with advice and support. We are so grateful for everything they have done for us and would highly recommend them to anyone making aliyah. Trust me, you’re in good hands! Thank you, again, Lara and Ilana!”—Dassie Goldberg

“Our aliyah plan was delayed by years. But Olim Advisors stuck with us and helped us smooth every bump. Without their help, our move from Long Island to Jerusalem would not have happened. Between the bureaucracies and COVID, there were so many details and hurdles that alone we could not have surmounted. And, above all, they were always honest. If they did not have the answer to an issue, they said so and then did the research. We strongly recommend Olim Advisors to anyone attempting aliyah.”—Chayim and Yocheved Radovsky

If you are considering making aliyah, you won’t want to miss the highly anticipated webinar which will take place this Sunday, June 11 and on Sunday, June 25, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. To register, visit OlimAdvisors.com/webinar. For further information regarding Olim Advisors, please visit OlimAdvisors.com. Rafi, Lara, and their amazing staff are waiting to welcome you home! 

 

Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and educator, and writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com. Read more of Rochelle Miller’s articles at 5TJT.com.

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