In addition to doing all this research and networking for job opportunities/school we have to figure out where we’re going to live. Sure you think, how can you do that when you don’t even have a job? Well you have to do both at the same time otherwise you have to live in an absorption center :).
We’ve looked at a few places thus far: Modiin, a commuter town between Tel-Aviv and Jlem, Zur Hadassah, a smaller bedroom community, Abi Ezer, a bucolic moshav outside of Jerusalem, and Haifa.
Of all of the places we’ve looked at, Haifa rates number one. It’s got a good-sized anglo community but not an engulfing one. The people are more laidback and drive less frantically. There is a good amount of religious diversity as well as more interaction between Arabs and Jews. It’s within close range to the coastal plane (where many biotech jobs are) and 45 minutes from Tel Aviv. It’s much less expensive to live in Haifa than Jlem or Tel-Aviv and you’re very close to two beautiful landmarks: the beach and the Carmel mountains.
Right now I’m still applying to Hebrew University, so there is a good chance we’ll stay in Jerusalem for the time being. At the same time I haven’t ruled out the possibility of ramping up my Hebrew studies and going to Hebrew grad school in Haifa. I’m level Dalet so I’m well on my way to fluency. Studying in Hebrew would force me to integrate a lot faster, but it would take more time and work. I’ll make the right decision in the end…