Birth of Haifisha — A Story of Facebook Searching

As an editor for a social news agency back in Russia, I was smart enough to quickly figure out that Facebook is deep and open waters to hunt for interesting people and compelling stories. Our agency was never short of original and catchy content.

When I moved to Israel, where I did not know anyone except for my husband, I turned to Facebook for a different reason — to build a social life. It is such an excellent tool for me, as an immigrant and an outsider, to reach out and meet people.

I am no longer a kid so I can’t just meet peers by going to school, a playground, or by crashing a nightclub. I need more sophisticated reasons to connect to other grown-ups.

So, I systematically study Facebook profiles beforehand and find out “excuses” for social interaction that could turn into valuable experience, friendship, and connections.

I created a Facebook group with the sole purpose of keeping myself updated about public events for English speakers in Haifa. I wanted to meet interesting people and serve the local community by sharing useful information for immigrants like me.

The idea saved my social life – so far I have met hundreds of amazing, talented, inspiring and creative people in Haifa. And I reached out to most of them from the comfort and safety of my home. All thanks to Facebook! After all, the genuine idea of Facebook is to connect people and share information.

As my Facebook group grew with readers and contributors, I took it to the next level and created a website – Haifisha.com, which sends out social event updates in Haifa.

The Haifisha website content is based on four main content categories:

  • Announcements about upcoming social events (seminars, conferences, courses, meet-ups, entertainment, film premiers, etc.)
  • Useful information (practical tips to navigate life in Israel – language learning, career advice, legal and financial issues, etc. )
  • Visit Haifa places (information about community organizations, local insights to great cafes, shops, museums, libraries, parks, etc.)
  • Meet Haifa people

The section — Meet Haifa people — is my favorite. Writing about locals in Haifa gives me the motivation and a good excuse to meet amazing people. I learn about them, their philosophy, ideas, professions, hobbies, businesses, their past, and present, hopes and concerns, dreams and knowledge. Through this experience, I also learn about myself, about new ways to make my life in Israel a happy journey.

I hope this virtual space “Meet Haifa people” will also inspire you and make the integration process easy and pleasant.

Please, meet the first hero – Shulamit Israel, a painter, teacher, an art therapist, and owner of Shlulit Art Studio in Haifa. Shulamit loves and breathes art. Her main mission in life is to let creativity come back into people lives.

To read about my meeting with Shulamit click here.

Photo: Shulanit Israel, facebook.com/shulamit.israel
About the Author
Nadia Katzir is a young woman from Russia - Siberia, who came to live in Israel and loves it. As someone, who chose to be in Israel not as a returning jew, she cannot count on the extended family network, the institutional help of absorption or Jewish agencies. Nadia makes her way based on the social connections found mainly through her networking and social media. She writes about people, who create art, communities, opportunities and her life in Israel at Haifisha.com, a website for social events updates and community life for English speakers in Haifa. In the past, Nadia worked in different international cooperation, education and NGO promoting projects in Russia, including the only news agency for social subjects in Russia - Agency for Social Information.
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