A site devoted to prospective olim, focusing at first on those from English-speaking countries. Later I would expand it to French, Spanish/Portuguese & Russian speakers.
The Jewish Agency (JAFI), NBN, AACI, TELFED (South frican olim society) love the social-networking part of the idea (see 1-3 below) and are receptive to participating in 4, by sending their members links to my Site, and being part of the on-Site mentoring to guide the Olim-Group to successful purchase of their building.
As presently-conceived, the site will serve various purposes (as outlined below), and then will be expanded (see the end of the email). The initial focus of the site will be to:
- Allow olim vatikim and Israelis to sign up as volunteer ‘mentors’ to help prospective olim past various issues. Representatives of organizations can also serve as mentors (perhaps in a separate section/category?).
- Enable groups of prospective olim to form based either on common interests and general situations, or according to specific issues to explore, or problems to overcome. People in a group can discuss issues amongst themselves, offer suggestions based on information they found, or experience they had during their pre-aliyah process.
Combining 1 & 2: Since one-on-one mentoring might be too time-consuming and involve the mentors in the same issue over and over with different individuals, mentors can be assigned only to groups rather than to individuals, so that they can deal in one shot with all those currently having the same difficulty.
Mentors can of course coordinate between themselves to decide who will answer what.
A group-category can be created by any individual prospective oleh, but if mentors see significant overlap between several small groups, they can recommend that those groups merge into one created by the mentor to address that issue.
- Some of the contacts which occur at aliyah fairs can be accomplished via the site, with site-based contacts taking place before and after the face-to-face live meetings at the fair, and of course the site is useful for those who do not live in a place served by an aliyah fair.
- At some point (concurrent with the above process, or after it) prospective olim can join a focused group of people who are beginning to plan their place of residence, and explore whether they have sufficient commonality to pool their resources to form something like a ‘kvutsat rechisha’, or to interact with the authorities as a group about schooling for their children.
A group-category can be created by any individual prospective oleh, but if mentors see significant overlap between several small groups, they can recommend that those groups merge into one.
The above on its own is a self-consistent project. However, it is planned that at a later stage, the site will enable groups who have formed a ‘kvutsat rechisha’ to interact with the relevant ‘providers’, whether real-estate agents, or kablanim, or – if the group wishes to save money by constructing a building or group of homes on their own, or to have apartments/homes with a special design to suit their group’s interest – with all the relevant providers (architects, engineers, construction companies, construction managers etc).
As demo, I prepared a very primitive version at http://air188.wix.com/aliyahsocialnetwork , see “choose-a-group-of-likeminded-people” and “providers” (I’ll probably add BuddyPress and other social networking plug-ins [Note that many of the group-categories are meant to spark the imagination when considering general residents in an urban location in the larger project, not olim specifically…]
The actual site will have an interface visually more like a social-network (it can also utilize FB etc, but I would prefer to keep that out). Also, the groups will grow organically from the self-categorizations of the prospective-olim themselves (though your input might help me set up some categories to start with).
At a later stage I intend to add a section to the site for Israelis to form groups to act as kvutsot rechisha.
Then I hope to apply everything learned until then to set up a site for countries where such groups are more common, such as England & Germany. And then elsewhere.