The population of Be’er-Sheva is now growing and growing younger with every passing year. In 2017, the population of the City is composed of about 27% senior citizens (aged 55-120, God willing), some retired, some still working. The following are only a few examples of organizations, activities, educational programs, voluntary frameworks & care facilities & services geared especially for seniors that are available in Be’er-Sheva. In my opinion, seniors may and should do whatever they can and want to do.
The City of Be’er-Sheva sponsors an annual, collective birthday celebration for its citizens who turn 80; the Hebrew term for the age of 80 is gevurot (lit., acts of heroism). Every now and then the City also salutes its resident centenarians (those over the age of 100).
Organizations for seniors
Tech7Seniors meet often at CDI in the new BGU/Be’er-Sheva HighTech Park on the 4th floor of Gav-Yam building #1 to encourage digital literacy in seniors and to serve as volunteer advisors to local start-ups developing digital means and products for making the later years better than ever – contact Pnina Ifrach at email@example.com to join the digital age along with other sociable seniors.
The “Histadrut” Labor Union’s Be’er-Sheva & Negev Region Retirees Club meets in the Histadrut Building (next to the City Hall parking lot) and provides its members with all manner of subsidized activities. The current Chairman is Yitshak (“Itsik”) Binyamin – 08-6463017.
In fact, every major body, institution & company has its own local seniors’ club for its own retirees, such as: the Be’er-Sheva Municipality; Soroka Medical Center; BGU; the large chemical companies like ICL; “Kamag” and many others.
An English-speaking Seniors’ Club meets regularly on Thursdays from 16:00-18:00 to socialize and hear interesting lectures in English at the Payis Seniors’ Club at the back of the Wizo Womens’ Center (cover charge 10 NIS) – Chairman: Albert Jacob 08-6274670; Peter Lambert 08-6417246.
“Amcha” (lit., your People) – the Association for Holocaust Survivors and Their Families – located at 91 Herzl St. in the Old City – 08-6270224. It has a gallery that displays art created by Holocaust survivors.
Activities & education for seniors
The Be’er-Sheva Welfare & Social Services Department, together with the “Matav” Association (founded 1958), provides activities for seniors at the various “Ha-Shalom” day-care centers – to register call 08-6209439 or 054-4627923 after 14:00. In 2016, the Council for a Beautiful Israel awarded their Decade of Outstanding Beauty Award to the “Ha-Shalom” Elder Day Center in the Gimel neighborhood, run by “Matav.”
“Tarshish” – a school for seniors located at the Kaye Teachers’ College that offers a variety of Hebrew academic and arts courses, as well as Hebrew lectures and guided trips – 08-6402818.
The are now 6 Jewish religious schools across Be’er-Sheva for seniors in Be’er-Sheva: at Kolel “Iske Torah” in Daled; at “Minhat Yehudah” Synagogue in Neveh Ze’ev; at “Shirat ha-Rambam” Synagogue in the Old City; at “Ahavat Hannah” Synagogue in Nahal Ashan; at the Judaica Library in the Chabad House in Aleph; and in the Rassco villas at the “Netivot Shalom” Synagogue.
“Kivunim’s Municipal Katedra” offers a wide range of Hebrew courses suited for adults & seniors – 08-6414444, line #3, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BGU Center for External [Adult] Education also offers a broad spectrum of academic courses that are open to the public, with special senior discounts – 08-6472626.
The Be’er-Sheva Theater gives special matinee performances and senior discounts of all each season’s plays – 08-6206261, http://www.b7t.co.il.
Voluntarism for seniors
Be’er-Sheva is an exemplary leader in Israeli voluntarism and civic action, in which volunteer organizations (NPOs) are coordinated by the umbrella organization “Re’em,” situated on the second floor of “Yad la-Banim” (located near City Hall), Sun.-Thurs. 9:00-12:00. Chairperson: Shoshana Agajany; Acting Director: Alin Haviv, 08-6416619, 054-4214251. Those trying to get an idea of where they might like to volunteer may go to Re’em and learn about the many options.
The Civilian Guard (“Mishmar Ezrahi”) trains and certifies volunteers (18-65) to deal with traffic infractions & accidents, terrorism, and other security matters in the city. The headquarters are located at 63 ha-Avot St. in the Old City – 08-6274347; Raz Shwimmer – 050-6277797.
The Be’er-Sheva Soup Kitchen “Be’er-Sova” (lit., the well of sufficient sustenance, founded 2000) that provides free, hot cooked meals to ca.100 of the City’s indigent population each day and distributes “meals-on-wheels” to shut-ins. The food is served at located in the Old City at 58 Morde ha-Geta’ot St. – Restaurant: 08-6233355; Office: 08-6412544. Donations of fresh food, contributions of funding, and hours of voluntary service are always appreciated.
The Lions Club “Achva ba-Nege“Orpaz”“ (lit., brotherhood in the Negev), that engages in voluntary social action, meets at the “Avot ba-Negev” Elder Hostel at 12 Alfasi St. in Yud Aleph – President Emily Burstein 054-4818903; Secretary Dorit Vartsman 050-2974009.
Be’er-Sheva seniors are invited to join “Friend of Education” (“Yadid la-Hinukh”) to do voluntary tutoring with elementary-school pupils – Hannah Hadad 050-7699936, http://www.yadidla.org.il.
The photo below shows the Founders’ Traffic Circle in the Aleph neighborhood, at the intersection of Balfour and Sokolov streets.
Pensioners are also welcome to join the project “Senior Citizens Make a Difference” and to do practical volunteer work in their spare time – 08-6268452, http://www.btl.gov.il.
Care of seniors
Be’er-Sheva has a number of companies that supply domestic/foreign (even English-speaking), part-time/round-the-clock caregivers, such as: “Matan” – 08-6200666 [After years of personal experience with both my parents, I highly recommend “Matan”]; “Amal” – 074-7292670; “D.N. Nursing Care Services” – 073-7588355; “Etgar” – 1-599-550-100; “Orpaz” – 08-6422194; and others.
Be’er-Sheva also has a growing number of decent elder hostels, old-age homes, sheltered & assisted-living facilities & nursing homes that offer safety and relative comfort along with social and cultural activities and medical oversight. They are located throughout the city and more such facilities are being built every year. Some of the larger residential ones are: “Gane Ye’elim – Bet Genyah” in Hey – 08-6101010; “Mish’an – Avot ha-Negev” in Yud Aleph – 08-9526709; “Bet Yonah” in Vav – 08-6407444. Some of the larger nursing homes are: “Bet Yonah” in Vav – 08-6407444; “Etanim” in Hey – 08-6199770; “Neveh Shva” in Daled – 072-3226544.