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The Shulamit Hotel, Life in a Haifa Suburb

Yes-we have Pizza Hut!

We were sitting in our favorite cafe. Our server Chen was a native born Israeli or Sabra. She is finishing her degree in Social Sciences at the University of Haifa. I am an American immigrant to Haifa of five years. We decided to write about life in a Haifa suburb.

Kiryat Sefer is an upper middle class community in the Horev area of Haifa. It was my first home in Haifa, Israel. I immigrated to Israel five years ago from Colorado. What an adventure! Travel is wonderful in Israel. I can visit the Galilee, Nazareth, and Jerusalem, in the same day from my home in Haifa.

Horev is an alternate appellate for Sinai, where Moses received the Torah and the Ten Commandments. It is located on the bus route to the University of Haifa and two Druze Villages about thirty miles South of this quaint and sedate residential center. This wonderful community is a perfect blend of beautiful apartments, a large array of mid-priced restaurants, and upper-end shopping at a local mall.

In Israel, medical and dental care is universal. Their facilities are dotted throughout every community. It is even possible to receive care at virtually any time. Due to the nation’s socialized health care system, health care costs are 20% of most western nations. The quality of care competes with virtually any nation in the world. Horev offers health and dental care within walking distance from most homes!

My editor and I lived at the Shulamit Hotel, an institution of Haifa originally built in 1953 by the Feldman family. The Hotel originally had twelve rooms and was named after the owner’s daughter Shulamit. At the hotel’s prime, the desk clerk Debby mentioned that the capacity of the Hotel was 300 residents. Famous dignitaries such as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin visited this pristine establishment. The Hotel was a Hotel/Motel that had both monthly and short term residents when it closed two years ago.

Israel, can be a pleasant surprise to an American immigrant! The Hotel was within walking distance of a Pizza hut, Domino’s and McDonald’s. Many other restaurants of various culinary tastes and price ranges were also close to our home.

There is an English Bookstore named Lia's Books, which is owned and managed by two Vatekot (veterans) from the UK. The Bookstore serves as both as a source of reading material and impromptu welcome wagon for Anglo immigrants. The city Zoo is a fifteen minute walk or short bus ride. The world famous B’hai Center is also a short bus trip from this community.

The combined residential and transitional nature of our hotel community gave us an endless series of social adventures. Life in The Shulamit was interesting. The residents came from from a multitude of backgrounds,, I met a retired Florida resident who just finished a six week volunteer nursing program in Beer Sheva. There was a group of Nigerian sailors who were guests of the Hotel. I met a representative of the E.U. at our local Pizza Hut. Hotel residents include a graduate student in Biblical Archaeology, a retired Brazilian businessman, an American born school-teacher, and a certified massage therapist. At any given time, you could sit in the Hotel Lobby and listen to conversations spoken in multiple languages.

Local residents are quick to “adopt” newcomers, as most of our neighbours immigrated to Israel after its founding in 1948. My life was everybodys business. Gossip is the "national sport" of Israel. I learned very quickly that "silence is golden" in Israel. Muslim, Christian and others live in this community. This is a a reflection of life in Israel. Israel is a nation of immigrants from almost every nation on earth. We all live together in a fairly democratic, but jaded society. Please, come and see it for yourselves!

Posted by eshugerman 11:58 Archived in Israel Tagged hut society israel pizza haifa islam christianity judaism suburb immigrant

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