New web site for Anglos hits the air

Website for Anglos launc 248.88 (photo credit: ) 248.88
(photo credit: )
Suzanne Suckerman had been living in Haifa for 20 years when the financial crisis pushed the American NGO she worked for "down the tube." "When that happened, I needed to think of something else," said Suckerman, who made aliya from Johannesburg in 1989. "The job market in Haifa is pretty crummy at the moment." Drawing on her 20 years of life after aliya, Suckerman began to develop, a guide for English-speakers in Haifa and around Israel. "I was on the South African welcoming committee for new immigrants in Haifa," Suckerman said. "I knew about all kinds of services available, and I realized that there was a need for some sort of synthesis of information that could give people practical ideas and tips about living in the city." Though the Anglo List, which has been up and running for a month, is geared towards new immigrants and prospective immigrants, the site serves all anglophones in Israel. "We're not just for olim, but for businessmen and tourists as well," Suckerman said. "I'm also working on sections for the Filipino community in Haifa as well as the Baha'i. It's a central source of real advice on how to do things and where to do them - things that took me 20 years to learn." The Anglo List, like other aliya Web sites connected to local Jewish federations, offers information about insurance, taxes and transportation, as well as a phonetic dictionary and a guide to Hebrew slang. But Suckerman believes her site has an edge over the "official" websites. "The Web sites from other aliya organizations can't advertise and they can't make recommendations," she said. "Because is a private Web site, we can do that. We give new olim an opportunity to advertise their services, which can be an employment opportunity as well, if they can't find work here." For now, the site is decidedly Haifa-centric - Israel's third-largest city is the only one with its own section on the Anglo List - and has been endorsed by Mayor Yona Yahav. "The information on this Web site will assist all the English-speaking communities in Haifa with their integration," Yahav wrote on the site. "Your full integration will further the prosperity, development and cultural aspects of the city, which will be of benefit to all of us." The Anglo List also contains a section for personal accounts, where olim can share their experiences. "It's a tremendous opportunity for people to participate and share with one another," Suckerman said. "It's a really important aspect of the site, because people around the country can see and draw inspiration or comfort from these stories. They realize that they're not alone in the world of aliya. It gives them a lot of hope for the future." Suckerman's hope for the future is to see the Anglo List expand far beyond Haifa. "I've found over the past month, based on the responses that I've gotten, that it can grow to cover information around the country," Suckerman said. "That's my long-term plan."