Again, Alone in Haifa Israel.

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By Sharon Amov and Earl Shugerman: Sharon is an eighty six year old widow and recent immigrant to Israel. I immigrated to Israel at the age of fifty nine alone as well. She is from California. My home was in Colorado. Below Sharon tells her story.

My dear husband died a few years ago. I was desolate. The loneliness was overwhelming. I missed him terribly. For many years I struggled to regain my balance, and then I decided to move to Israel, to live near my daughter and family. They made aliyah or immigration to eretz Israel fifteen years ago.

I remember my flight to Israel, peering out of the airplane window, viewing the outline of Israel’s shoreline. Many people in the plane were clapping as we approached the landing field. My response was a combination of quiet joy and apprehension.

“What will it be like to actually LIVE in Israel” I thought to myself? I have visited my daughter and my family s often, but always with my husband. To reside alone in Israel….although I had made the decision seemed absolutely unreal to me.

Southern California was my home since birth. I was eighty-four years of age and frightened. Terrified might be a better description.

My daughter and son-in-law would be waiting for me in the public area. I picked up my luggage and off I went to my uncertain future.

There she was, my one and only daughter….waving at me, all smiles. Perhaps she expected me to be exactly as she had last seen me, a year or so ago. And I expected her to be as I had last seen her. Oh our expectations–how very difficult, if not impossible to meet.

How unprepared I was for the depth of pain, separation from relatives in the United States, and lifetime friends, along with familiar voices and places. I missed the beautiful beaches, the familiar shopping malls, and even the traffic jams at rush hour.

We manage to arrive at the car in the airport parking lot, numb with our own overwhelming feelings. We drove to the nice little house that my daughter and son-in-law had prepared for my arrival. The physical work of making a house into a home ahead lay ahead of me. The mental and emotional work would be a daily project.

I plopped right down in the middle of relationships and lives that have been going on without me for fifteen years. I knew that my main priority would be to keep myself separate and still stay close to my loved ones. How very difficult that is especially in a new homeland.

We went for a drive, to once again see the lovely Israeli countryside. I lost my way in the twisting roads, unfamiliar buildings and lush green fields. The people seemed helpful but not overly friendly.

We returned ‘HOME’. I sat alone and the enormity of my move to Israel engulfed me. How would I find a comfortable place within my family again? How would I make new friends, develop interests and start anew at my ageWell, we shall see what the future shall bring.

However, in the meantime, here I am again, alone.


The Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel.

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English speaking Olim have a myriad of organisations and groups to support their new life in Israel. The largest private organisation that supports all English speaking Olim is the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel). It has offices throughout Israel. Twenty five thousand English speaking Israelis belong to this wonderful organization.

The author of this article is especially appreciative of the AACI’s sterling work. The efforts of Yanina Muskinow their representative for the north proved invaluable during my acclimation. AACI, a voluntary, non-profit organization, was established in 1951 to help North American immigrants acclimate to Israeli society and to build strong ties between North American Jewish communities and Israel. AACI is governed by a lay board and administered by a professional staff. Its many activities are financed through the support of foundations, annual membership dues, an annual fundraising drive and private donations.

AACI provides a wealth of services and programs to cater for its membership:

  • Professional counseling on Aliyah and Klitah (absorption)
  • Employment Resource Center
  • Emergency, mortgage and small business loans
  • Support groups
  • Advice Sessions: tax, banking, translation and more
  • Legal consultations
  • Blood bank privileges
  • The AACI Cohen Library for the Visually Impaired
  • Senior Outreach

AACI Acts can move mountains when its members’ welfare is at stake.
AACI Acts:

  • Lobbied successfully to modify the effect of new Israeli tax laws on immigrants;
  • Produced and distributed a free Emergency Handbook and held gas mask demonstrations prior to and during the Gulf War;
  • Confronted the social, economic and psychological pressures affecting its membership through the Seniors Outreach Project.
  • AACI Community offers a warm and welcoming environment, with special programs targeting families, young adults, mid-lifers and seniors.   Members participate in:
    • Welcome Home events for new olim (immigrants)
    • Home Hospitality
    • 4th of July/Canada Day & Thanksgiving Celebrations
    • AACI Travel Experience & Study Vacations
    • Social and Cultural Programs,
    • Lectures and more including (our new Writers’ Group?)

The challenges of immigrating to this amazing and complicated nation have been overwhelming to me at times. I have often said to myself should I return to my native United States? There is a new language to learn, a diverse and complicated culture to understand and sadly ongoing security threats from within and our neighbors. Yet, I am still here six years later thanks in great part to the support of my friends at AACI

They even honored me by choosing me as their volunteer of the year in Northern Israel this year.