About Kiryat Yam
Mayor Samuel Sisso
Kiryat Yam, located at the mid-point of the Haifa Bay with a spectacular view of Mt. Carmel to the east, is celebrating 60 years since its founding. The city, which was founded shortly before the establishment of the State of Israel by 132 immigrant families who came from the displaced persons camps in Germany and Cyprus, developed from the coast eastward, in orderly neighborhoods.
The city now has 45,000 residents, about half of whom are immigrants from former Soviet bloc states, who came to Israel in the 1990s. The various waves of immigration brought Jews to Kiryat Yam from throughout the Jewish Diaspora, contributing to the mosaic of Israeli society and enriching it culturally and spiritually and creating a vibrant and variegated community life.
5,000 students currently attend Kiryat Yam’s eight elementary schools, two junior high schools and three high schools. Most of the students come from homes with traditional Jewish educational background and values. We invest our best efforts in the city’s youth, in education toward values and encouraging excellence.
Kiryat Yam is home to one of the largest concentrations of immigrants from Ethiopia, and the city continues to absorb the remnant of that community. We make every effort to unite families as we know this contributes greatly to improving the quality of life of the 2000 Ethiopian immigrants who have been living in this city since the late 1980s.
Kiryat Yam, like the rest of Israel, has been built from the beginning by new immigrants, who are our greatest resource. In order to guarantee a Jewish majority in Israel’s north, we are interested in continuing to absorb waves of immigration from all over the world. This way the local culture will continue to flourish as it brings together immigrants from both the CIS and Ethiopia, from North Africa and South America - from the whole Jewish Diaspora.
Many of these immigrants come to Israel with an academic education, knowledge and experience, which without the proper job opportunities, cannot be put to use. Thanks to the supportive absorption mechanisms and our concern for the immigrants and their children, we are able to help them build their lives here despite the economic hardships.
Spiritual center for Ethiopian Jewry
The Ethiopian community has very unique social and cultural traditions and we are doing everything we can to help them maintain their heritage. In consideration of the importance of this issue, the city last year allocated land for the construction of a spiritual center for the Ethiopian immigrants. This project has not been able to move forward, however, due to a lack of funding. The spiritual center is of highest importance to the Ethiopian community, which unlike immigrants from other communities, does not yet have its own center.
We hope that in the near future, with your help, we will be able to dedicate the new center, which will house a synagogue, library, cultural hall and a memorial center.
Youth water sports center
One of Kiryat Yam’s most promising and productive natural resources is the sea. Mayor Samuel Sisso’s dream is to maximize the cultural, economic and educational potential of this resource and establish an educational water sports center for the city’s youth. This unique center is one of the largest projects planned for the seashore in the next few years.
Thanks to Israel’s summery weather most of the year and the development of water sports in Israel over the past decade, many champions have sprung from our country’s youth. One of these is wind surfer Gal Fridman, the first Israeli to win an Olympic gold medal. Fridman, who started surfing at age 7, began his training at a water sports club.
Wind surfing is attracting more and more enthusiasts and is one of several sports that we hope to develop at the water sports center to be built beside the beach at Kiryat Yam.
The center will teach youngsters aged 10 to 18, who will have a chance to learn about all the various water sports under one roof. There will be training programs for swimming, rowing, surfing, various styles of wind surfing, diving and other challenge sports.
We believe that the center will help produce more Israeli champions who will bring honor to their city, their country and the whole Jewish people.
Tourism and Recreation
The beach promenade
Israel’s prettiest bay, with Mt. Carmel rising above it, can be viewed in all its glory from the Kiryat Yam beach. Development along the 3-kilometer (4.8-mile) shore began about 10 years ago, but were halted due to the heavy investments required. Still, only such investments can yield the true worth of the tremendous tourism and commercial potential in this magnificent strip of beach. So far, a few hundred meters of the beachfront have been developed, with lawns, a playground, and promenade with shaded benches.
The plan for the development of the beachfront was planned with a meticulous eye to the ecology and long-term preservation of the beach. Various businesses will be built, including shops for tourists, restaurants and cafes, recreational attractions, beach canopies, play equipment, a diving club and an open amphitheater for performances.
Many young people visit the beach daily, for surfing, boating and skin-diving. The beach is near Zevulun Park, the city’s main public park, where the municipality holds outdoor events such as Independence Day celebrations and summer concerts.
Golden Age Club
The increase in life expectancy and the absorption of waves of immigration prompted a municipal policy that focuses on ensuring a high quality of life for the city’s senior citizens. This population constitutes close to 10 percent of Kiryat Yam’s residents, but unfortunately there is only one center for golden age activities, and its meager means and ability to meet the demand are quite limited. The center was built through the generosity of Creteil, Kiryat Yam’s sister city in France.
We are now planning a second golden age center, to show our appreciation of the city’s founders and provide for the needs of the future golden agers, whose numbers are naturally expected to grow as the city develops and expands.
Educating toward excellence
The investments in our youth are constantly proving their worth. One year ago a group of some 30 high school students made an extraordinary achievement when they won first place in Israel in an entrepreneurship competition. Their project was designed for the canned goods market and attracted considerable international attention. A number of name brand companies are even negotiating to purchase the rights to develop and market the idea. The prestigious competition was sponsored jointly by the Education Ministry, the Trade and Industry Ministry and Bank Leumi. Following their win, the group was sent to represent Israel in an international competition for young entrepreneurs, held in Malta, where they placed fourth.
Another outstanding Kiryat Yam student is Yoel Rozbozov, 23, who came here from the Soviet Union. When he was 8, Yoel began learning judo at Kiryat Yam’s youth, sports and culture center, and last year won second place in the 2004 European championships. He represented Israel at the Athens Olympics and is currently training for the 2005 European championships.
Kiryat Yam is proud of the four facilities that offer a variety of cultural activities to the city’s residents. The municipality youth, sports and culture center provide thousands of children and young people with a wide range of sporting, cultural and educational activities. The auditorium and study complex, beside one of the junior high schools, attracts hundreds of teens who participate in technology programs in the new class rooms and attend various cultural activities and performances.
The municipal library, one of the best in Israel’s north, provides a variety of unique services, including a musical library founded decades ago and which houses a large and rare collection of vinyl records, as well as newer CDs. The library also has a large collection of books in several languages, including Russian, Romanian, French, German, Spanish and Yiddish. The fourth cultural site is the Yad Lebanim memorial center, which is used for memorial ceremonies throughout the years.
All these are due to be complemented by a new performing arts hall, which is sadly lacking from Kiryat Yam’s vibrant cultural life. We hope that you will be able to help us to find the necessary funding to bring this important project to fruition.
One of our most beautiful local and national attractions is the Kiryat Yam municipal youth orchestra, with its close to 300 child and teen musicians. The orchestra, which was founded about 20 years ago, has been an unprecedented success in the Israeli landscape Among other things, ours was the only youth orchestra to play for the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Despite its successes, members of the orchestra must hold their rehearsals in old converted school buildings. Many of the young musicians come from low income or immigrant families, whose means are very limited. Their pleasure is doubled when they can enjoy listening to music they love in the concert hall.
The orchestra is a second home for youngsters from every background. One exceptional young musician is tuba player Shoshana Aharon, who grew up with the orchestra and became the first Ethiopian immigrant to be accepted into the IDF orchestra.