Meet Rachel, Gvahim’s Aliyah Prep program director
Tell us something about yourself?
“I was born in Haifa but have lived in Tel Aviv for over 30 years. I worked as an organizational consultant for many years and have an MA in organizational psychology.” Rachel has many years of experience in the medical, government, financial, and Hi-tech sectors. In her free time, she loves traveling: “I wish there were no pandemic so that I could travel again.”
Why did you choose to work for Gvahim?
“Mainly out of zionist ideals. I joined Gvahim as a freelancer in 2010 because it enabled me to contribute my skills, knowledge, and experience to help Israel by helping olim. This still drives me today. Yet, I continued to work in the private sector until six years ago when Gvahim offered me a full-time contract. I said yes – it was a no-brainer – because I love working here.”
What is it that you love about Gvahim?
“Gvahim is a fantastic place to work. As I said, I want to help my country and help olim. And there are not many opportunities that enable this. Gvahim gives me the ability to help olim with my knowledge in a unique environment. Unique because Gvahim provides olim a complete solution that changes and constantly updates to the needs of olim and the demands of the job market, especially companies in the private sector. You can’t find this kind of service anywhere, and it’s not something a consultant can do alone either. Thankfully we have a large community of Olim that support each other. This community makes the real difference and has such a significant impact. But this support is not only limited to the community. It’s the whole internal culture at Gvahim that is supportive. If there’s a problem, there’s always support from my co-workers. It also feels like working at a startup. Like many startups, they allow and support creativity and new ideas.
Can you give an example of that?
“Absolutely! So, until 2018 I worked at Gvahim as a consultant and as manager of the consultants. Occasionally I was asked to provide remote consultation for potential Olim. And we saw the difference between prepared and unprepared Olim. Those who came prepared integrated much quicker and easier because they had realistic expectations of what position they could find and how life in Israel was. In these consultations, I also noticed that many Olim had similar questions and worries. Addressing these issues individually cost a lot of time. This compelled me to start a whole new program so we could help more people. Thus the idea for Aliyah Prep was born. I am proud that we can provide this program and the personal consultations in four languages.”
What does the program look like?
Initially, it mainly covered employment issues. But as the program progressed, participants started to ask questions about other topics, such as tax benefits, their rights and benefits, health, education, housing, and recognition of degrees. So I decided to look into that. Slowly the program shifted to 50% of the time dealing with employment issues and 50% with these other topics. But it didn’t end here.
“My colleague Sofya (who has an MA in immigration studies) developed a course that addressed the psychological and sociological issues regarding aliyah. This course helps them understand and accept the inevitable uncertainties and fears accompanying the aliyah process.
With the help of the Ministry of Absorption (Misrad Haklita), we were able to personalize the program and give each participant personal support on top of the group sessions. This personal connection with each participant is essential to me. We try to enhance the personal connection with each participant by connecting them with the community and other Gvahim alumni they can consult before making aliyah. There is a follow-up group meeting after their aliyah as well. During this session, we check their situation and their plans regarding employment. We offer them our services to help them find their desired position in Israel.
What are your plans for the coming year?
In 2022 we will continue with the current services. We want to help more people and increase the services to specific populations, such as doctors, to strengthen their connection with the community. I want to develop the Gvahim academy service, add new courses and expand the existing ones.
Find out more about our Aliyah Prep Program on our program page: Gvahim Aliyah Prep Program