Luxury retirement in Israel beckons

August 2021
Sharon Gelbach

Who doesn’t love those videos of silver-haired, wizened old folks running marathons and lifting weights? I think they appeal to that part of us that is in denial about our own aging prospects – and besides, don’t we all aspire to be among those select non-aging nonagenarians?

Genes notwithstanding, no one really knows what lies in store for them in the aging department. And as another Rosh Hashanah rolls around, signifying another year of life — thank God! — it makes sense to think ahead and be prepared.

Here in Israel, Anglo olim (new immigrants) are expressing interest in a brand-new concept for senior living. With construction well underway and occupancy planned for August 2023, the Beresheet retirement community, located in Greater Jerusalem, is intended for over-60s who are eager to take full advantage of all the opportunities offered.

“Longer life expectancy and the desire to do something meaningful after retirement have created a new generation of seniors who wish to make the most of the present, yet still want security for the future,” said Beresheet founder Avi Lichak. 

“We believe in creating a safe environment for residents to enjoy an unmatched quality of life as they pursue the interests and hobbies that they love or that they always dreamed of."

Lichak summarizes his revolutionary idea: “We welcome residents’ input. Rather than having to accommodate themselves to an existing schedule, Beresheet residents will have the freedom to decide what they want to do and how and when they want to do it.”

The atmosphere at Beresheet encourages residents to discover hidden talents and form new connections. With an array of trips and social and cultural events to choose from, and with the opportunity to create unique programs, every member of the Beresheet community will be able to find their niche in the manner that suits them best. “We welcome residents’ ideas and will endeavor to give them expression,” said Lichak.

Beresheet’s sprawling, 4.5-acre forested campus, surrounded by greenery and adjacent to an archeological park and a nature reserve, is a walker’s paradise. The feeling is decidedly rural, although, in true Israeli style, Beresheet is just minutes away from the bustling center of Jerusalem, with all that it has to offer. 

The luxurious, high-end apartments are equipped with “smart” technology and feature high ceilings, arches and picture windows that bring the breathtaking view inside. Spacious balconies or a garden — take your pick. From the recessed, glare-proof lighting in every room, to the fully accessorized kitchen and double bath and toilet facilities, it’s clear the founders have invested thought into each and every detail. 

A shuttle bus will be available daily for trips to town, but Beresheet has everything right on site, from a synagogue to a cultural center to activity rooms, as well as a fully equipped spa with a half-Olympic-sized pool and fitness room. Tai Chi, book club, reflexology, art and gardening are just a smattering of what will be available. Choice is the buzzword also when it comes to Beresheet’s all-kosher culinary options: In addition to the main chef’s restaurant, residents can enjoy a variety of eateries and coffee shops in the built-in mini-mall.

To facilitate visits from relatives and friends, tech-equipped party rooms of different sizes can be reserved for celebrations, special occasions and get-togethers. Several on-site, fully accessorized guest suites are available for family or friends to stay for an extended visit. 

Beresheet has a comprehensive plan in plan in place in the event of medical changes that may occur along the line. The complex is fully equipped with efficient solutions to provide residents with all their medical needs on site and in their own home. 

Behind Beresheet’s revolutionary concept is the Lichak family. The owners of a chain of nursing homes that enjoys a sterling reputation, these three brothers and one sister are not your typical entrepreneurs. “Our father passed away when we were very young, forcing our mother to support us by working as a cook in an old age home, which was basically where we grew up. Years later, when our mother degenerated and needed round-the-clock nursing care, we were unable to find accommodations that met our standards. That was when we decided to open our own facility, and since then, we’ve been catering to the senior population with the same care and devotion that we wanted for our own mother.”

Armed with a wealth of experience and a fervent desire to upgrade the existing model of senior community life in Israel, the Lichaks have opened registration for their flagship Beresheet retirement community. “We welcome Anglo seniors to join Beresheet at the founding level and enjoy their best years with other like-minded people,” Avi Lichak said.