Thursday, June 3, 2010

When Yeridah Happens to Good People

We can't believe its almost been a month since launch! Things have been very, very busy here at Diramates HQ. Our webmaster Karen has been working overtime on improving the site as we welcome more new members. So, first, welcome everyone! We hope you have been enjoying your experience so far on the site and - as always - we appreciate all feedback!

A couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from my friend Jesse. He made Aliyah with Nefesh B'Nefesh back in January 2010. He was so happy to be here! He was full of enthusiasm and excitement about his Aliyah. You talk to him and you just felt his love for Israel. Granted, he missed things about his life in the States, particularly his girlfriend and his family, but he was a Zionist, living out the Zionist dream, and he was going to stick it out here in Israel!

And then, slowly, that excitement faded away to frustrations. Seemingly, at every turn, he faced more and more challenges. First, he was placed in a class at his Ulpan that wasn't appropriate for him. While he probably was placed correctly, given his Hebrew skills, he felt that he was above the class. He tried to get his placement changed to a higher level class but the school refused to move him and so, daily, he felt frustrated with his Ulpan.

When it came time for employment, he energetically went on many interviews. His dream job - to work in communications for the State of Israel - was not within his reach. And so, as he saw his money dwindling with no employment available to him other than waitering at a restaurant in Tel Aviv, he became very anxious. Life isn't cheap in Israel and - just the basics such as rent, bills, health insurance payments, food, transportation, etc - adds up. He started worrying about how he was going to make his next cell phone bill payment, or where he was going to find the money to pay for his rent and utilities. Quickly, his Sal Klita fund was getting dangerously low, and he became really anxious about making ends meet.

If that wasn't enough of a stresser - Jesse ended up finding roommates in Tel Aviv who were not compatible. While looking for a place to live he answered an ad he found online, met with two native Israeli's living in a three room apartment, and after an hour conversation, decided to move in. It just didn't click. There were personality issues, lifestyle issues and cultural issues that he just couldn't overcome.

And so, frustrated with his financial situation and his living situation, Jesse decided it was time to move back to the States. Four months after his Aliyah, Jesse made Yeridah, and is now picking up the pieces of his life back in America.

I was very sad to hear that he moved back to the States, and I know how much he is missing Israel. We miss him too and were really upset that his Aliyah experience didn't turn out the way he had dreamed it would.

Jesse's story is the reason why we work so hard on Diramates. Aliyah is very difficult, it's important that everyone who is getting ready to make the move, to realize that things will be challenging when you get to the Holy Land. But, with the right support network, anyone can make it here! And, at the very least, we hope to help take the weight off of your shoulders when it comes to your living arrangements.

Our goal is to help you find the most compatible roommates for you, so that you have that support system when you go home at night. When a day of pounding the pavements searching for a job yields nothing but sweat stains and disappointments, that your home here in Israel is a haven. That the people you choose to live with will help pick you up when you're feeling down. That you're not surprised when your landlord asks for the Arnona payment, or ups the Vaad Bayit because the winter month's have arrived.

We hope you'll turn to us with your frustrations and your finds - let us know how we can help you! If you're having a bad day, e-mail us! We're here to help you! And, if you're having a wonderful experience - either with the apartment or roommate you found through Diramates - make sure you also let us know!

Have you made Aliyah already? If so, how are you finding the experience? Are you planning on making Aliyah? What are your concerns!

Post a message and let us know!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Twas the Night Before Launch

Twas the night before launch and all through the Dira, one CEO and a very talented webmaster were frantically getting all last minute action items crossed off the list.

This is it. We're finally here. The day I've been waiting for since August 2006, when I came up with the idea of Diramates. Its taken four years of website development, research, coming up with appropriate funds, marketing and PR plans and logo creation to get to this point.

First, I'd like to thank Karen - my extremely talented and amazing webmaster. She rescued the website when I thought it was doomed to fail. And, in less than a year, turned it around to be this great platform to help hundreds of thousands of single Olim find the perfect roommate when they make Aliyah to Israel.

Next, I must thank my business partner, who shall remain nameless. For his years of support, both financially and emotionally, and for giving me the creative license to basically do whatever the heck I wanted to do with this site.

Finally, to my loving family, who has supported me and Diramates since the site was in its infancy. To my husband, who spent hours working with Karen, testing links, filling out profiles, e-mailing suggestions on how to improve the site, and putting his own blood, sweat and tears into this project to help it succeed.

I'm so excited about tomorrow, I have that nervous rumbling in my belly. I doubt I'll sleep much tonight.

It's like Black Thursday at Walmart, and I'm envisioning people lining up at the door for that 4:00 a.m. opening. No stampeding please, folks, there's more than enough for everyone. Obviously, I'm not selling a Playstation and people aren't buying Christmas presents, but that's the excitement I feel about tomorrow morning!

So folks, here are my wishes and hopes for your experience as a member of Diramates:

1) That you should meet the perfect roommate for you. Making Aliyah is hard, and there are a lot of difficult situations which lie ahead. Everyone deals with it, it's an inevitable part of the experience. But what I wish for all you dear members, is that finding a roommate isn't one of them. May you join the site, and meet the perfect person to live with when you first make Aliyah. Someone you connect with, someone who can be the support you will need to make it through acclimating through life in Israel. It will just make such a difference.

2) May you find the perfect apartment for you - and your new roommate - in Israel. There are very few English language apartment search resources in this Country. Again, it's difficult enough as it is to move here, it shouldn't be so difficult to find an apartment too. My wish for you, deal members, is to be able to browse through a plethora of appropriate apartments listings in English. So you don't have to do what I did, break my teeth on Hebrew language sites and cry in frustration when I kept mixing up the word for furnished and airconditioning.

3) May the information on our site help you navigate through the apartment rental situation. When I moved to this Country, I had no idea what a Vaad Bayit or Arnona was. I also was shocked when my crook of a landlord (that story later) insisted I hand her a year's worth of pre-dated checks at contract signing. Oh, and the contract was in Hebrew and I mention my Hebrew language skills are on par with a 7th grade Yeshiva student? Fortunately, I was able to find a couple of friends to vouch for me, but had I been prepared before I moved to the Country, the shock wouldn't have been so difficult to absorb.

So dear members - and future members - I'm off to finish tweaks on our launch press release, plan the first newsletter, check to make sure links are working, work with Karen on last minute aesthetics of the site, and then I'm turning in for the night.

I hope you'll comment and let me know what you think about our site! And, we are always interested in hearing your suggestions on how we can make your experience as a Diramates member, much better.

Thank you, and Good Night!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seller Snafus

As you know, we've been searching for an apartment to buy in Jerusalem. Our search has taken us to all over the place - we've seen run down places in Katamon and gorgeous, newly renovated apartments in Baka. We haven't found the place for us yet, but today's apartment viewing takes the cake!

We looked at a 2 bedroom apartment in a gorgeous building on Rachel Imanu, located right next door to the Christian Embassy. While we were looking around, the owners were meeting with a real estate agent. She asked the owners about their price, which they have set at a whopping 1.9 million shekel.

The owners, IN FRONT OF US, say that they know the price is outlandish but they have it high in order to cover costs of expenses.

Now, that's just not smart. We walked out of there with a bad taste in our mouths and while, we firmly believe the sale price is up to the discretion of the owners, do me a favor and don't let the buyers know.

We keep looking!

Launch in 23 days!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


We met Eli Rechintal at yesterday's open house and he does shiputzim/renovations. He sent us photos of his work. If you want to speak with him about renovations, feel free to contact him at 0508-750333

Monday, February 8, 2010

HaPalmach Open House

Just got back from a very successful open house at HaPalmach 18, which was coordinate through Shiran. Met a tons of great real estate agents who were all really interested in our site! I'm looking forward to the listings that will hopefully result from our little meet and greet.

To recap what I said when we met this morning:

1) Yes, this site is FREE! It is completely free for you to list the apartments you have for rent or sale. I do not ask for a percentage of the sale, I do not charge a subscription fee

2) How we are different? You have 100% control (as long as it doesn't violate our rules and regulations) with what information you put up on the site. And, as opposed to other listing sites out on the Internet, you can put up photos!

3) The people who are coming to this site are looking for apartments for sale and rent. There will be people who are looking for everything from a more modest fee to a luxury apartment. So, don't hesitate to list something because you think you won't find a buyer here! Diramates is WORLDWIDE and we have a WORLDWIDE reach. All you have to do is put up your listing, and leave the PR to us.

Feel free to comment below with any questions!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tweet Me!

Now you can follow our tweet here as well as @diramates

Send us a tweet now and let us know how you like the site!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jerusalem Mayor

I'm searching for the actual article but apparently, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat has issued a statement asking for all Jerusalem land owners who don't live in Jerusalem full time, to rent out their apartments so that the City isn't empty.

What do you think about that? Do you think foreigners who own apartments in Jerusalem will heed this call?

Let me know!!