Monday, April 23, 2012

Be realistic and question Aliyah to Zfat

The newer part of Zfat (Safed)

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Some time ago I wrote an article on countless American Jews making Aliyah to Zfat (Safed). Besides all the spirituality I assume that many Olim (new immigrants) may be attracted by the lower rents and housing prices of Zfat. 

I was overhearing a conversation yesterday. Two new immigrants from the US (one from New York, the other I don’t know) were talking to each other. One guy said that he is going up to Zfat, as one has to be realistic. Who is able to pay the exaggerated rents in Tel Aviv or the coastal area ? Zfat would be much better and rent is lower. 

I wanted to interfere but had not time due to work. What I wanted to ask the guy moving to Zfat was: 

Lower rent doesn’t mean finding employment. There is hardly any work in Zfat. Especially for those who don’t know fluent Hebrew yet. The only industry basically is the local candle factory. If you are lucky and have medical knowledge, you may find a job at the local SIEV HOSPITAL. What else is there to do ? Various immigrants start a spiritual center or go into healing in order to make money. Others rent out rooms to visitors but the Zfat Municipality has limited the amount of rooms a house owner is allowed to rent out. 

The problem is that the entire area around doesn’t have jobs to offer. Down in Tiberias, the unemployment rate is extremely high. The same in Zfat and lots of people are on the dole. 

When you still want to move to Zfat, bring some money in order to support yourself because it may take ages until you find a firm income.

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