Life in Ra’anana: A breath of fresh air

I hear people talk about Ra’anana as being a “soft landing” for many olim. For me, this turned out to be true.

Ra’anana Park (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ra’anana Park
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
I think I love to write because I consider myself a storyteller. Whether I am writing professionally, socially or personally, I’m always telling a story.
I consider the act of storytelling a central part of who we are. Stories help make sense of our world and our place in it and we define ourselves by a story within time.
We create stories verbally, oral and written, and non-verbally, through movement/dance, visual symbols and signs/visual arts, and sound making/music. Where there is life in any form, there is communication.
But only humans tell stories.
One of the reasons only humans tell stories is that only humans ask why? All animals can ask the following questions: What (identifying/recognizing) – was that sound? Where (direction/location) – do I go for shelter? When (time) – do I go to find a mate? Who (other) – do I choose to fight? Which (selection) – is my pack? How (action) – will my cub get food? Only humans ask why – from infancy to our last breath.
My life has been shaped and influenced by two very important storytellers – my late father and my late mother. Their styles could not be more different, my father Joseph, outgoing, flamboyant, dramatic, and witty, and my mother Ida, quiet, soft-spoken, and shy.
Yet both storytellers were “telling” the same story – the story of survival. Theirs is a personal story of survival, how individuals through oppressive and dangerous times did what they needed to do to overcome and continue to exist; how they individually made their way to Israel after World War II, got married here and created a family, a future.
Fast forward to Ra’anana, 2018, where I now live. My story is related to place; not who I am but where I am. So, allow me to map out my journey and how I came to be living in Ra’anana and, in this way, to be answering that human question, why? I was born in Israel of Romanian parents. At the age of six, because of my mother’s medical needs, my family moved to Montreal.
I studied as a young adult in Philadelphia and moved back to Canada, but this time to Toronto.
In 2009, I made aliya to Ra’anana. I chose to make aliya, but Ra’anana was the place where the family chose to live. Yet, over the years, I have chosen to stay here.
Why Ra’anana? I love Israel and every nook and cranny of it – each dynamic life force, her beauty and mysticism, her history and modernity, and all the diversity and contrast that can be experienced with every step.
After making the commitment to living in Israel, I then had to see where I can fulfil that commitment to the best of my ability. All of the areas and places throughout the country answer a different need for me. Ra’anana seems to give me the “breather” I need from those experiences.
For me, living in Ra’anana means living in a community which is the least challenging (read “stressful”) of all the other communities in the country. The beauty of it all is that I can access any other place at any time (I apologize ahead of time for the oversimplification), be it the south and its qualities expressed so beautifully by David Ben-Gurion, the north and its temperament, the city of Safed and its unique energy, the intensity of Jerusalem, or the epitome of the Western culture of Tel Aviv. They are available to me, to experience and to breathe in when I need that form of oxygen. But, at the end of the day, I come home to Ra’anana and feel my system settle.
I love the fact that there is such a variety of flora and fauna, and fruit trees here. I love the fact that I can walk the city and bump into people I know. I love hearing the different languages of the olim (immigrants). After living in huge North American cities, I like that Ra’anana is not too big, not too small, but just right. At the same time, I appreciate seeing Ra’anana growing and developing.
As someone who hates flying in turbulence, I cope with that discomfort by anticipating a safe landing. I hear people talk about Ra’anana as being a “soft landing” for many olim. For me, this turned out to be true. 
Sara Jacobovici is a veteran of over 30 years in the health and mental health fields as a Creative Arts psychotherapist, who lives and works in Ra’anana.