The goal of the Absorption Center is to help integrate and prepare olim for independent living within Israeli society.
The Kalisher absorption center, which was established in 2000, is located in the biblical city of Beer Sheva. A highly developed city with approximately 200,000 residents, Beer Sheva serves as the capital of the Negev. Situated in the heart of a residential neighborhood, the center is within walking distance of schools, kindergartens, a health clinic, banks, shops and public transportation.
The absorption center staff is strongly committed to paving the way towards the successful absorption of the Ethiopian community in Israel. Their goal is to give initial support and guidance for the new immigrants and to provide them with tools for independent living. Assistance and support begins upon arrival and continues for the duration of their stay. The contact sometimes continues even after they move into their own homes.
Children from the Kalisher Absorption Center in Beer Sheva enjoying games donated by BIG.
The Kalisher absorption center has 80 residential units in an eight-story apartment complex with two elevators. Units are of varying sizes, and have basic appliances and furnishings, including beds, closets, refrigerator, stove, chairs and tables. Upon arrival, new immigrants are welcomed with basic food provisions for their first days.
Activities and Special Projects
The center provides activities for both adults and children. For adults this includes Hebrew studies, conversion classes, seminars, community activities, workshops on subjects such as parenting, employment, consumerism and trips around Israel.
Activities for children focus on educational reinforcement and enrichment in subjects such as Jewish customs, festivals and Israeli culture. In addition, they also have classes in sports, drama, and music, day camps, trips and more.
Activities are geared towards the different stages of absorption and assisting olim in becoming familiar with their new surroundings.
In addition to the ongoing activities there are a number of initiatives unique to Kalisher, These include:
Botzi the turtle helps new immigrant children under fire in southern Israel deal with the stresses of war
Community Gardens – In 2008 a community garden, in cooperation with a volunteer organization and neighborhood residents, was established. Each family is provided with a plot of land where they can plant, grow and nurture crops of their choice. Gardens flourish with a variety of local vegetables and Ethiopian spices, which they can then use. The garden, helps them connect to the land, as well as their Israeli neighbors.
Volunteering activities - An extensive volunteer network from local associations and organizations, provide residents with personal mentoring, help with studies, experiential activities, enrichment classes, a variety of workshops, computer classes, and more. These activities help to bridge barriers, as well as establish a connection between Israelis and olim and are the basis of on- going friendships.
Mentoring Project – Employees and friends of a local hi- tech company offer individual assistance and mentoring for the center’s children and provide support for some on- going projects.
A dedicated and professional staff is responsible for the care of the new immigrants and for the daily running of the absorption center. The staff consists of seven full time employees (director, secretary, head of education and culture, social worker, housemother, two counselors) and eight part time employees.