In recent years, increasing numbers of elderly people have immigrated to Israel. Some arrive after retirement for ideological Zionist reasons and are thus fulfilling a lifelong dream; others are following children who have settled and built their own families here. Still others make the move after experiencing anti-Semitic incidents or because of deteriorating political and/or economic conditions in their lands of origin. An example of the latter is the community of French Jews, many of whom – including retirees and the elderly – are flocking to Israel.
Elderly new immigrants have an urgent need to ease their loneliness and occupy their time with stimulating pastimes and physical activities adapted to their particular state of health – essentially the same basic needs as those of all retirees and elderly people. Social and physical activities have many health advantages: they enhance both mental and physical health and delay the onset of decreased brain function.
Existing senior citizen centers usually cater to long-time residents of Israel and their programming does not meet the special needs of new immigrants who also require a supportive community of others who have dealt with similar challenges to help with their integration.
Elderly new immigrants from France living in and around Beit Shemesh.
This project will provide elderly new immigrants with a series of gym classes, social bonding activities, workshops to enhance various skills, and lectures to help with their integration. The project is tailored to new immigrants with a special emphasis on maintaining good health.
Meetings will take place twice a week at the G’vanim Community Center in Ramat Beit Shemesh.