Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Saved by the Jewish Agency’s Incompetence

So I was going blog about how committed to Aliyah I am that I’m not going to let any excuses prevent me from going through with it. I was going to blog about how I met my Shaliach yesterday. I was going to blog about how I haven’t had any really important meetings at work in weeks. And how leaving work a little early should be fine. And how once again Murphy strikes!

So of all the days of the week and all the times during the day, naturally I find an invitation sitting in my e-mail box to an important meeting scheduled - precisely to the minute - at the exact same time I was due to meet my Shliach! What’s more? The Vice President personally comes over to me and says “So, we’re going to see you there right?”

No. No. No. I’m opening my tik Aliyah and nothing is going to stop me – I can’t keep pushing this off!

“It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to make it – but I’ll get a co-worker to fill in for me.”
(Needless to say he didn’t look too thrilled – the VP and the Co-worker that is.)

But what was I worried about?

On Tuesday morning I came to work late because of my cousin’s Bris. (They named him Shmuel.) Borach Hashem for that! Because as I stopped by the house before leaving for work – someone was leaving a message on the answering machine. This was Yad Hashem yet again – because if I didn’t hear it I would never have checked the machine.

The message went something like this:

“This is your Shliach. We will not be meeting today at 3. We will be meeting tomorrow at 3. Call us if you have a problem with that.”

Well I sure scored points with the VP. “I made sure to clear everything up, so I could make this meeting.”

Now – some people might think I do a lot of Jewish Agency bashing on this blog. This is not true! I’ll be the fist to tell you the JA is very important and I have even have friends that work and worked there. But I’m also realistic. I have heard too many horror stories about dealing with them. Perhaps the only way to successfully deal with them is to lower your expectations so much that when the smallest thing goes right you’re impressed.

But pure “JA bashing” gets us nowhere. And so I will make every effort to provide constructive criticism. In fact I heard the JA is very interested in serving the public better and is actively seeking feedback. So here goes.

Rule 1: Do not cancel an appointment without giving at least 24-hour notice.

A 10AM phone call canceling a 3PM appointment is inconsiderate and simply unacceptable by American standards. (Yes, I know it is normal in Israel. But maybe we American Olim can change that.)

Rule 2: Sometimes emergencies do come up and there is no choice but to cancel the same day. But do it politely. And why is an apology so unheard of in Israel?

Instead of just saying “We will not be meeting today at 3.”

How about trying:

“I’m really sorry but something came up and I have the cancel our appointment today. Again I’m sorry about the last minute notice. I’ve rescheduled this for the same time tomorrow. I hope that works for you, but if not please call me and we’ll work out a good time. Thanks!”

I think this “American manners” attitude could really go a long way in changing the public’s perception of the Jewish Agency.

In any event as she said “We will be meeting tomorrow [that’s today!] at 3.”

Wish me luck! (Maybe I should call to confirm before I leave.)


Blogger Zman Biur said...

I think it's important that the Jewish Agency gives you a taste of Israel before you're committed to the aliyah process. Consider it a courtesy!

2:33 AM  

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