Staying Healthy in Israel

Staying Healthy in Israel

I don’t know the source of the content below, but somehow it landed in my database of health-related information. I’m sharing it with the public along with a message I’ve sent to a potential new olah finessing her serious medical issue before relocating to Israel.

I hope that both halves of this message will help the public at large:

Health Vocabulary

The Hebrew word for “Responsibility” is אחריות. Each successive and added letter of this Hebrew word adds a meaning and dimension to teach us something about what responsibility means.

א = The number 1
This teaches that when thinking about who should be responsible for a particular task, you should consider that YOU are the only one for that task.

אח = spells the Hebrew word “brother”
This teaches us to whom we are first responsible for. When it comes to tzedaka, a Jew is first responsible for those of his or her family.

אחר = spells the Hebrew word “another”
This commands us that our responsibility doesn’t stop at our own family but continues beyond the borders of familial relationships as well.

אחרי = after me
Although a person must be the one to initiate the mission to accomplish, they are also encouraged to call out to others “אחרי – Follow after me”, in order to be a good role model for others.

אחריו = after him
When one encourages others from the heart, they will indeed follow “after him”.

א-ת = Are the first and last letters of this word and also of the Hebrew alphabet. A person’s responsibility doesn’t become completed until they have accomplished what they could, from the beginning till the end.

Thus, this word not only spells responsibility but contains the directions to fulfill it too.

Ready for Part 2?

 A Message for Your Optimal Health (excerpts from a message I sent to a potential olah with medical issues)

I’m a certified Health Information Management professional, qualified to understand, edit and even to write up medical research, able to translate medical diagnoses and treatments into ICD9 and ICD10 codes created by the World Health Organization, too.

I completely appreciate the scope of your specific medical concerns which is why I connected you with XYZ [name removed to protect privacy].

I invite you to remain in contact with me, especially upon making aliya. The first year of aliya is filled with a breath-taking need to acclimate to a new language, culture and bureaucracy. It is so helpful to have a friend to help you through the tiring mess.

You must start from the beginning to establish an identity here with the social security institute known as Bituakh Leumi, the Ministry of the Interior/Misrad haPnim which monitors population growth and trends let alone addresses, and since you have [the name of her medical condition] you would be wise to register with the Welfare Ministry/Misrad Revakha to receive necessary disability benefits.

Bituakh Leumi grants other disability benefits. You must request them.

You must choose a kupat holim/health care fund within your first 4-6 weeks of making aliya. I have an important article about that due to be published under Nefesh B’Nefesh’s auspices. It might go “live” online by August. I have supplied critically necessary information from that article to a couple making aliya next month. Both adults and their son have substantial disabilities. They were misinformed about medical and disability benefits by their aliya shaliakh who did not know the updated information in which I specialize as a life coach for holim. He gave them so many incorrect responses to their questions that they almost called off their aliya! I salvaged the process for them and for their disabled mother.

The application processes for all the above bureaucracies/benefits can drive a person nutz, especially if Hebrew is not the applicant’s native language. Join AACI, the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel BEFORE making aliya. The organization can alert you to vitally necessary information, provide translation help and much more.

I’m an AACI board member in Beer Sheva, well aware of the riches that the organization can offer to olim…

… The social workers of every kupat holim location are obligated by law to help health fund members to apply for benefits but some of them are not good at it. The misery will be offset by charming people who step forward to help you out of compassion and good sense. XYZ is already among them. Others will come your way. When the aliya process gets you down, and it will, focus on the people who step forward to help you.

​BTW, Israel is not using ICD10 coding yet, which is a financial and statistical nightmare for all concerned. I figure that you’d appreciate that fact as someone already working within a hospital environment. ICD codes are NOT used in most Israeli medical facilities. Israel’s kupat holim system uses its own coding system and only uses ICD9 for hospital stays. Misrad HaBriut has not trained anyone in ICD10 to my knowledge, and my hopes for such employment here were dashed by that reality. I fill my work hours by writing up or editing medical research and preparing articles for

Hang on to the helpers in your life. They’ll make the aliya process easier. One day you’ll be able to laugh it off as we learned to do.


  1. Miriam

    I have multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and cannot take prescription medication, any synthetic medication exacerbates my condition. How do I find a practitioner in Israel and how can I get resources to be able to pay for it?

    1. blank Yocheved Golani

      A) I sympathize with the problem as I suffered badly from it years ago. I became quite ill from exposure to the wrong food and medications, plus from synthetic chemicals in clothing, furniture, bedding, carpeting, wall paneling, and recycled office/airplane air.

      B) I lost the problem plus all my allergies after going on a diet of organic foods only and after doing several body cleanses (read the book for tips on what to do and how).

      C) That’s not the solution for everyone. I highly recommend that you contact Dr Michael Feinerman in Jerusalem, and/or naturopath Shoshanna Harrari on Moshav Raziel, who literally did as much to save my life as GOD did, after the medical misadventure described in the EMPOWER Yourself book. Shoshanna is an encyclopedia of natural healing information. If the the natural healing world gave PhD’s, she’d be the expert qualified to give them!

      I also recommend that you contact Ginat and Sheldon Rice who run the annual Whole Health Forum at Essene Farm in the Jerusalem area. Sheldon Rice, Ginat Rice

      I do not have permission to share the missing contact details in this post, and I will not do so until I get it. You can contact me privately for it, though. Shoshanna Harrari’s contact information is listed in the EMPOWER Yourself’s Global Resources section, though. So is the contact information for chesed organizations willing to pay some or all of an applicant’s medical bills!

      I wish you hatzlakha raba in your healing efforts, Miriam. MCS is a living hell. People who do not suffer from it have no clue about what it is to experience the ’round the clock mysteries as to “Why do I feel sick this time?” situation.

      By the way, if you or anyone else is sensitive to mold, this link leads to a very informative article about the overall problem.

  2. Alice

    I hope within a year or two to make Aliyah . My son 24 years , is mentally disabled and I am the process of getting residential services in the states. He is non verbal , but has some limited language understanding . Is there any reason to believe he would ever be getting acceptable services in Israel – with or without a “fight ” ? Most likely there will be a tremendous language barrier for one problem .

    1. blank Yocheved Golani

      Yes there is ample reason to believe that your son would receive appropriate services for his needs in Israel, Alice. You’d have to file for disability benefits through Bituakh Leumi (Social Security Ministry ) and Misrad Revakha (Welfare Ministry).

      About the “fight”: You’ll be dealing with bureaucracies, which are known for slow, bassakwards behavior patterns in every country and language. Prepare 3 sets of copies of all the medical documentation about your son’s case before making aliya. YOU keep all originals! Hand out copies only as requested to various ministries upon request. Ask for an “Ishur” – a brief summary – of your encounter with each official and keep it in your home records. In the event that officials deny or forget that you did such-and-such, you’ll have proof that indeed you did. The ishur will indicate dates/times of each encounter, to be tracked for MIA information within computer systems and human memories.

      Your son will be required to appear for Bituakh Leumi, possibly for Misrad Revakha medical exams. Copperate with the procedures as they are part of the disability certification process and the overall effort to serve his needs.

      I heartily recommend that you build a network of friends who can help you past language barriers, and to buy a large bottle of aspirin before leaving the USA. Disability certification processes are not simple or quick. They are maddeningly slow, a trial for human patience and perseverance. Work on on your sense of humor. And be sure to access the social worker in your kupat holim location. Social workers are supposed to help you with the application process.

      1. blank Yocheved Golani

        Alice I want to add that you can seek information about appropriate housing for your son, yes at his adult age, via the Feuerstein Institute at 47 Rehov Narkis in Jerusalem. Contacts there: Prof. Steven Gross and Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein.

        The Feuerstein Institute is a cutting-edge resource for people with brain damage.

  3. blank Yocheved Golani

    I want to respond to you in several ways, Holley:

    1) Your situation calls for highly specific information. I suspect that a professional associated with the Shira Pransky Project would know which questions to ask of you to cull some necessary information before responding to each aspect of the situations you’ve described.

    AACI’s Shira Pransky Project provides critical information, in English, about Israel’s healthcare system, your rights, entitlements, support and services available.
    AACI’s Shira Pransky Project provides short no-fee consultations and guidance to individuals with issues in the Israeli healthcare system via phone, email or appointments at the AACI Max & Gianna Glassman Family Center in Jerusalem. Our staff includes professional healthcare advocate Aviva Yoselis, MPH, for cases requiring additional support in navigating the Israeli healthcare system.

    Send questions to or call 02-566-1181 during regular office hours. Short walk-in consultations will be taken as availability allows from 10:00 to 14:00 on Mondays.

    2) You can also learn some general information at Navigate the Israeli Healthcare System

    3) Once you arrive in Israel, you’d be wise to establish a relationship with the head secretary of the kupat holim office that you’ll be accessing. It’s also smart to join AACI, the Association fo Americans and Canadians in Israel

    Establishing a new life in a country with its own laws, bewildering bureaucracies (redundant, I know) and language is challenging for anyone. You’re arriving with specific needs to be met. A solid, helpful network of informative people will be critical for you. That secretary and AACI membership can be important parts of that helpful network.

    4) Note that email address referenced above. It tends to be helpful. Use it well.

  4. HLA

    We are moving to Israel on A-1 rather than Aliyah, for several reasons . I converted in Israel, my mother is joining us. What options for healthcare will exist for myself, 5 year old and my mother?

    My mother (age 69) will initially come on tourist visa. Then perhaps work visa.

    Thank you so much for your suggestions.

  5. blank Yocheved Golani

    You can also speak with the head secretary and administrators of your kupat holim office. The social worker can help you with translation efforts. Express your need for communication assistance to one and all. TTY devices exist throughout the country. It is another matter to ensure that they are in good working order, not dust collectors.

  6. blank Yocheved Golani

    Ronnie your situation warrants proper attention. I plan to contact you so that I can supply you with necessary information. Meantime, you can stay on the lookout for my pending article about those very concerns and a few more. Nefesh B’Nefesh plans to publish it in the foreseeable future.

  7. Ronnie Lea Kaufman

    I need help.
    I made Aliyah last August , 2016.
    I’m hard of hearing (HOH)….cannot learn Hebrew (I’ve really tried), because I can’t hear/discriminate sounds.
    I am a heart patient.
    Will have heart surgery in early August.
    I do not qualify for bituach leumi.
    Age 66… retired speech pathologist, from NJ..on disability.
    Very upset.
    Not happy in Israel, for many reasons.
    Made Aliyah because my only son moved here, 5 years ago; did not want to die alone, in USA.
    Living here is too difficult for me.
    Can’t make my own doctors’ appointments because I can’t hear on the phone.
    Can you help me?

    Thank you.

    1. blank Yocheved Golani

      Ronnie you can contact the Israel Ministry of Social Equality (yes, we have one) at Click the word “English” at the upper left corner so you can understand the text. Make good use of the contact information by presenting your need for assistance in making medical appointments.

      Phone 050-6203580

      PS – the ministry sends membership cards to all Israeli citizens over retirement age. Membership alerts you to relevant discounts on various taxes plus pension benefits. I am appalled that klita/absorption counselors do not mention this to olim over the age of 60. If you did not receive the membership card, indicate your need for one in your message.

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