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Life After Aliyah

The conference "Life after Aliyah - Research Results & Expert Discussants" was held on December 18 2017 at Campus HaNamal in downtown Haifa.  Representatives from three non-profit organizations (i.e. Telfed, Nefesh B'Nefesh and AACI) and the University of Haifa discussed contributors and barriers to life satisfaction among English-speaking Olim. 

This conference, sponsored by the University of Haifa, marked the culmination of the research project on life satisfaction among English-speaking Olim, which was conducted by the research team of Prof Cheryl Zlotnick, Dr. Laura Dryjanska and Mrs. Suzanne Suckerman (Dr. Dryjanska, who is an Assistant Professor in Biola University – California, listened to the conference through Skype).  The study consisted of results on 641 Olim from Canada, South Africa, the UK and the US who responded to an online questionnaire posted on the website, www.Anglo-List.com, the Aliyah and Israel lifestyle website founded and operated by Mrs. Suzanne Suckerman.  This study compared a variety of demographic and other characteristics of Olim from the four English-speaking countries (i.e., Canada, South Africa, the UK and the US).  Although there were differences by country, the researchers found that the two most important factors contributing to life satisfaction were being in good health and having realistic expectations.  Realistic expectations meant that the Oleh's social situation, economic situation and overall life style was proceeding as the Oleh had expected.

         

The nonprofit organizations provided a context to the research findings.  Ms. Yanina Musnikow MSW represented AACI. She said that she works with Canadian and US Olim, as well as Olim from a variety of countries with Aliyah-related stresses.  Yanina noted that one’s age when making Aliyah presents different challenges and advantages.  For example, single individuals over 40, especially those expecting to work, struggle with learning the Hebrew language and finding jobs meeting their expectations.  Rabbi Dorron Kline from Telfed described the South African Olim with whom he works.  He gave the audience the context of the luxury and upper income lifestyles that existed in South Africa, which contrasted sharply with the lifestyles South Africans encountered in Israel.  A particular issue among South African retirees was the dramatic devaluation of the Rand resulting in pension income that barely covered rent.  Rabbi Kline described the wide array of resources that Telfed used to help Olim from South Africa. Dr. Adina Schwartz represented Nefesh B'Nefesh.  Considering the unique challenges of Olim, she described the efforts that NBN makes to prepare them for Aliyah and to support them when they arrive. 

Mr. Gershom Lichtenberg, volunteer and helper of Olim in Haifa, facilitated the lively discussion with questions and comments on the research and on the activities of the non-profit organizations.

Written by:

Prof. Cheryl Zlotnick
Head, International Study Abroad Program in Nursing
Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences
University of Haifa

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