Don’t Put Your Dreams in the Hands of Others

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Imagine the following scenes throughout Shmueli’s life in the thriving religious community of Goshen, Indiana, and how he never fulfilled his dream to make aliyah and live in the Holy Land.

Scene 1 : Childhood Dreams

Little Shmeuli is 7 years old and just finished examining a big picture book of Israel and it’s holy sites.

Shmueli: Mommy, I want to move to Israel. It looks really fun there! Can we move mommy?

Mommy: No, sorry sweetie. Abba has a good job here in Goshen, and anyway the Israeli kids are really too rough. You might get hurt. Maybe someday, but not now.

Scene 2 : The Teenage Zionist

Years later, Shmueli is now 16 and just finished viewing the Goshen Yeshiva senior class trip pictures of Israel on Facebook.

Shmueli: Abba, looking at all those picture of Israel really makes we want to go there. The Cohens made aliyah, why don’t we?

Abba: It’s not a good idea to disrupt your yeshiva learning, Shmueli. Learning in Israel is a lot different and it might be hard on you. And anyway, Mashiach will come some day soon and we will all go there!

Scene 3 : Passion Rekindled

Shmueli is now 21 and in his third year of Goshen Yeshiva Beit Medrash. After learning the halachot of Sheviit he feels the desire to move to Israel and consults with his Rebbi.

Shmueli: Learning the halachot of sheviit has stirred up my feelings to make aliyah, and get land of my own so I can fulfill those mitzvot. What do you think?

Rebbi: Now is not a good time. You’re still young, and anyway, your father has got college plans for you starting next year, right? You have your whole life to make aliyah – don’t get all worked up about it now. Think of your future.

Scene 4 : The Good Parent

Shmueli is now 28 years old, married with four kids and a degree in programming. After the Shabbat drasha about the meraglim, Shmueli approaches Rabbi Greenberg with a nagging question.

Shmueli: Rabbi, I have been thinking about making aliyah lately. The kids are still young, my wife is interested and I can support the family as a programmer. I think it would work out fine! What do you think?

Rabbi Greenberg: Bad idea. The government is filled with wicked people, Israeli children will be hard on your kids, your standard of living won’t be nearly the same. Stay here. You have a nice home, cars, a night seder – what more could you ask for? Wait a few more years – until your kids are older.

Scene 5 : Planning for the Future

At age 35 Shmueli has a couple more kids and has advanced in his programming. His oldest is 14 years old and is doing well in school. After looking at another Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight arrival on Arutz Sheva he calls the Rosh Yeshiva of Goshen Yeshiva to speak about making aliyah.

Shmueli: …we would like to make aliyah. We can support ourselves financially, my kids are doing well in school. I would like to pursue the idea further. What does the Rosh Yeshiva think?

Rosh Yeshiva: Shmueli, I have know you a long time and have seen you grow to be quite a talmid chacham and a baal hesid. But, you have to know that your son my not “find himself” in Israel. You may find him doing “other things” – things that you don’t want to think about. You have to think about your kids, and what is best for them. Goshen is good for you and you are good for Goshen. You have plenty of time to make aliyah.

Scene 6 : Not too Late

Ten years later, two kids are married and his other children are in school, some are doing poorly and some are doing well. After finding that an old friend on Facebook has moved to Israel, Shmueli turns to Yaakov, his chavruta of 13 years for his opinion.

Shmueli: I just got an email from an old friend who made aliyah. He says ‘It’s the best thing he has done and his family loves it there.’ !

Yaakov: Man, I would put that on the back burner if I were you. A lot of kids go off the derech. It’s a big problem. Maybe you should move when all your kids are grown and on their own.

Scene 7 : The Golden Years

At age 61 Shmeuli is making plans for retirement with his friend and accountant, Hillel Ash.

Shmueli: I think the time has come for me to retire and make aliyah, you are my accountant – what do you think?

Hillel: You have a lot of people relying upon your support, both financial and personal. You’ve got grandchildren who love to come visit you. How can you leave all this behind? Work for another eight to ten years and then go. Stick around, your needed here in Goshen!

Scene 8 : The End

Shmueli dies at age 79 leaving behind his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. After the hespedim, Shmueli’s body and his closest family members board the next El Al flight to Israel for his burial place on Har HaZiytim. As the plane taxis to the runway Shmueli’s wife converses with their oldest son.

Wife: You know, your father always wanted to live in Israel….

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Post Script

This little story was originally published in a blog I wrote when we first arrived in Israel and it seemed to have touched many lives.

One day I received a call from a man who read the story, shared it with his wife and in the end made aliyah.  He thanked me with profuse tears in his voice.  Seems Shmeuli’s story was his story – but with a better ending.  He and his wife made aliyah.

PBO – Packed By Owner

boxes of booksThere is  a lot of discussion about self-packed boxes & shipments.  Are they red flags for an inspection?  Are they covered by insurance?

So, without further ado, here’s the scoop on PBO boxes…

Verifiable.  First, if you chose to pack your own boxes, don’t tape them shut – the contents need to be verified for the inventory.

Responsibility & Coverage.  Also, the inventory will list the box/item as PBO because 1) it is, 2) it may effect insurance coverage and 3) if there would be a security problem then the owner would be responsible and not the packing crew or agent.

Insurance.  The insurance company may cover PBO boxes of non-fragile goods, like clothes, linens or books, since there is very little chance they will get broken.  Obviously, PBO boxes of china, glass, and the like are not covered in an All Risk policy.

Inspection.  In our 8 years for shipping we’ve had 3 container inspections at the Haifa port (none at Ashdod) and I believe they were all self-packed and self-loaded containers.  Two were more of a random selections and the third, well, that made the headlines due to reasonable suspicion.   (We know the details of this shipment very well and it was one big ugly misunderstanding/mistake.)

If you have any questions about PBO boxe, please send us an email at AliyahLift@gmail.com

 

Mobile, Sitemap, Zopim and Search

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I love to improve things.  Mostly, I love to improve systems.  I guess that’s one good reason why Aliyah Lift Shipping is here – I wanted to improve the shipping system.  Well, that and because I love to help people.

This post is a little self-indulgent as it’s about what we’ve done over the years to make AliyahLift.com a great source of shipping information, giving our customers confidence and security – and that’s OK, right?

Since we started in 2008 our website has gone through two major reworkings and a fine-tuning just about every year during the slow season.  

Why all the work?  

Because we want to provide clear information in an ascetically pleasing format.   In fact, I think we have done more to provide the best in website information then other in our market.

Here’s a list of our internet improvements:

Zopim.  Our first technological jump that we did before anybody else was Zopim – that little orange, “click to chat” balloon in the lower right corner.

Mobile.  A couple years ago we made a mobile website.  It wasn’t fancy but I heard it was important as mobile internet was gaining in popularity, plus search engines like them (or so I have been told).

WordPress.  About two years ago we switched to a WordPress platform website and, although it was hard work to start with, we think the change was positive and are loving the client functionality.

Cloud-Based Operations Software.  Although not website-based, we shifted more of our operations to the cloud.  We have cloud based accounting software which allows clients to pay with credit card directly, plus it looks great on a tablet or phone.  Also, we use Tinderbox for our online proposal software, allowing us to provide more great information to our customers, clearly and professionally.

Blog.  There is a lot of great information I want to share but cannot find a way to put it in the website, so our blog is the solution.

WP Plugins.  Taking the advice of my good friend in the SEO industry, we installed a “Request a Quote” hovering tab on the right side of the screen.  Plus, we are always looking at other intuitive plugins to make your time on our website all the more productive and enjoyable.

Sitemap.  The latest in our website advancements is for the vision impaired, and that’s a Sitemap webpage.  I recently learned the blind/vision impaired rely upon the Sitemap page for website navigation.  It’s not likely we’ll have many vision impaired people on our website, but at least if they come, it will be easy for them to learn about shipping.

If you have any suggestions on how to better improve our website or our operations, please let us know.

Here’s something really fun – the progressions of AliyahLift.com over the years.

From oldest to newest : January 2009 (http://bit.ly/254OO6H), January 2012 (http://bit.ly/1pMdL6K), August 2014 (http://bit.ly/22n5LH8).

You can look at other websites in recent history at the Wayback Machine website > http://archive.org/web/

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Our beloved boxes from our previous website.

Pie Chart for Pi Day

Since it’s Pi Day (March 14th — 3.14, get it?) it only seems appropriate to post a shipping pie chart, right?

This pie chart is for a 20′ container with a residential live load in a local NY neighborhood.  (A “live load” is when the driver waits in the truck while the container is being loaded.)

Even though I have been in the business for years now it never seems to amaze me how much of the pie is for trucking.

Why is trucking so expensive?  

Well, it’s not always and it depends on the area.  For example, recently we did a live load in Dallas and it was cheaper then this proposed live load in NY.  Remember, Dallas is HOURS away from the port in Houston…

Here’s how the trucking rates add up — base rate x fuel surcharge + residential charge* ($100-$175) + chassis split ($75-$100) + chassis rental ($30 per day) + 2 additional hours of driver detention ($60-$80 per hour) + any other toll roads or potential port congestion charges.

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* Trucking companies have increasingly eliminated residential work since the risks can out weight the profits.   In some cities there’s only one or two trucking companies to work with.

Finding Gratitude in Shipping

CaptureThere is a general rule — if you want to hide something special or important, put it in a place where nobody will look.  This is the relationship between gratitude and shipping!

People dread going through their homes deciding what to take, and, what not to take.  For an older family it can take weeks and even months to get ready for their packing day.

Why not take this time and utilize it to its fullest?

When going through your home and figuring out what to ship, take note of an item and think about how you got it & how it’s helped you.  Once you’ve come to a higher-level of realization and appreciation for the item, thank G-d with words because — He gave it to you.

If Perkei Avot tells us that a “wise person” is somebody who is “happy with what he has“, then you will be a super-genius at the end of your aliyah preparations!

Security with Sanity

SurveyThe general consensus with our customers is that doing the insurance is the worst thing about shipping.  Think about it — you have to record, as accurately as possible, everything in your home, and assign replacement values!

We at Aliyah Lift Shipping suggest the following approach to get maximum security while maintaining your sanity.  We call it the “Large-Medium-Small Attack Plan“.

  1. Large.  Start with large items like furniture/appliances and high valued items in each room.  On your application, record the quantity of each item and the value per item.  Do this room-by-room, but remember, focus on large and valuable first.
  2. Medium.  Once you have all the large and high-value items accounted for, start on smaller, lower-valued goods – like lamps, rugs, folding chairs, etc.   Again, going room-by-room, record the quantity of each item and the value per item.
  3. Small.  Next, going room-by-room, work on the smaller and more voluminous items in your home — books, clothes, lines, dishes, etc.   This is definitely the most tedious part, so you might want to spread it out over a few days.

IMPORTANT : If you have similar items but with very different values like paperbacks & hardcover or Lennox & melamine or crystal wine goblets & simple glass cups — insure these separately because the values are different.

The general rule is – the more detailed and exact your inventory, the better your coverage is.

 

 

 

 

You never know….

Rocket-Man-Werner-Von-Braun1-479x369In the shipping business you never know who you are working with — until they tell you a little bit about themselves.

Over the years we’ve had the honor or working with a wide variety of amazing personality. (Out of respect, I will not include their names.)

Two of my favorites were refuseniks.  One was a mathematician who compiled advanced math calculations for treating cancer patients and the other worked in the Bell Labs years ago developing the mobile phone! Their stories and their passion for Israel were amazing and would make great biographies (hint, hint).

One person who I am really relieved that we didn’t ship was an investment/market specialist – a TV personality too! We sensed trouble and withdrew our proposal. He had a “staff of X number of lawyers”, and threaten to sue us for not shipping his stuff… Eeeck, what a mess! I believe G-d gives us “gut instincts” for a reason.

We’ve shipped a rocket scientist, an arak craftsman/manufacturer, a top level US Govt internet security professional, rabbis and a gadol (twice) and lots and lots of good, brave people/families, motivated by a strong sense of idealism and, maybe even a touch of craziness.

Seriously though, it’s great working with singles and families with this part of their aliyah. Shipping is a daunting experience for almost everybody, but we do what we can to walk them through it with confidence, security and peace of mind.