Once a person makes Aliya, they are not entitled to an Israeli passport for a period of one year. Instead, when someone needs to leave Israel, they must apply for and receive a document called a Teudat Ma'avar. It looks identical to a passport, but it is not a passport. It functions exactly like a passport...but it is not a passport. So, you may ask, why give a Teudat Ma'avar instead of a passport, if indeed they function the same way. The answer to that question is very deep....I JUST DON'T KNOW.
But, since my job will eventually require me to go to Chutz La'Aretz, I figured it would be a good idea to get that taken care of and not wait until the last minute. Besides, who knows how long it would take to get the actual pseudo-passport? Well, the answer to THAT question, I DO know...it takes about THREE MINUTES!! I went to the Misrad HaPnim (Ministry of the Interior) branch office right here in Maale Adumim. I brought all the documentation and money; handed everything in, and in a matter of three whole minutes, I walked out with this passport-wannabe! I was shocked it went so smoothly and so efficiently. As I turned to leave, I opened it up and I got a little choked up. Under the title "Nationality" was the word ISRAELI. It truly was a very special moment for me.