Arriving in Israel - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Arriving in Israel

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Timeline Action Check
1 Week Before Departure Print out this page  
Upon arrival at the airport Passport Control – Keep the entry card!  
  Get from the airport to your home  
Within your first few days in Israel Register at HUC-JIR  
  Get to know the HUC-JIR Interns  


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Passport Control – Show your student visa. Keep the entry card!  

At passport control you will be handed a card instead of stamping your passport.  Make sure that the clerk sees your student visa and that the expiry dates on the visa and the card match. Keep the card. Do not lose it.  Do not throw it out.  You may need it at any point during the year, especially if you receive a MASA grant as they do a passport check during the year.

Past students have recommended taping the card into your passport.  You should also take a picture of it as soon as possible and send it to Nancy and Helen.  Every time you enter the country and receive one of these cards, you should immediately take a picture of it on your phone and send it Nancy and Helen.

Get from the airport to your home

From Ben Gurion Airport your two best options for getting to Jerusalem are sheirut or taxi.


By far the better option.  A sheirut is a 10-passenger mini-bus which departs the airport when it is full. It costs approximately SH 64 and will take you to the address of your choice. Depending on the time of day, it should not take very long to fill up. However, if it doesn't fill up right away, your driver might want to leave the airport without a full van and will ask you if you want to split the cost for the empty seats with the other passengers. You don't have to agree, it's your choice. The sheiruts are located just to the right when you exit the airport. There is plenty of space for your luggage. If you have a lot of luggage, you may be charged an extra fee.

Tips are not required unless you want the driver to carry your baggage to your door. You can pay the driver in dollars rather than change money at the airport.


Private taxis are considerably more expense, however if you are with other people going to Jerusalem, it may be a suitable option. Private taxis located to the left when you exit the airport, cost about NIS 300 (approximately $75).  A  somewhat new taxi company “Daka 99” charges NIS 180.-. They can be found by going up to the 2nd floor, out of Gate 23.

If your baggage is lost when you arrive, and you do not yet have a permanent address, have it sent to Hebrew Union College, 13 King David Street, Jerusalem, telephone 02-620-3333. HUC-JIR is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday.


Register at HUC-JIR

After you arrive in Jerusalem and get settled, come register with Helen Linden, Administrative Assistant, YII program,  Sunday - Thursday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. It is important to come to HUC-JIR as soon as possible so we can activate your health insurance and give you a registration packet. 

When you check in with us, you will be given forms that need to be completed in order to register. This can be done on the spot, or you can come back within a day or two. Either way, in order to register you must have the following:

 The completed forms we give you.

  • A xerox copy of the entry card they give you at the airport, the photograph page in your passport and the page containing your Israeli entrance visa, and those of your accompanying spouse and children (there is a copy machine in the HUC-JIR library). Make sure your name appears on all documents given to us.
  • Five small passport-size photographs. They MUST be the Israeli size, which is 3 1/2 cm x 4 1/2 cm. This is the standard for Israel; American passport photos are bigger. Please do not cut down larger photos to this size, as your face won't fit the student ID card and you will be required to have new photos done.  There is a quick and cheap (about $5) place to get these photos done right by HUC-JIR. We will point you in their direction when you come to register.
  • 650 shekels for Student Activity fees.  These funds are used to partially subsidize various student activities throughout the year such as tiyulim, dinners, sports activities, social evenings, Chanukah/Purim celebrations and more.
  • For booklets used by teachers instead of or in addition to the required books: 
  • 480 shekels (subject to change) for Rabbinic/MAJS students
  • 800 shekels (subject to change) for Cantorial students

Registration will take approximately one hour.


Get to know the HUC-JIR Interns

Each year, a few upperclass HUC-JIR students and an Israeli university student or Israeli Rabbinic student serve as summer interns in Jerusalem. They will welcome you and take you on a tour of the Jerusalem campus, help you with the registration process and together with the HUC-JIR staff, guide you through the maze of your first days and weeks in Jerusalem. The interns also plan all kinds of activities throughout the summer and guide the students with a series of practical workshops on basic Jewish practice during the summer term. And, rest assured you can turn to them for anything and everything. It wasn't so long ago that they were in your shoes and they get it!