רפאל סרויה

רפאל סרויה 

Raphael Serruya

 

 Email: rserruya@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 

 

             I was born in the city of Belém, Brazil, where I have finished my high school. I attended the Higher Education Center of the State of Para, CESUPA, Belém, in Brazil, and received my first degree in Pharmacy and Biochemistry in 2007. My dual degree was very demanding, as I studied both Pharmacy and Biochemistry. Nevertheless, I have managed to participate in several voluntary activities associated with my university programs. These activities included missions to peripheral areas which are populated by poor communities. We brought food and collected clothes for the locals and explained the importance of having hygiene and preventive measures to avoid epidemic diseases, particularly Malaria, Dengue, and Chagas.

            On my vacations, I used to visit my parents who were living in a distant city called Porto Velho. In the summer vacations, I always participated in what is called “The week of Health”. Doctors and healthcare professionals arranged missions to nearby communities to provide free health and educational services. Together with my father, who is a healthcare professional, we collected blood samples and performed basic medical tests.

            In my hometown, I also served as a member in the Jewish community youth movement, called “Kadima”. After attending this movement for many years, I became a guide and my task was to educate teens on the Jewish tradition and religion and organize summer campaigns and festivals and encourage youth to make Aliyah to Israel.

            At age 21, I myself immigrated to Israel, leaving behind my parents, sister, relatives and friends. When I came to Israel in 2007, I needed help to settle down and to resume my scientific career. I have attended Ulpan and applied for a master degree in Microbiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I was fortunate to join the research team of Professor Nayef Jarrous in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the Faculty of Medicine in Ein Kerem. Professor Jarrous's laboratory is an outstanding model for a micro-cosmos in which a variety of students from different flocks practice genuine coexistence and intellectual understanding. I excelled in my master studies, which allowed me to start directly my doctoral stint (masloul yashir) in the same laboratory. In 2011, I also became a teaching assistant in the Faculty of Medicine, thus instructing majors in medical and pharmacy schools in microbiology. Moreover, I help new students in my laboratory to put into practice experimental approaches and technical methods.

            After two years in Israel I realized how difficult for immigrants to get absorbed in the society and get used to new environments, thus I decided to help new comers to get a good absorption here in Israel. First I started helping in the absorption process of a few families and lonely immigrants who came to Jerusalem, I used to help them in finding a job, making an appointment with a doctor, registering the kids in the school and other simple and basic needs that can be very difficult for someone who just came and are not familiar with the language and the new culture. In 2010 I have joined a group created by Professors James Green and Ruth Fine, who formulated a Brazilian Studies Program at the Department of Romanic and Latin American Studies at the Hebrew University and with the help of Beit Hillel, the group raises money for funding Brazilian students and to develop social and educations events and activities. In 2011 I have joined the At home together program (Babait beyachad) that belongs to activism department of the Jewish agency, the  program operates throughout the country by connecting olim with veteran and immigrant Israelis, who want to ensure that they absorption process in Israel will be the best it can possibly be. I was the first Brazilian to join the program since it was created. After some years working on this program I realized that it has a good ideology and goals but it isn’t works as it should be, at least not for the Brazilian new immigrants, there is too much bureaucracy and little efficiency,  thus in 2014 together with some  friends we raised funds and founded an ONG called Beit Brazil, an organization made up of volunteers and professionals who will guide the new immigrant in a personal and individualized manner, the aim is to facilitate the adaptation of the Brazilians new immigrants in Israel in order to enhance their personal and professional success in the country by creating an advanced support network through a community of volunteers in Israel and Brazil.  Today, with a little more than six years of activity, beit brazil has more than 50 volunteers and professionals willing to provide support to the new Brazilian immigrants in various life areas such as employment, housing, education, and adjustment to Israeli society, or they can simply be a new friend to celebrate festivals with them in their new homeland.  At the same time we are developing many promising programs and services to offer to our immigrants the best absorption platform, thus in this way we expect to revitalize Aliyah and to substantially increase the number of future Olim by removing the professional, logistical and financial obstacles that prevent many individuals from actualizing their dreams.