EARL SHUGERMAN'S CORNER:
The English speaking community of Haifa
Every week Earl Shugerman writes a series of stories about Anglo-Saxon immigrants to Israel. This project is aimed to promote a more realistic view of life in Israel. He asked me to contribute.
The Anglo-list – Aliyah Information Website
Suzanne Suckerman: I came to Israel from Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1989 just after I got married. My husband always wanted to live in Haifa. We were the only Anglo-Saxon couple our age and so socially it took a long time to fit in. It was mainly through my husband’s business that we began to meet the English speaking community and slowly acquire a social network. Immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia was at its peak and the Jewish Agency and other Aliyah organizations were concentrating on that. Support in Haifa, at that time, was scant and we were left to our own devices. Over the years we plodded along, slowly making our way. Our two children were born here and attend school here and it has been through them that we have learned a great deal. The education system, parenting, military service to name but a few are all so different in South Africa.
Haifa was recently chosen to absorb the new, large wave of English speaking immigrants coming to Israel. Over the past 2 years over 1000 English speakers have made Haifa their home and similar numbers will be arriving in the next few years. In the course of a conversation with an ex-colleague, I identified a need for a central source of practical information on life in Israel, specifically for the English speaking immigrant community. After some research I understood that a website was the way to go.
Haifa also attracts foreign students, businessmen, members of the Bahai faith as well as a contingency of foreign workers from the Philippines. In order to meet their specific needs and give support to these groups, I proceeded to set up a new information website called Anglo-list.com. This website is unique, and fulfills an important commercial and social function. We understand the English speaker’s needs, and this site has been designed, and will continue to evolve, to meet those needs. This Aliyah, business, consumer, entertainment and information website, gives practical information, advice and tips and covers such issues as the medical system in Israel, the education system, security issues, social services, entertainment as well as being a directory for government and official offices and Aliyah information.
From a community point of view, we have set up social networks on Facebook and Twitter and our membership is growing daily. We plan to hold social events and develop a support group. Readers are contributing their personal Aliyah stories, some humorous and some serious. The community relates strongly to this, they are inspired and comforted from other peoples experiences.
We also now have the strength to request that provision be made for the English speaker from companies and organizations
Potential immigrants are using the site to make crucial decisions about their future. The large Bahai community in and the Filipinos, also have access to the site and we are working on incorporating information for them as well.
On a professional level we have a list of service providers. A condition for advertising on this site is being able to provide service in English. Various organizations are advertising on the site and have contributed information and articles on their specific service – special education, small business development (MATI) and student bodies to name but a few.
It is our plan to enlarge the site and incorporate the entire country – and our vision to turn this site into the premier English site for English speakers in Israel will become a reality.