Nefesh b’Nefesh have expanded the “Go North” region to include Haifa and its “krayot” – a bunch of suburbs that are all called “Kiryat” Something (= Something-town).
And although we were planning to go straight to the Merkaz Klitah (absorption centre) in Karmiel, at the last minute, we were offered a place in the Merkaz Klitah in Kiryat Yam, one of these krayot. And while the Karmiel MK offered us only a couple of weeks – eek! during which time we’d have to scramble to find a home – the one in Kiryat Yam has said we could stay longer; from 2 to 5 months.
Actually, to be very honest, these events happened in the reverse order: we were offered the place in Kiryat Yam, we considered it (and checked with Nefesh b’Nefesh to be sure!) and ultimately said no because it wasn’t in the Go North region. Then I got an email saying they had expanded the Go North region, so I emailed the Jewish Agency back saying, “yes, please!” to Kiryat Yam.
- It’s not Karmiel, and it’s not a town we would probably consider living in.
- No religious schools nearby – the kids will have to travel daily to Kiryat Shmuel, another of the krayot, about 20-30 minutes’ walk away.
- Not our ultimate destination – this will probably mean transferring schools mid-year.
- Ulpan onsite – however, they only offer level alef (the first level), so I may have to travel to another ulpan, unless I am also at the alef level, which may indeed be the case. I’m not saying my Hebrew is so great, just that it’s better than Ted’s, so if he’s alef… well, maybe I’m alef-and-a-half.
- Other resources onsite - and hopefully, assistance with some of the mundanities of day-to-day life
- Reduced rent – the downside of this is losing part of the first-year rent subsidy that is part of your sal haklitah (immigrant benefits)
- Meeting other immigrants – the downside of this is that, from what I understand, most of the olim here are from Ethiopia, which isn’t a downside in and of itself, simply that they will have had a very different experience from ours.
- The train! Is nearby! I love this one. Easy to get to Yerushalayim and other parts of the country, easy for Elisheva and others to find us.
- The city! Is nearby! I love this, too. I am a city girl, through and through, and I’ve been sad about leaving big city life behind. Haifa isn’t Toronto, and Kiryat Yam isn’t Haifa, but it’s a whole lot more exiting than most of the small towns in Northern Israel. Not saying I don’t still want to end up there, but there it is... while we’re getting our sea legs, it may be reassuring.
- Employment - shamefully, I forgot to mention this when I first posted last night. Parnassah (earning a living) is important. No matter where we end up living in the north, Haifa is a centre of employment and it will be handy to be there for a number of reasons.
(downtown Haifa at night)
Here’s a view of the Merkaz Klitah from a distance:
It’s right on the Mediterranean, which sounds pretty deluxe to my Canadian ears, but I’ve heard that Kiryat Yam is the most run-down of the krayot. Also, nothing about life in a merkaz klitah is “deluxe” anything.
And finally, “situated right on the Mediterranean” means that the air will contain a shockingly high percentage of that healthful Mediterranean water – exactly the kind of humidity I had hoped to avoid. (Right now, the temperatures are in the high 20s, with a humidity around 60-some-odd percent.)
Still – we think and hope and pray that it will be a good thing.
The view next door (beyond the palm trees is the Mediterranean):
Meanwhile, looking up the Merkaz Klitah in Google StreetView, I happened to notice a little drama playing out in front of the main gate…
These people are getting out of some sort of car with a shopping cart full of suitcases – all their earthly possessions, or at least, whatever didn’t fit into their lift.
Cruising slowly past on the Google camera-car…
I don’t know who these people are, and this little drama played itself out, according to Google, in October 2011. I hope by now he/she/they have found a happy “forever home” in the holy land.
Im yirtzeh Hashem by us!