To help emigrants from Los Angeles take root in Israel, the Los Angeles Jewish Federation operates the Aliyah Demonstration Project, which provides prospective immigrants with what project director Arnold Bender calls "tools to face reality."
Though American Jews may initially feel at home in the Jewish state, Bender emphasizes that Israel's culture is very different from America's.
"No one knows 'I Love Lucy' or the Dodgers," he said. "You don't know what the blue line painted on the curb means when you want to park. You don't know the network in your professional field, or how to go about signing up for a driver's license and a bank account. All the systems are different--and in another language to boot."
Bender strongly recommends that prospective immigrants make exploratory trips to Israel to investigate job and housing markets, and that they work on Hebrew language skills before going. In addition, he says, they should give serious thought to how their children are likely to fare in a new land. Couples should make sure they are in accord on the move and the reasons for making it, he adds.