A Guide to Birth in Jerusalem: The deals, The clothes, The bureaucracy
I was always so terrified to give birth. But had someone told me about all the free crap you get, I might not have been so scared. I’m just saying that there is light at the end of the tunnel (which tunnel…), and freebies are an awesome way to make the pain feel a little less painful in the days after birth.
The Big Felafel ladies gave birth just two weeks apart and through our experiences we would now like to share our knowledge of free stuff, cheap baby stores and paperwork with you. Save this list and save your time and money.
1. Money from the great State of Israel
When you give birth in any hospital in the state of Israel you are supposed to register your child and receive an Identification Number (Teduat Zehuot) as well as a little monetary gift of about NIS 1600 (if you have twins it is way more so keep that in mind), known as a birth grant. You should also receive a small monthly supplement thereafter, so make sure to fill out the paper work and give them your bank info.
2. Treats in the Hospital
As well as the free oh-so delicious meals you will have during your recuperation period in the hospital, you will also find that there are random women distributing gifts for your newborn. While in the hospital you may receive diapers, fresh wipes, breast pads and even a pacifier. Just realize that these gifts may come to haunt you as they will most likely get your home address and start sending you all kinds of stuff. I receive some kind of coupon or baby magazine every week (a nice change from the bills, but annoying just the same).
3. Betuach Leumi, National Health Insurance Pays Too!
That’s right, if you are a working expecting mother then make sure to collect your $200 after passing go. That is to say, that after you give birth you are entitled to 14-weeks paid maternity leave. My advice is to make sure you collect the past 10-months of pay-statements before leaving your job because you may need them when filling out paper work. The paper work will either be sent to you by your employer or you can get it at Betuach Leumi. It is pretty simple to fill out and your employer will also need to file. You can submit your paperwork at any time but it takes about a month for the money to be posted to your account so keep that in mind. The payment is supposed to be based on an average of the last three months you worked, so make sure to do your overtime if you can. Also, another tip here is to go to Betuach Leumi during afternoon hours when they are empty and more friendly since they are about to go home. One woman even let me breastfeed in their private kitchenette. I even started a trend when another nursing lady followed me in to the room. For more info from Betuach Leumi, check out their website.
4. Misrad Hapnim, Ministry of Interior, Make it Official
As I stated above, when you are in the hospital you should get an ID number for your child which will help when you need to get their passport. If you don’t fill out the paperwork there, don’t worry, you can always go to the Ministry of Interior to do the paperwork. If you go, again I recommend going during afternoon hours when it is less crowded. You will need to bring your baby’s paperwork from the hospital and the correct size passport photos (you can get them done anywhere) as well as the baby to prove that it is the same kid in the pictures. My advice here is to register the child’s birth and get their Israeli Passport at the same time, why go back twice? For more info.
5. SuperPharm cares
It was all worth it – the contractions, the pushing, and the no-sleeping! Your reward, besides your beautiful little one, is a sweet gift from SuperPharm. The only requirement is that you gave birth at Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem, and you have 3 months from the birth to claim the gift. You need to bring the baby’s birth certificate or the pre-birth certificate document from the hospital.
We’re announcing it here on The Big Felafel so everyone will know about this well-kept secret.
For 10 shekels, you can get a package that includes:
- Huggies diapers – size 2
- snacks – granola bar and fitness cereal
- Similac Advanced
- activity book for you baby to look at
- Johnson&Johnson shampoo
- bottle of water
- nursing pads
6. Clothing Your Tiny Baby
I’m sure you will get a lot of adorable clothes as presents for the celebration of your child, but your kid is bound to poop through most of them and leave you wandering the streets for just one more onesie. Or, they may just grow right out of them and you will continually need to buy the next size up. In any case there are plenty of cheap stores where you can find the right size at a decent price.
Bazaar Strauss, with branches at Yad Harutzim 22, Beit Hadfus in Givat Shaul, and Pisgat Ze’ev, has a wide selection of cheap outfits from winter gear to summer swimsuits, as well as a variety of baby stuff like bottles to cribs. Located on street level this is an easy place to shop and spend a little money that goes a long way. For me this store is as close as I feel I can get to Target, so I try to enjoy my time as well as my purchases.
Here are some of our favorite deals:
6 shekel onesies
3 for 50 Pampers diapers
40 shekel snowsuits
10 shekel tablecloths and pillowcases
5 shekel hand sanitizers
In the adjacent area to the Bazaar Strauss in Talpiot, you will also find Doctor Baby and Shilav, both located in Ahim Israel mall. Of course the prices won’t compare to Strauss but it is always good to know they are there (Baby Michelle is also near by, across from the Hadar Mall on Pierre Koening).
Another great find is Kish Kush, a new store located in Lev Talpiot mall near the Rav Chen Movie Theater in the heart of Talpiot. This store has only been open for four months, but with their dirt cheap prices for American brand clothing (Carter’s etc.) they’ll probably be around for a while. From preemie baby clothes, the prices start at NIS 15! So let that baby ruin an outfit or two because it barely cost you anything! Located in the same mini-mall on the floor above is Motzetzim which also has fairly priced clothes and toys and is a huge store. And there is always Rami Levy conveniently located in the same mini-mall, which is one of the cheapest supermarkets in the country and naturally sells a small selection of baby clothes.
Got another great tip? Share it with us in the comments section!