How to Adapt to Israeli Culture
Israel is one of the most developed countries on the planet. Today, citizens of different countries use the services of Israeli medical centers (one of the best in the world), and also go to this country for resorts. It is worth noting that the tourism business here is very developed and Israel receives millions of tourists who want to see the “Promised Land” with their own eyes.
In addition, there are a lot of interesting architectural monuments and historical places. However, many citizens of this country dream of moving to Israel for permanent residence. But in order to fully understand all the advantages of living in Israel, you should first make a little effort and go through the stage of adaptation.
an Israeli citizenship specialist
Understanding Israeli Culture
The culture of Israel is an exciting and interesting combination of traditions and customs of people living in the country. Jewish culture is a deep individualism and wealth. It has many features, such as its own calendar, holidays, and of course Hebrew – the language revived in Israel in the XX century. The culture of Israel is also clearly manifested in clothing, literature and dancing.
Core Values and Beliefs
Traditional values include the values of religion, close ties between parents and children, as well as respect for elders, respect for authority, traditional roles of women and men in the family and the priority of society over the individual. Saturday is a special and sacred day for Jews.
Language and Communication
Israel is a multinational country where you can hear a variety of languages: English, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, etc. Most residents are fluent in two or even three languages. It is important for foreigners to orient themselves in advance on which of them it will be appropriate to speak in this or that case.
The official language of the country is Hebrew. It is unique in that for such a long time Hebrew could only be heard at services in the synagogue. This situation arose because the State of Israel did not exist before 1948. Israelis lived in groups in other countries around the world.
Navigating Social Norms
The inhabitants of Israel are friendly and hospitable people. Family values are strong in the national mentality of Jews. In Israeli families, children are always in the first place, in whom they put all their strength and love.
The differences between Orthodox Jews and the rest are quite noticeable. When meeting with an orthodox Jew, he can evade the conversation, or answer very coldly and only to the point.
Etiquette and Manners
Israelis know at least basic English and will do their best to communicate with you if you ask them how to get somewhere or ask for any other help, but they will also appreciate it if you try to learn some basic Hebrew words.
|Hello/goodbye, also means “peace”
|Israeli slang means “good” or “everything is fine”
|How much does it cost?
It is widely known that Israelis are very direct, sometimes even rude or aggressive, but this is just an Israeli style of communication and does not mean anything negative at all. Here are some things you are likely to encounter when dealing with Israelis, but don’t worry:
- During the conversation, they make eye contact and expect you to do the same.
- They talk loudly and gesticulate all the time
- They can ask personal questions about your salary, rent and mortgage and share similar information with you; in Israel, these are normal topics for discussion, even among strangers
- They talk freely with strangers when they are standing in line or waiting for a bus at a bus stop.
Dress Code and Appearance
Orthodox Hasidic Jews living in Israel adhere to stricter rules in behavior, food and clothing. Orthodox Jews lead a life according to the Torah, a collection of texts written by Moses from the words of the Almighty.
The Hasidic costume consists of black trousers tucked into socks, with a white shirt. A black jacket is worn over the shirt, Hasidim have no laces or buckles on their shoes, which symbolizes remoteness from the dirt and bustle of the earth.
When making costumes for Orthodox Jews, it is impossible to combine different materials, for example, wool with linen. Such clothes should be sewn by special tailors. Sideburns and a beard are an invariable attribute of an orthodox Jew. A big role among Hasidim is played by a black belt, which can be tied at the level of the heart, abdomen or hips.
Embracing Local Traditions
As in any other country, Israel has its own traditions and customs. But, Israel is a unique and unusual country – it is home to many people who have come from different parts of the world, who have brought a lot of new things to the culture and traditions of the country, their own.
Holidays and Celebrations
In the culture of Israel there is a place for a large number of cheerful Jewish holidays. All holidays are celebrated according to the Jewish calendar, in which the year begins in September-October. Since in the Jewish tradition the day ends with sunset, all holidays begin the night before.
|Jewish New Year
|Holiday of purification
|Holiday of the salvation of Jews
|Holiday in memory of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt
|Holiday of giving the Torah to Jews
Food and Dining Customs
Local cuisine is usually divided into two main categories — Ashkenazi and Sephardic, as well as the population of the country itself. Ashkenazim, who make up about half of the Jewish population of Israel, are mostly descendants of immigrants from Central European countries. People from the Iberian Peninsula, as well as from the south of France, Greece, Turkey and Italy are called Sephardim.
Since Israel is a religious state, restaurants and shops on its territory strictly follow the rules for Jewish believers from the Jewish code of laws — Halakha, which is compiled on the basis of the commandments of the Torah — the holy book of the Jews (for Orthodox it is the Pentateuch of the Old Testament).
Tips for Seamless Integration
Moving to another country is still half the battle, you still need to be able to stay in it — rent an apartment, find a job, get a passport.
Many repatriates are wondering is it possible to live without learning Hebrew in Israel, because other languages are widely spoken here, for example, English? The answer is that without knowledge of Hebrew, it is really possible to make purchases, communicate with the local population and even work in a decent company. However, it is still worth learning it, and here are the main reasons for this:
- Full integration into society.
- Quick solution of everyday and bureaucratic problems.
- The possibility of obtaining higher education and building a career.
Making Local Connections
Israeli culture has very ancient roots and combines a lot of cultures of different peoples living in this country. Openness, directness are qualities that characterize Israelis. But it’s better to follow a few rules to quickly make friends. “Shalom” is the most common word as a greeting and farewell, but often you will hear “hi” and “hello”. Introducing a person, you just need to call his first and last name; Israelis do not pay much attention to titles.
The only strict rule during communication: women should not touch Jews who adhere to strict religious rules. Based on this, handshakes will not be appropriate for a meeting. They dress in Israel quite modestly and simply; one can say informally. On a hot day, a man may not wear a jacket or tie. Jews attending the synagogue always cover their heads, women with a headscarf, men with a kippah.
an Israeli citizenship specialist