Ashkelon: Ariela & Asher Schwartz

We’ve lived in Ashkelon for a little over two years now. We moved here because Asher started studying in Sapir, which is right outside of Sderot, and after looking around the area we decided we liked Ashkelon the best. It’s a really such a beautiful city.

What’s the social life like in your community?
In the past year a new Garin has started in our area which currently consists of 6 young couples (including us); we recently did a whole Shabbat together including a hike on Friday morning. Aside from that we have other friends all around Ashkelon that we’ve met through work and school. Of the couples we do know, we find everyone to be really friendly and inviting. There isn’t an “Anglo” community here though; all of our friends in Ashkelon are Israeli

What is the public transportation like?
Ashkelon has excellent public transportation. It’s totally unnecessary to have a car. You can get a bus from anywhere in the city to the central bus station, and from there there are buses to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Gat, etc. There is a train station right outside of the city which you would need to take a bus to.

Where do you and your spouse work?
Asher is a student in Sapir (he takes buses) and I work in two different places outside of Ashkelon, a high school in Machane Emanuel, and at the spa, Chamei Yoav (I drive).

How integrated are the Israelis and Anglos?
There aren’t too many Anglos our age in Ashkelon at the moment, so we are mostly friends with Israelis and speak Hebrew in our day to day lives.

What are some things to do in your community?
There are two small malls in Ashkelon, and one of them has a little movie theater in it. There are tons of good restaurants all over the city. There are also quite a few really nice parks in Ashkelon, and of course there’s the beach! Asher goes running several times a week at the beach and we walk there every Shabbat.

Anything you want to add?
Ashkelon is a really beautiful city, and it just got an Ishur to build 30,000 more housing units! I’ve heard that many Olim show interest in moving to Ashkelon. It’s definitely a place to consider if you’re looking for a quiet city (with a beach!) outside of the Mercaz. And the people are really friendly here.