ANGLO COMMUNITY UNITES

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ANGLO COMMUNITY UNITES

While olim from the United States, Britain, Australia and South Africa have been coming to live in Tzfat for decades, the numbers of Anglos continue to grow. They number almost 4,000, with new arrivals weekly

Culture and language present unique challenges, and the Tzfat Anglo Advisory Council was formed to address those issues along with establishing an ongoing working relationship with the municipality. The group, made up of community advocates Unique Kruper, Zev Padway, Klara Levy, Susan Cohen and Shayna Rehberg-Paquin, came together during Covid-19 with a focused agenda

Recognizing that a working relationship with the municipality was a key component, the team was able to penetrate the wall that has been difficult to scale. Special assistant to the mayor Shalom Elbaz became an enthusiastic supporter of the group's objectives, and a connection was established

As soon as some restrictions were lifted, Mayor Ohana began getting to know who the Anglos are. He began visiting local galleries, businesses and is often seen chatting with constituents at Bella Cafe

" I know how important the English speaking community is to our city, and I am committed to responding to their concerns. With so many new olim coming, I want to make sure that their needs are met, and I am committed to seeing to it that housing, employment and education resources are available."

Last month, Mayor Ohana met with TAAC in his office. Shalom Elbaz and community liaison Atara Shemesh also attended and the discussion focused on two issues- increasing opportunities for learning Hebrew, and organizing chugim in August for the kids home all summer

Learning to speak a new language is challenging, and ulpan here has been sporadic. The voucher system does not give enough time for students to achieve enough working knowledge to obtain employment. The mayor agreed, and directed staff to look into TAAC's proposal for a system of subsidized, rolling classes that will help new and long time olim learn Hebrew

The lack of summer programming for children has been difficult for families. The municipality has come forward to sponsor three weeks of chugim that offer dance, yoga, gymnastics, Thai boxing and basketball. By making the gym and matnas available, the group was able to put together a schedule of classes for the weeks before school starts at a low fee

Recognizing the need for better communication in English, Zefat 24, the municipality's news website, is now publishing in English. The city's other social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, are increasing their posts in English

It was through the partnership with TAAC that the community was able to produce a magnificent Fourth of July celebration at the Metsuda. The municipality assumed most of the production costs for the picnic and musical extravaganza that gave a much-needed dose of united spirit to a community that had been homebound for months

The mayor and TAAC have agreed on monthly meetings with a focus on addressing new and long-standing concerns