Earl Shugerman’s Corner: Hannah’s Aliyah to Israel


Earl Shugerman brings every week a serie of stories about Anglo-Saxon immigrants to Israel. This project is aimed to promote a more realistic view of life in Israel.

Aliyah is the word that describes the return of the Jewish People from the exile in the Diaspora back to the Land of Israel. The word Aliyah is derived from the verb “laalot” which means “to go up”, or “to ascend” in a positive spiritual sense. A person who makes Aliyah is called an Oleh, meaning “one who goes up”. Making Aliyah heralds a new dawn. People redefine their aspirations and focus on a positive future. Finding a meaningful and loving relationship is an inherent feature of Israeli culture. As Hannah discovered, help was close at hand.

When I came to Haifa for a family Seder in 2006, I decided I could retire here.  I had wanted to retire for some time but didn’t know where.  I had lived in Massachusetts for 28 years but couldn’t imagine spending my winters there as a retiree.  When I got to Haifa, a very big light bulb came on!

I had a very good life in the States but there was one goal I hadn’t been able to reach.  I wanted to meet a kind, intelligent, sexy, fun Jewish male around my age and for years I put this goal on my “top goals list” but never reached it.

When I got to Haifa, one of the first things I did was to attend services at Or Hadash, a reform synagogue in my neighbourhood.  I met a very kind Israeli woman called Pnina there and she made me feel very welcome and introduced me to many members of the congregation. I immediately felt very comfortable and “at home” and Or Hadash became my shul.

One day Pnina and I were looking over at the male congregation and every man I asked about was married. She asked me if I wanted to meet someone and I said yes.  She arranged for me to meet the father of one of her friends – an Australian widower, a year older than me. We had a blind date and continued seeing each other on an irregular basis. After seven months of getting to know each other, we began a more serious relationship and now, just over a year later, we are very happy doing many things together. He has introduced me to his children and grandchildren and has met my mother, sister, brother-in-law and various friends. In October we are planning to travel to Australia together to welcome his son’s first child there.

I was already enjoying my Aliyah here and meeting Shmuel was the “icing on the cake.” 

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