Lawrence and I have just celebrated five years in Israel. It has been a wonderful experience integrating ourselves into Israeli society. We have made so many friends we feel as if we have known them all our lives. Our social life is one long whirl. Having lived and worked in Manchester all our lives, we wondered how we would fill our days. We need not have worried; we hardly have enough time to do all that we want to do. We love to go down to the beach (not something we could do in Manchester) and sit and read or go for a walk.
We have become very involved with ESRA, which gives structure to our week. ESRA keeps us very busy and we have met many interesting people along the way. Lawrence organizes the monthly hikes and I am the coordinator both for the ESRA Befrienders and the branches of the central region. We organize a walking bus for the children of Ariel school each morning and have lots of fun with the kids – a great way to start our day.
My mother, who also made aliyah at the same time, celebrated her 91st birthday in November. She attends a day center five days a week in Raanana. She is picked up every morning at 8 a.m.by a mini bus. At the center, she starts her day with a communal breakfast and continues with numerous activities, including arts and crafts, listening to music and lectures, doing physical therapy, playing cards, and watching movies. I have also organized, through the ESRA Befrienders, a number of volunteers who visit the center and speak to the English group about current affairs and anything else they want to talk about. At 12:30 a delicious lunch is served and the mini bus takes everyone home.
The day center is situated on Hahagana Street and is the most wonderful place. Run by a team of dedicated and patient caregivers and social workers, over 220 people from 13 different countries are registered, of which100 people attend daily. At the end of every month, they celebrate that month's birthdays, serving delicious pastries, and dance and sing together. All their families are invited.
Without the day center, my mother would never have settled so well in Israel. Well done to everyone at the day center. I cannot thank you all enough.
Anyone interested in attending the center should call 09-771-1598 and speak to Billy (who speaks great English).