Engaging and Enriching Older Immigrants to Israel

Photo courtesy Nefesh B'Nefesh

By Sharon Mann Congregations are always thinking of new ways to attract and interest younger members. While this is, of course, essential, it is perhaps just as important for congregations to consider what they are doing to engage and enrich older members who want to remain connected as they deal with circumstances that arise later in life. At my congregation, Kehillat Emet VeShalom (the only synagogue in Nahariya, Israel, affiliated with the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism), we’ve been dealing with a unique version of this scenario. Looking at our community, we asked ourselves: What happens to olim who make aliyah at an advanced age? Many of these olim live on low, fixed incomes and have difficulty learning Hebrew well. Our congregation saw that these challenges limited new residents’ … [Read more...]

78 Bnei Menashe Arrive in Israel

Photo courtesy Shavei Israel.

78 Bnei Menashe olim from the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, which borders Burma and Bangladesh, arrived in Israel yesterday through the support of Shavei Israel. They will be settled in Katzrin on the Golan Heights, which was the tribal patrimony of Manasseh in Biblical times. This is the first time that Shavei Israel is settling a group of Bnei Menashe on the Golan, some 2,700 years after their ancestors were exiled from the land. … [Read more...]

Ethiopian Immigrants could be Evicted from Jerusalem-area Absorption Center

The Absorption Center in Mevaseret Zion; photo by Dr. Avishai Teicher via the PikiWiki - Israel free image collection project.

The Jewish Agency's pension fund seeks to sell the building to real estate developers. By Nimrod Bousso Haaretz.com Knesset members and NGOs have been battling to halt the sale of an immigrant absorption center to real estate developers, a move that could evict the building’s 1,300 residents - immigrants from Ethiopia. The center, in Mevasseret Zion near Jerusalem, is due to close on Sunday. It is being sold by the pension fund of the Jewish Agency, traditionally a key player in helping to bring over and integrate immigrants to Israel. The deal raises several questions, especially because all papers on the run-up to the sale have disappeared from the files of the Israel Land Authority, an ILA ombudswoman says. “The agency’s behavior in this story is more of a real estate agency … [Read more...]

Limmud FSU and ‘JPost’ launch Exhibit on 25 Years of Soviet Aliya

Natan Sharansky (second left) is met upon arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport in November 1986 by his wife, Avital, then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir (right) and then-deputy prime minister Shimon Peres. Photo courtesy GPO.

Exhibit also tells story of worldwide campaigns, protests and demonstrations in the US, Israel and elsewhere in order to secure the release of the Jews from the former Soviet Union. By Sam Sokol A new traveling exhibit showcasing the last 25 years of post-Soviet Jewish life in the State of Israel is set to open at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference at the Marriott Marquis in New York City this June. The project - organized jointly by the Post and Limmud FSU - traces the journeys of contemporary Russian Jews: from life in the Soviet Union to their release, their arrival in Israel and finally setting down new-old roots in the country. The exhibit also tells the story of the worldwide campaigns, protests and demonstrations in the US, Israel and elsewhere in order to secure their … [Read more...]

European Jews are Fleeing Putin, Not Islamist Terror

Photo by Israel GPO

By Anshel Pfeffer Haaretz After all the recent talk of the threat facing Western European Jews - in the wake of Islamist terror attacks on Jewish targets in France, Belgium and Denmark, plus last summer’s rise in anti-Semitic incidents - the latest quarterly immigration figures, published by The Jewish Agency, are the first indication of whether the immigration calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been heeded. The headline statistic - that in the first three months of 2015, aliyah was up 41 percent - would indicate they have been. A closer look, though, shows a completely different picture. Here are a few takeaways from the Jewish Agency’s report... 1. Jewish immigration from the largest European community, and the one most in the headlines with regards to Islamist threat, shows … [Read more...]

The New Immigrant and the Israeli Nonprofit Organization

job-search

I meet with four to six new olim (immigrants) from North America each month as they seek my counsel and advice during their search for meaningful work in Israel’s voluntary sector. Most of the time olim are referred to me by people who know me or have heard of my work in the third sector in Israel. I have been on the new immigrant networking list for many years, and I am happy to share my suggestions, expertise, and experience with them. I am always struck by the experiences they have had learning to negotiate the Israeli nonprofit sector. It is not unusual for bright, talented, experienced, creative, and personable professionals from a variety of backgrounds to feel a great sense of frustration as they meet with their Israeli colleagues working for various voluntary organizations. Often they are … [Read more...]

Faces of the Ukrainian Aliyah: Profiles of Ukrainian Jewish Refugees in Israel

Stukalo family; photo courtesy Jewish Agency RSJ unit

By Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt special to eJP Young, successful, hopeful - the Stukalo family of Donetsk, Ukraine had everything that one could ask for. Ilya (28) was working as a surgeon, Anzhelika (36) as a neurologist - and their little Veronika had just turned 3 this year. Two apartments, two cars, a nanny, daycare, weekend trips to the country. As active members of the local Jewish community, the Stukalos joined the local Jewish Agency office often for holiday celebrations and events; Ilya had traveled to Israel on Taglit-Birthright with The Jewish Agency as well. For a while, the family had considered making Aliyah to Israel, but didn’t plan to move in the near future, hoping to take the time to prepare for a stable future in another country and to study Hebrew in time. But with … [Read more...]

Far From Home and Far From Alone: New Lone Soldiers Join Tzofim Garin Tzabar Program

New Garin Tzabar participants adopted by Kibbutz Maoz Chaim. (Left to Right) Valeria Hidalgo, Rom Lerner, Daniella Rafel, Yona Lazar and Gitai Gazala.

Winter’s cohort of young, selfless and fresh-faced heroes have arrived to Israel. The last week of 2014 saw 68 new lone soldiers from all over the world - spanning widely from the USA, France, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, UK, Belgium, Spain, Finland and Kenya - warmly welcomed to Israel in a special ceremony, which took place in Tel Aviv. This group follows their predecessors of the summer 2014 session, in which 350 Olim Chadashim from around the world joined ranks. The Olim Chadashim (new immigrants) will be joining the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as part of the Tzofim (Israel Scouts) unique program for lone soldiers, Garin Tzabar - the largest immigrant program in Israel for serving in the IDF, with more than 2,500 Garin Tzabar soldiers since its inception 23 years ago. Lone … [Read more...]