English speaking Olim have a myriad of organisations and groups to support their new life in Israel. The largest private organisation that supports all English speaking Olim is the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel). It has offices throughout Israel. Twenty five thousand English speaking Israelis belong to this wonderful organization.

The author of this article is especially appreciative of the AACI’s sterling work. The efforts of Yanina Muskinow their representative for the north proved invaluable during my acclimation. AACI, a voluntary, non-profit organization, was established in 1951 to help North American immigrants acclimate to Israeli society and to build strong ties between North American Jewish communities and Israel. AACI is governed by a lay board and administered by a professional staff. Its many activities are financed through the support of foundations, annual membership dues, an annual fundraising drive and private donations.

AACI provides a wealth of services and programs to cater for its membership:

  • Professional counseling on Aliyah and Klitah (absorption)
  • Employment Resource Center
  • Emergency, mortgage and small business loans
  • Support groups
  • Advice Sessions: tax, banking, translation and more
  • Legal consultations
  • Blood bank privileges
  • The AACI Cohen Library for the Visually Impaired
  • Senior Outreach

AACI Acts can move mountains when its members’ welfare is at stake.
AACI Acts:

  • Lobbied successfully to modify the effect of new Israeli tax laws on immigrants;
  • Produced and distributed a free Emergency Handbook and held gas mask demonstrations prior to and during the Gulf War;
  • Confronted the social, economic and psychological pressures affecting its membership through the Seniors Outreach Project.
  • AACI Community offers a warm and welcoming environment, with special programs targeting families, young adults, mid-lifers and seniors.   Members participate in:
    • Welcome Home events for new olim (immigrants)
    • Home Hospitality
    • 4th of July/Canada Day & Thanksgiving Celebrations
    • AACI Travel Experience & Study Vacations
    • Social and Cultural Programs,
    • Lectures and more including (our new Writers’ Group?)

The challenges of immigrating to this amazing and complicated nation have been overwhelming to me at times. I have often said to myself should I return to my native United States? There is a new language to learn, a diverse and complicated culture to understand and sadly ongoing security threats from within and our neighbors. Yet, I am still here six years later thanks in great part to the support of my friends at AACI

They even honored me by choosing me as their volunteer of the year in Northern Israel this year.