web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘aliyah’

100 Ukrainian Jews Want to Make Aliyah, Settle in Judea and Samaria

Friday, March 7th, 2014

One hundred Jews from Kiev want to make Aliyah as a “gar’in” (a unified fledgling community), according to a report in Makor Rishon. They come from all over Kiev. All of them are young professionals, including doctors, lawyers, accountants and advertising executives.

Michael Rosenfeld, an emissary for “Hamidrasha Hatziyonut” (Zionist School) told Makor Rishon that he had been approached by a hundred Ukrainian Jews from Kiev who want to immigrate to Israel. There are 20 families on the list so far, as well as a number of singles. They want to make Aliyah together, and live together in Israel in the same community.

They already decided they want to move to a town in either Judea or Samaria.

Rosenfeld said that these are people who always spoke about Aliyah, but now the situation in Kiev is giving them that extra push.

Rosenfeld’s Midrasha is now opening an Ulpan course, to prepare the group with the language skills they’ll need when they arrive in Israel.

Rosenfeld is calling on the Israeli government, and Moetzet Yesha (The Council of Judea and Samaria) to assist them in the Aliyah process.

Simultaneously, others in the Kiev community are trying to raise money for security for the Jews of Ukraine, in response to the anarchy in the streets. According to a JTA report Thursday, the Jewish Federations of North America has launched a Ukraine Assistance Fund.

“As the situation escalates, needs in the Ukrainian Jewish community become even more acute,” said Michael Siegal, chair of the Jewish Federations’ board of trustees.

Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, one of the two chief Rabbis of Ukraine, told John Kerry in a meeting this week that it costs $1000 a day to ensure the security of his Yeshiva, and that to provide protection for all the Jewish organizations would cost $4000 a day.

An estimated 70,000 Jews live in the Ukraine.

Now, imagine if they all moved to Judea and Samaria.

All it takes is a single “gar’in”.

 

Record Number of US Dentists Planning Aliyah

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

An unprecedented number of 20 dentists from around the United States who are planning to make Aliyah to Israel took the Israeli Dentistry Licensing Exam, at the Nefesh B’Nefesh offices in Paramus, New Jersey, this week.

This is the largest group ever to take the test outside Israel.

Dentists who immigrate to Israel must pass the Dentistry Licensing Examination given by the Ministry of Health’s Dentistry Department in order to practice in Israel. The test has two parts – theoretical and practical – and takes place twice a year in various languages.

Israel’s Ministry of Health agreed to give the dentists  the opportunity to take the first theoretical exam in the United States to help expedite the process of obtaining an Israeli license and make the process easier for them. The dentists still have to complete the practical part of the exam when they arrive in Israel, and that part of the exam must be taken within three years of taking the theoretical exam.

“I think it’s an amazing thing to be able to have the opportunity to take the Israeli Government’s Dentistry Licensing Exam while I am still in the U.S.,” said Debbie Goldschmiedt of New York City, one of the dentists who took the exam today. “This new option is saving a lot of waiting time and energy, and more importantly, it will enable me to start working as a dentist and earn a living in Israel shortly after my Aliyah.”

With Olive Oil, Olim Spread the Light of Torah

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Two olim are taking charge to revitalize one of Israel’s oldest agricultural areas. Combining tzedakah and environmentalism, Nili Abrahams and Rabbi Shmuel Veffer, through their new organization, Shemen LaMeor, are harvesting olives that would otherwise be wasted, creating pure oil to raise money for yeshivas, schools, and food programs for needy families in their community, Yavne’el, and throughout the Lower Galilee.

From the Torah, the phrase “shemen lameor” means “oil that illuminates.” “The whole purpose,” says Abrahams, “is to use the oil to spread light… and light is Torah.”

To highlight the importance of trees, the pair, along with local rabbis and other community members, unveiled the organization this past Tu b’Shvat. The organization will use the area’s surplus olives and boutique kosher olive oil to build relationships within and beyond Israel.

They are also raising awareness about the increasingly dire situation in the region. The Lower Galilee, two hours from Jerusalem, had strong agricultural origins, which still attract many olim. “People love the idea of connection with the land,” says Abrahams, “of a safe haven for the children… a very simple lifestyle.” Yet that agricultural way of life is threatened by many forces.

Twenty minutes from Tiberias, Yavne’el, home to 3,000 residents, “had an incredible heyday of agriculture: tobacco, date palms, olives, citrus,” says Abrahams.

But the older generation of farmers can’t maintain their fields. And, she says, “if farmers can’t afford to keep up their farms… there is a significant number of Arabs waiting to buy up the land.”

According to the latest Israeli Census Bureau statistics, for 2011, the Arab population in northern Israel (not including Haifa) is just over 53 per cent, while Jews make up just under 44 per cent.

The Israeli government and organizations like Nefesh b’Nefesh have been battling to rebuild the Jewish presence in the region since the 1980s. In Dec. 2013, the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division announced its intention to build two new towns for 100,000 Jewish residents. At the time, MK Hanna Swaid criticized the move as part of a “demographic war” that is meaningless without “infrastructure improvements and a reduction in the… employment gaps.”

Idyllic in some ways, life in the Lower Galilee can be devastating for families. “Most of the men aren’t home for the week, just for Shabbat. Some travel to Jerusalem, some travel to Bnei Brak… to work, and then come home for Shabbat,” says Abrahams, who has run a bed and breakfast with her husband Arnie since making aliyah to the area from Toronto, Canada two and a half years ago.


Shemen LaMeor will create jobs and reinvigorate the region’s agriculture while preserving its unique character. “Kids here know how to plant, herd sheep, ride horses,” Abrahams says. “They really have a very good feel for the land; they know how to lead a simple life.”

Rabbi Veffer, creator of the KosherLamp, which has changed late-night Shabbat reading for religious families around the world, was Associate Rabbi of Toronto’s The Village Shul Aish HaTorah Learning Centre before returning to Israel nearly four years ago.

Abrahams says they both wanted to help out by tapping into local resources that would otherwise be wasted. “A lot of the olive trees are actually abandoned, not picked, nothing’s done with them.”

“The area is blessed with abundance,” she says. “Everyone’s got citrus and passionfruit and everyone’s got olives… We’re reclaiming the land, reclaiming the olives.”

Rich in Jewish history, the area around Yavne’el is where, according to the Book of Judges, the warrior Deborah led her battle against Canaanite general Sisera. It’s also the site of the Golani tree, the oak tree symbolizing the legendary IDF brigade. Nearby Tiberias is considered the fourth-holiest city in Judaism, where the Jerusalem Talmud was written and the great teacher Maimonides buried.

Shemen LaMeor has built relationships with farmers to secure 1500 dunam (1.5 square kilometres) of land to prepare for its first picking season this fall. They will compensate some farmers with a tax receipt, others with a percentage of the oil for personal use or resale.

Abrahams says the organization welcomes volunteers, seminary and yeshiva students, and other willing groups, who will donate their labour for a morning or afternoon and learn how olives are picked and processed into one of Israel’s purest, most ancient bounties. “We’ll press the oil for them on the spot… it’ll be a great part of their visit to the north.”

Together, they hope to extend the Jewish world’s appreciation for Israel in its entirety. “I see this as a way of going beyond Jerusalem,” says Abrahams. “Every single part of Israel is vital… to our existence.”

“The abundance here is God-given. We don’t want to waste that… so we’re using the abundance for ohr, to spread the light of Torah around the world.” For more information about Shemen LaMeor, visit shemenlameor.org.

Government Says Aliyah Stats from US Better than Previously Stated

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Official statistics on aliyah to Israel from the United States have been corrected to show that there was only a tiny change for the worse in the past year from the number of new immigrants in 2012.

The Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency issued a report in late December that aliyah from the United States and Canada was 11 percent less than in the previous year. Figures for the United States include new immigrants from Mexico as well as Canada.

“Empirical data actually shows that the aliyah figures from North America in 2013 remained almost the same as 2012,” according to an official statement.

There were 3,504 immigrants to Israel from North America in 2013, 53 less than in 2012.

Avigdor Lieberman Warns US Jews ‘You Are Facing a Catastrophe’

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

American Jews are facing nothing less than a demographic catastrophe, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserted on Tuesday in a speech at the Jerusalem meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

He quoted recent surveys that show that there are 6.1 million Jews in Israel and slightly less than 5.5 million in the United States, not including those who claim affiliation or identity with Judaism.

Lieberman emphasized that no Jew – whether in the Diaspora or in Israel and whether Reform Conservative or Orthodox – “is illegitimate and should be placed outside of the tent,” but he added. “There is a significant rise in those who have little or no Jewish content in their lives, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish.”

He pointed out, “The intermarriage rate has reached a high of 58% for all Jews, and 71% for non-Orthodox Jews, a huge change from before 1970 when only 17% of Jews intermarried.”

Attachment to Israel is markedly higher among older Jews, with only 32% of respondents under the age of 30 sharing the idea that “caring about Israel as an essential part of what being Jewish means to them.”

Lieberman then put the cards on the table and categorically stated they are stacked against the Diaspora.

“For many years, Israeli officials have called on our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, like many of you gathered here tonight, to donate your time, energies and funds to Israel,” he said. “However, I turn to you today and say that, while we are enormously and forever grateful for your assistance, we believe it is now time to concentrate on the challenges facing your own communities, especially those emanating from the dangerous trends in the Jewish community demonstrated in the recent survey.”

Lieberman was being kind. He could just as easily have said, “You American Jews sit as armchair generals for Israel, undermine our government’s struggle by deciding how we should deal with the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world while you don’t see that the ground in the Diaspora is crumbling under your feet.”

In more diplomatic language, he said, “Above all discussions on Iran and the Palestinians, your discussions with the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency should be focused on saving future generations.”

Lieberman stated that education is the key to fighting “assimilation, intermarriage and disengagement” but that “Jewish children are being kept from the Jewish classrooms because of the exorbitant and prohibitive costs of Jewish education in the United States.”

“On my last visit to New York, I met with a Russian Jewish family in Brooklyn,” Lieberman told his audience. “They told me that for their three children to attend good Jewish schools it would cost them around $100,000. They simply could not endure such costs. They are not alone. This situation is being replicated across the Jewish world, whether in the United States, Russia, France, Argentina, or elsewhere. If this situation persists, we will lose another six million Jews in a generation or two.”

He said that most Israeli diplomats abroad shun local Jewish schools and instead send their children to learn at international schools because the standard is higher.

“Sadly this is also reflective of the general Jewish population in places like the United States, where only around 12% of Jewish children attend Jewish schools, and when the Orthodox children are removed from the equation; it drops down to no more than a few per cent,” he added.

Lieberman proposed the creation of a global network of Jewish schools with a superior standard, and he committed the Israeli government to budget $365 million a year in matching funds for the project.

He also is looking forward to massive aliyah “The creation of an international network of Jewish schools is only the first part of my vision,” Lieberman declared. “In addition, my goal is to bring an additional 3.5 million Jews from the Diaspora in the next ten years so that the Jewish population in Israel will exceed 10 million.”

Jews are undoubtedly a major influence in American life, but the number of Jews who are Jewish “in name only” spells a dismal future for the Diaspora.

One of the most self-serving ways to deny the future is to accept the definition of a Jew as anyone who considers himself Jewish. That kind of identity is temporary, at best.

Jewish institutions and organizations maybe boasting larger numbers, but the meaning of Jewish is becoming emptier.

What Lieberman essentially told the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem Tuesday was, “Wake up. It’s later than you think.”

Anti-Semitism Spurs Increased Aliyah from France

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

A steady increase of Jews fleeing anti-Semitism and moving to Israel has prompted the Ministry of Absorption to submit for government approval a new plan to help them start new lives as “olim” [new immigrants].

In 2013, there were 3,301 new immigrants from France, the highest recorded number from that country since the year 2000.

Sofa Landver, on a visit to Paris Wednesday, told JTA that though she and her team expect mostly young immigrants, the ministry has prepared plans adapted to all ages and sectors, designed to ”erase all bureaucratic hurdles” which new arrivals are confronted with. In addition, the plan will consist of reinforcing in Paris and in other French cities the personnel who assist those interested in making aliyah.

Landver said that she will present the program in an upcoming Cabinet meeting.

”Immigrating to Israel is a decision each individual makes on his own,” emphasized the minister. ”But we consider it important to discuss our plans with the French Jewish leadership and to have their support.”

When asked whether she considered the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in France to be the prime motivation for immigration to Israel, the minister said that a community confronted with an increase in Jews leaving “reflects signs of discomfort, signs of insecurity and perhaps of anti-Semitism.”

She added, “Waves of Jews leaving their community are bound to have their reasons.”

The recurrent messages the minister and her team encountered in France were those of parents encouraging their children to build their future in Israel, rather than in their native land.

Anti-Semitism Spurs More European Jews to Flee

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Nearly one-third of European Jews are considering emigrating because of rising anti-Semitism, and 25 percent of Jews in Europe are afraid to appear in public with cloths or symbols that would identify them as Jews, a new report reveals.

There was no indication of which countries were the desired new homes of those wanting to flee, but Israel presumably is high on the list.

The study released in Israel prior to International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27 also shows that social websites on the Internet serve as a platform for rising anti-Semitism.

“Social networks have the growing ability to mobilize crowds to attend events, and [have increasing] influence in the political public sphere. They have also become a means of communication reaching hundreds of millions of people, also on aspects related to the disclosure of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism,” according to the report.

As earlier reported here, three pig heads were mailed to Rome’s main synagogue and to the Jewish Museum of Rome, which is displaying en exhibit concerning the Holocaust.

Naftali Bennett, who serves as Minister of Diaspora Affairs, said, “Like the efforts to delegitimize Israel, anti-Semitism is both a disgrace and a blot on every society. Trying to understand their ‘causes’ legitimizes them. There is no reason or justification for anti-Semitism.”

“Despite what people might think, anti-Semitism does not strengthen our ties with Jews overseas,” he said. “For every Jew who makes Aliya as a result of anti-Semitism, there are many others who cut ties with Judaism and the Jewish way of life.”

Birthright Expands Eligibility for Free Trips to Israel

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The Taglit-Birthright Israel program has expanded eligibility for its free 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18-26 to include teenagers who went on an educational trip to Israel during high school

Birthright’s eligibility guidelines previously stated, “If you have been to Israel before but only with your family or on other personal business, you are still eligible. However, if you have been to Israel as part of a touring group, educational program, study program or an organized extended residential program since you were 12 years old, you are not eligible.”

“I think everybody thought about [the change in the eligibility guidelines] for many years, and everybody wanted to have it,” Noa Bauer, Birthright’s vice president of international marketing, told JNS.org.

“It was a matter of funding, and I think today you see more anti-Israel things on campus, and we realized over the years that people that have been to Israel again have more confidence for talking about Israel, and geopolitics, and anything pertaining to Israel after visiting with Birthright Israel. I think we’re one of the best platforms to do that for college students.”

In the 13-plus years since philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt joined forces with the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency for Israel, global Jewish communities, and other philanthropists to fund Birthright, the program has taken about 350,000 young Jews to Israel.

A series of studies by Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies have shown that former Birthright participants are 42 percent more likely to feel “very much” connected to Israel compared to people who didn’t go on the trip. Program participants are also more likely to belong to a religious congregation than those who did not attend Birthright, and participants are also slightly more likely than non-participants to make charitable contributions to Jewish or Israeli causes, according to the Cohen Center research.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/birthright-expands-eligibility-for-free-trips-to-israel/2014/01/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: