Shayna Abramson

#HUJIFail — an Aliyah Story

Every so often, an article will come out that tries to engage in an economic cost-benefit analysis of aliyah. But because individual and family finances vary so widely, it’s arguable how applicable these articles are. However, after five years in this country, I can tell you of one resource you must be willing to invest: time.

I’m not just referring to the time it takes to find a job, or to make friends, but also to the time it takes to visit various bureaucratic offices. Nowhere is this more evident in my Hebrew University (a.k.a. HUJI) experience:

After taking a break due to medical reasons, I was finally ready to re-enroll. I came to campus before class enrollment opened, to make sure I’d be able to do so, and was given the go-ahead by the Political Science department. But when enrollment day came, I found the system wouldn’t let me. It turned out I had a pre-requisite from a different degree program I was no longer enrolled in, and the system wouldn’t let me enroll in any class, from any program, as long as that pre-requisite was standing. So I contacted the program and asked them to remove my pre-requisite from the system. They promised to do so.

The next day, I suddenly was locked out of all Hebrew University systems. I couldn’t log in to the personal information page, or to the enrollment website, or to my university email.

So I went in person to the enrollment office, which is only open for two hours a day, to clear things up. I was informed that I now appeared in all systems as an alumni, instead of a student, which meant I was locked out of all student systems — like the enrollment website and student email. Nobody knew why this had happened. I was told that the only way to fix it was by enrolling in classes in person, which could be done at the Political Science office.

So I went to Political Science. First of all, it turned out that the pre-requisite from a different department still hadn’t been removed, so I went to a different office, got the pre-requisite removed, and came back. Then I told the Political Science secretary what the enrollment office had said. She was baffled. She’d never heard of such a situation, and I had student status according to Political Science department records. Also, although the Political Science department could start the course enrollment process, my class registration wouldn’t be final until I authorized it online, using the website that I was told I’d only have access to once I was officially registered for classes.

The Political Science secretary, Moran, was amazing. She spent an hour on the phone, talking to four different offices, each of which had a different reason and no solution for my predicament. Finally, I was given a course enrollment form to print, sign, scan, and send to the Political Science department for approval.

Earlier today, I got the good news: I’m officially registered for Political Science courses. I also got the bad news: My status still hasn’t been changed from alumni to student, so I’m still locked out of all Hebrew University electronic systems. I tried calling the enrollment office, but even though it says to press 2 to speak to a real person, all it provides is a recorded message, before hanging up on me. This means that I’ll probably have to go back to the enrollment office later this week, being careful to show up during the two-hour window, in order to pressure them into changing my status. Until then, I can’t access the website where professors post reading material and assignments.

That’s what you have to be ready for when you make aliyah; that’s my #HUJIFail story.

What’s yours?

About the Author
Shayna Abramson, a part-Brazilian native Manhattanite, studied History and Jewish Studies at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Jerusalem. She has also spent some time studying Torah at the Drisha Institute in Manhattan, and has a passion for soccer and poetry. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Political Science from Hebrew University, and is a rabbinic fellow at Beit Midrash Har'el.