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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘aliyah’

Happy Aliya Day, Everybody!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Today Millions of American Jews woke up with the sense of excitement that only happens when two essentially contradictory holidays take place on the same day, like Hanukkah and Christmas, Passover and Easter.

It so happens that on the day the United States is celebrating its Election Day, Israelis are joyously marking Aliyah Day. And should the results of today’s elections drive US Jews to make Aliyah, then the connection is absolutely self-explanatory.

Yom HaAliyah-Aliyah Day is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. This date in itself is a celebration of the unique connection that existed during the time of the Second Temple between the Jews of Israel and their brothers and sisters in the diaspora: the rainy season officially begins on the rabbinic calendar on Shmini Atzeret, the holiday that seals the string of high holidays from Rosh Hashanah until Sukkot. But the rabbis decreed that we not begin to actually pray for rain until the 7th of Cheshvan, to allow the Babylonian Jews who just celebrated in Jerusalem to return home before it started to rain.

Strangely enough, the Knersset legislation known as the Aliyah Day Act 5776-2016 states that on the 7th of Cheshvan the country will celebrate the Israelites’ entrance into the Land of Israel on the 10th of Nissan. We called up the Knesset Aliyah Committee, and blessed Tzipi, who picked up the phone with “Happy Aliyah Day,” which absolutely made her day. As to the discrepancy between the two dates, she explained that the Cheshvan date was picked because the Nissan date falls on a school holiday, which is also a Knesset holiday, just before Passover. So they went with Cheshvan 7, when everybody is still fresh and full of zest at the start of the season.

Also, Cheshvan 7 usually falls on the week of Parshat Lech-Lecha, in which our biblical patriarch Abraham was told by God to leave his home and his family and go up to the Land of Israel.

So, if you want to show up your Israeli friends today, just wish them a Happy Aliyah day and watch them squirm…


NY Senator Chuck Schumer Slams BDS as ‘Modern Anti-Semitism’

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

New York Senator Chuck Schumer slammed the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement this week as a “modern form of anti-Semitism.”

Schumer said in an address to the Israeli American Council’s 2016 National Israeli American Conference that ultimately, BDS organizers don’t “believe there should be a Jewish State in the Middle East, and are guilty of the same anti-Semitism. We need to make that argument loudly and strongly and go against the BBDS movement and call it for what it is,” he said,” an anti-Semitic and not just anti-Israel movement.”

The senator added that he applauds the governors of New York and California for passing anti-BDS legislation.

But although anti-Semitism is clearly rising on the campuses of American colleges and universities, Schumer noted that the problem is even worse in Europe.

“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism seems to be in far too many European homes,” he said, pointing to the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party as one example.

“Europe has shown how anti-Israel and anti-Semitic the BDS movement really is. Far-right parties are experiencing a rebirth, and far-left parties … like the Labour Party under Corbyn, are increasingly anti-Israel.”

Corbyn has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the anti-Semitism of veteran members of the party, prompting the recent resignation of a prominent Jewish Labourite, Lord Parry Mitchell. Corbyn in the past also has expressed his “friendship” for the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.

“Terrorism and violence against Jews is on the rise, from vandalizing synagogues to the horrible attack on a Jewish grocery in Paris,” Schumer pointed out.

“It is no wonder that last year France, home to the largest Jewish population in Europe, set a record for the migration of Jews to Israel,” he said.

Hana Levi Julian

Freida Sima Makes Aliyah

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is the twelfth installment of a multipart series on the life and times of the author’s grandmother, Freida Sima, who as a young woman came to America on her own in the early 1900s and made her way in a new country. The eleventh part (“Freida Sima, Max, and the Golden Years”) appeared as the front-page essay in the Aug. 19 issue; part thirteen will run in September.


In July 1974, Freida Sima packed her bags and returned to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. Over the years she had spent most weekdays in the apartment she and her husband Max (or Mordche, as she always called him) had enjoyed together, but since his death in 1970, the Queens home of her daughter, Shirley, had become her home base.

Although arthritis made it increasingly difficult for her to walk, the kitchen remained her domain. It gave her pleasure to feel appreciated. Shirley and her husband, Chaskel, worked long hours in the travel business, and their young daughter (the author of this series) enjoyed the benefits of a “full time Baba.”

“It’s like raising another child,” thought Freida Sima, recalling Shirley’s teenage years. At least this one wasn’t running off to Young Socialist meetings like Shirley had, but rather to Orthodox youth activities and Soviet Jewry rallies.

More of the family was moving to Queens, and again she had family nearby. Her brothers Elish and Benny now lived ten minutes away. Her sister Sheindl and brother Tuleh from the Bronx and brother Abie from Washington Heights visited often. Brothers Srul and Leibush lived in Israel, and Freida Sima visited them there the summer after Max’s death. Sheindl had also come that summer, taking her to visit Sheindl’s late husband Naftula’s grave in Holon. When he got sick in America, Naftula dreamed of being buried in Israel and Sheindl spent her savings to fulfill his last request.

“But I’ll be buried with the family at Wellwood,” she promised Freida Sima, referring to the Long Island cemetery where the family had purchased plots decades before.

“And where will I be buried?” mused Freida Sima.

After Max’s death, Shirley and Chaskel had bought an apartment in Israel “for the future.” Suddenly the future was now. Soon after his 70th birthday, Chaskel sold his travel agency partnership and the family prepared to make aliyah, with Freida Sima set to join them a few months after they made the move.

* * * * *

Freida Sima loved America, her home for 63 years. However, she knew that at her age it was unrealistic to stay after Shirley moved. “And it’s not as if I don’t have brothers in Israel,” she thought, although she would miss her siblings in America. She loved them all so much, as she did their children.

Before Shirley and Chaskel left, the family gave them a gala send-off at a Queens café, with everyone signing the menu as a parting gift. They sang and danced, Benny holding in his arms his little grandson, a redhead like Freida Sima’s Shirley and like Freida Sima’s mother, Devorah, had been.

Thinking about her mother, Freida Sima couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that the family had become widely scattered: Abie had a daughter in Israel while he lived in New York. Srul had sons in New York and Denmark while he lived in Israel. Sheindl and Naftula’s daughters lived in Israel and Sheindl went back and forth constantly. And now she herself would soon be in Israel.

The next four months passed quickly. Two weeks before she left, Freida Sima gave up the Brighton apartment, dividing her furniture among relatives and moving in with her cousin Max Scharf in Washington Heights. Abie and his wife, Minnie (Max’s sister), lived in the same building, and Freida Sima ate with them, savoring her last days in the U.S. and reminiscing about the past with the first brother she had brought to America 54 years earlier.

The family threw Freida Sima a last birthday party in America. Surrounded by her brothers and her sister, she cut the cake Abie had ordered, on which the words “Happy Birthday Sister-Mother” appeared in chocolate icing. Indeed, she had been both sister and mother to her American family, both before the war, when their mother was far away, and afterward, when she was gone forever.

“That’s what it means to be the oldest of ten children,” she thought, and of all her siblings, the one who suddenly came to mind was little Mendel, born between Abie and Benny, who had died in an accident when he was two.

* * * * *

Before she turned around she was living in Israel, in Ramat Gan, once again running the kitchen. In addition, she was going to ulpan along with Shirley to learn Hebrew. For Shirley – the language major – learning Hebrew turned out to be a lost cause while Freida Sima, at home since childhood with the Yiddish alphabet (which in fact was Hebrew), had no trouble reading texts.

But understanding modern Israeli Hebrew was another matter, and she never picked up enough to understand news programs. When Judy came home from school once and asked her why she was watching an Arabic program, Freida Sima answered that it was all the same to her – she couldn’t understand either language when spoken rapidly.

Srul and Leibush visited constantly, but it was sometimes difficult to follow their Yiddish, which was as peppered with Hebrew expressions as hers was with English ones. And the siblings found they had less to talk about than they’d first expected due to a lack of mutual experiences and the age gap – after all, when Freida Sima left Europe for the U.S., she was fifteen while they were five and three. It was easier for Freida Sima when the American family came to visit.

But Freida Sima’s joy at her siblings’ visits turned to grief when she received news of her brother Tuleh’s death from illness in America. Like many Israeli homes of that time, the Ramat Gan apartment had no telephone and Shirley first received the news when shiva was almost over. She decided to give her mother the news after thirty days so that Freida Sima would only have to sit shiva for an hour rather than a full week.

Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz

Keep Making Aliyah

Friday, September 2nd, 2016


After the Jewish people came to the Land of Israel they were commanded to “keep making aliyah” – to go up to Jerusalem 3 times a year. Rabbi Yishai Fleisher is reunited with Rabbi Mike Feuer for Spiritual Cafe where they discuss the end of the summer, the passing of Gene Wilder, the Torah portion which includes the laws of kosher and non kosher animals, the searching for the right spot and building of the Temple, and the laws of the false prophet. Reconnect with the Torah portion and the Land of Israel on this weeks exciting program.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

211 New Immigrants Flee to Israel From War-Torn Ukraine

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

With the increase of hostilities on the Russian-Ukrainian border in recent weeks, 211 new immigrants from Ukraine landed Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport.

Most came from the embattled regions in the eastern part of Ukraine, arriving on the 19th flight sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) since hostilities broke out between the two countries.

“There has been a significant increase in calls from potential Olim to the IFCJ representatives in Ukraine and we are doing everything to give them the best possible service so that they can begin new and secure lives in Israel, which was and still is the home for any person who is part of the Jewish people,” noted Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ president.

Approximately 4,000 immigrants have fled to Israel from Ukraine on flights sponsored by the organization since December 2014. Among those who arrived Tuesday were 37 children who are to begin their studies in Israeli schools in two days, including nine in the first grade.

Natalia S. arrived in Israel with her mother and son, and said that she was forced to leave the city of Marinka in the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine after the extensive bombing in the city that began in April 2014. The building where her family lived was bombed and some of their neighbors were killed.

Natalia explained that her family’s Jewishness was kept secret by her grandmother who had survived the Holocaust, while her husband, Natalia’s grandfather, was in a concentration camp. As a result, she says, “we knew we had Jewish roots but did not have the documents to prove it.”

According to Natalia, during one of the family’s visits to the Holocaust Museum an employee at the site advised her about which archive to search in order to find documents that would prove their Jewish roots.

“Because of the advice we were given, we went later to the archive and found my grandmother’s documents. In the documents, we read that she had changed her name and her father’s name, from “Alia” and “Avraham” to “Lisa” and “Peter,” she said. Natalia, her mother, and her son are planning to settle in Akko. Among Tuesday’s group of new olim there were seven babies, including two who were only six months old. The oldest person on the flight was age 82, and the average age of the group was 34. The preferred destination for the immigrants was Haifa, where 42 of the new arrivals elected to settle.

Most of the olim came from the Dniepropetrovsk region, which has become one of the preferred destinations for refugees escaping the embattled areas in Eastern Ukraine because of its proximity and the fact that it is still in Ukrainian hands.

The IFCJ assists the Olim to Israel with special grants of $1,000 for each adult oleh and $500 for each child, in addition to financing the flight to Israel. This support is provided by the organization in addition to the standard basket of benefits each immigrant receives from the Israel Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption. The organization also arranges the absorption of the new immigrant families with the various local authorities prior to their arrival in Israel, recruiting locals to accompany the new olim as they seek housing and employment and settle in to their new surroundings.

Hana Levi Julian

Welcome Home [photo]

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

233 North American new Olim arrived home to Israel this morning, Wedensday, August 17, 2106, on a Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah flight.

Approximately 50,000 people have made Aliya with NBN since it was established.

The honor of being number 50,000 was given to Rivka Geltzer, 22.

Geltzer has a degree in economics from Columbia University in New York, and will joining the IDF. She received her new Teudat Zehut (ID card) directly from President Ruby Rivlin.

From the photos you can see that around 75 of the new Olim will be joining the IDF.

What more can we say beyond, “Welcome Home!”

NBN Aliyah August 2016 1

NBN Aliyah August 2016 3

NBN Aliyah August 2016 2

NBN Aliyah August 2016 5

NBN Aliyah August 2016 6

NBN Aliyah August 2016 7

Photos by Ehud Amitun / TPS

Photo of the Day

Knesset Committee Approves $80 Million to Support New Immigrants

Monday, August 15th, 2016

The Knesset Finance Committee, headed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), on Monday approved the transfer of an additional $80 million to the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, mainly for the purpose of finding housing solutions for elderly immigrants.

Some of the funds are designated for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants from France, Belgium, and Ukraine.

Of the amount allotted, about $68 million are designated for housing solutions for elderly immigrants; $4 million for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants, including employment fairs and seminars for new immigrants, coupons for Hebrew lessons, absorption-related activities in local authorities, encouraging Aliyah abroad by strengthening the professional capabilities of potential olim, and adding more operators to the information call center for those interested in making Aliyah; $2 million for the implementation of the government’s decision to allow members of the Bnei Menashe community entry into Israel, and $1.3 million are designated for increasing the assistance provided to immigrant soldiers who are recognized by the IDF as lone soldiers or as soldiers who are eligible for family stipends.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/knesset-committee-approves-80-million-to-support-new-immigrants/2016/08/15/

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