21 November 2008

Tel Aviv: Staying connected

Just a note to let readers know why Tracing the Tribe has been quiet for about a week.

My husband was in Tel Aviv Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) and we all know that family and health take precedence over blogging and other mundane tasks (I also missed several story deadlines). He's now at home, feeling better, and I'm plowing through 2,000+ emails and attempting to get some work done.

While medical care is excellent in Israel, hospital Internet connectivity doesn't really exist. Although the hospital has an efficient arrangement for renting televisions, modems are not part of their marketing plan - which is more than silly. When my husband was in the hospital last year, I asked the TV guy why they don't rent modems and he couldn't answer me.

Things have changed for the better - at least at Ichilov Hospital - and I am delighted and want to tell the world!

This past Wednesday, I was in the Weizman Mall, across from the hospital, when my husband called me from his floor lobby: "There's a young woman here working on a laptop and she's on the Internet." I replied that it was impossible to my knowledge. However, always the optimist, I asked him to inquire. Omer (one of those unisex Israeli names like Tal and Gal that can equally designate both males and females) said that modems and laptops were available for rent from a kiosk on the mall's second floor.

I immediately went upstairs and met the enterprising young Nir who rents laptops with and without modems or just the modems (unlimited or 10-gig modems run about $6/NIS 25 per day, about $37/NIS 150 per week; about $90/NIS 350 per month, depending on exchange rate), which run off his servers.

Open only about two months, he's just started advertising. What a great idea!

Even if patients cannot or don't want to use computers, they have many visitors who either want or need to stay connected. Many people stay overnight with loved ones, and the Internet is a great idea to fill those long hours.

I found out too late (we were coming home the next day), but I could have been online all week, answered email, met deadlines, blog posted, researched medical information, and stayed in contact with family and friends - all during my husband's frequent naps and my long quiet nights there. I hope we don't have to see the inside of the hospital for a long time to come, but if we do, we now know we can stay connected.

I did my part to let people know about Nir. I went to the information desk and asked the staffer how many people ask about Internet in the hospital. He said some two dozen people had asked just that day and he had to tell them there wasn't any way to connect except in the 12th floor library or in the mall across the street (MacDonald's is a hotspot, as is the Aroma coffeehouse). I gave him one of Nir's cards and he was happy that he could help people who asked.

Later in the day, I had to visit the hospital office, where patients and families also inquire about staying connected. They were also interested.

I would have been happy to pay $37 to stay connected during our week there! For more information, you can email Nir, and view the complete pricelist here (English/Hebrew). Just tell him where you read about it!

Most of the website is only in Hebrew, but does offer direct links to games, news, web search, email and more. I think I'll suggest he offer a page on Jewish genealogy links and resources!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Dear Schelly:

    I am so happy to hear that your husband is feeling better and hopefully on the way to a full recovery. My thoughts are with you always.

    Mark Halpern