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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Agency for Israel’

700 Brazilian Jews to Make Aliyah in 2016, Triple the Annual Average

Monday, November 21st, 2016

According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency for Israel, some 700 olim from Brazil will have arrived in Israel by the end of 2016, more than three times the annual average of approximately 200. This marks a 45-year record in Brazilian Aliyah, which last reached similar levels in the 1970’s.

“The Brazilian Jewish community is a warm, Zionist community with strong ties to Israel,” said Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, who is currently visiting Brazil to survey Jewish Agency there and meet with the local Jewish community.

“Since Israel’s establishment, more than 15,000 Brazilian Jews have immigrated to Israel, contributing to the Jewish state’s national character and strength,” Sharansky said, noting that recent years have seen an increase in the number of Jewish young people from Brazil who have arrived in Israel to participate in the Jewish Agency experience programs through Masa Israel Journey.

Sharansky participated in a festive event organized by Confederação Israelita do Brasil (CONIB, the umbrella organization of Brazilian Jewry) Saturday night in São Paulo. During the course of his visit, he will also meet with Brazilian Jews who are about to immigrate to Israel, as well as with member of Jewish youth movements.

The head of the Jewish Agency delegation in Brazil, Revital Poleg, noted that Aliyah from this country has been steadily increasing over the past three years, along with interest in life in Israel. The increase in Aliyah is taking place in the midst of an economic crisis, but is also rooted in the Brazilian Jewish community’s strong ties to Israel. “Many of the immigrants note that they view Israel as a place where they can lead Jewish lives in an environment that feels like home,” said Poleg.

According to Poleg, “some seventy percent of the immigrants are young families who want to provide their children with high-quality education, or young people looking to start university studies in Israel and build their careers there.”

According to CONIB, the Jewish community of Brazil numbers approximately 120,000 and is the second largest in Latin America, after Argentina. The largest communities are located in São Paulo (55,000), Rio de Janeiro (30,000), and Porto Alegre (10,000). Approximately 100 smaller communities are scattered throughout Brazil, which is the fifth-largest country in the world.

David Israel

President Reuven Rivlin’s eulogy at the funeral of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres

Friday, September 30th, 2016

“Laugh and play with my dreams, I am the dreamer who wanders. Play because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.” So wrote the poet Shaul Tchernichovsky, and so you played, our dear President, during the uplifting moments of elation, in times of difficulty and crisis, and with the small joys of day-to-day life, “because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.”

I am speaking to you today for the final time Shimon, “as one President to another”, as you would say each time you called to offer strength and good advice. As I speak, my eyes search for you, our dear brother, our older brother, and you are not there. Today you are gathered to your forefathers in the land which you loved so, but your dreams remain, and your beliefs uninterred. As one man you carried an entire nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. The “Brave son”, was the pseudonym you chose as a youth, as the name of Isaiah the Prophet, a visionary. Yet, you were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds. Like you, I was also born into the Zionist Movement in those decisive years between vision and fulfillment. I was fortunate to look up to you as a partner in the building of the State of Israel from its very foundations. For both of us, the State of Israel could never be taken for granted. However, with much thanks to you Shimon, for our sons and daughters, for our friends – and yes for our opponents – the State of Israel is an indisputable fact.

You had the rare ability, Shimon, to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition. Your eyes saw far ahead, while your feet covered great distances on the landscape of Jewish and Zionist history. You always walked onward and upward, as a skilled mountaineer who secures his hook before ascending ever higher to the peak. This is how you lived your life. At first you would dream, and only when in your mind’s eye could you truly see the State of Israel reaching new heights, would you then begin to climb, and take us all with you towards the new goal. You succeeded in moving even the most stubborn of politicians, and to melt away even the hardest of hearts of our opponents. You strived until your final breaths to reach the pinnacle of the Zionist dream: an independent, sovereign state, existing in peace with our neighbors. Yet you also knew that true peace could only be achieved from a position of strength, and you were sure to secure the path to this goal. Few among us understand, and much more will be written about how many mountains you moved, from the days of the State’s establishment and till today in order to ensure our security and our military qualitative edge. How deep was your belief in the sacred combination of ethical leadership and military prowess, that Israel must act not just with wisdom, but with justice, faithful at every moment to its values as a Jewish and democratic state, democratic and Jewish.

My dear Shimon, you were the only one in the history of the State of Israel to serve in the three most senior positions in government: Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and Finance Minister. You are the only one to have served as Prime Minister and as President. It is no exaggeration to say that: more than you were blessed to be President of this great nation, this nation was blessed to have you as its President. In all these roles you were our head, but even more so, my dear friend, you were our heart; a heart that loved the people, the land, and the State. A heart which loved each and every person, a heart which cared for them.

Your stubborn faith in mankind and the good of people – in the victory of progress over ignorance, in the victory of hope over fear – was your eternal fountain of youth, thanks to which you were the eternal fountain of youth for all of us. The man of whom we thought time could never stop. With all your love for history and tremendous knowledge of history, you despised wallowing in the past, or being entrenched in a sense of self justice at the cost of the possibilities and opportunities that tomorrow brings. “The future is more important than the past” you said. “What happened yesterday does not interest me, only tomorrow does,” you would say. The love you received, which transcended political divides in the later years of your life – from your supporters and opponents – was an expression of the yearning of all us to be infected by your unequivocal optimism. Even when we did not agree with you we wanted to believe that perhaps you were right. Believe me, it was not easy to refuse your optimism, and at times your innocence.

Who more than you knew the heavy price of innocence, and yet, who more than you believed that heavier still was the price of mediocrity and being of little faith?

Shimon, I unashamedly confess, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, at your graveside among the graves of the leaders of our nation, also your forgiveness must be asked. We will ask your forgiveness. It was permitted to disagree with you. Your opponents had a duty to express their opinion. However, there were years in which red lines were crossed between ideological disputes and words and deeds which had no place. You always acted according to what you believed with all you heart was best for the people, whom you served.

As President, you were for us an honest advocate. You taught many around the world to love the State of Israel, and you taught us to love ourselves, not to speak ill, and see the good and the beautiful in everything.

This is a sad day, Shimon, this is a sad day. The journey of your dreams which began in Vishnyeva, comes to its end in Jerusalem our capital, which is also a dream which became a reality. Your death is a great personal and national loss, as it is also the end on an era, the end of the era of giants whose lives’ stories are the stories of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. This is our profound feeling today. A feeling of the end of an era in the nation’s life, the end of a chapter in our lives. Our farewell to you is also a farewell to us from ourselves. When we see world leaders – our friends from near and far – who have come here to bid you their final respects, we understand that not only here but across the world you will be missed. And all of us already miss you. Farewell Shimon. The man whose ‘ways are pleasant, and all of his paths peaceful’. Rest in peace, and act (in Heaven) as an honest advocate for the people of Israel whom you loved so. “Because my soul aspires for freedom, I did not sell her for a golden calf. Because I will also believe in man, in his spirit, his spirit of strength.” Farewell Mr. President.

Jewish Press Staff

Israeli President Welcomes 50,000th Oleh Brought Home by Nefesh B’nefesh

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

A group of 233 Olim (newcomers) landed Wednesday morning in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport on an El Al Boeing 777 chartered by Nefesh B’Nefesh to begin new lives in Israel. The flight celebrated the Aliyah of the 50,000th newcomer through the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, which was founded in 2002. Among the newcomers were 75 “lone soldiers” who will become Israeli citizens and volunteer to serve in the IDF. The flight was a collaborative project of Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah & Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, JNF-USA and Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.

More than half of the 75 soon-to-be soldiers are young women. Rebecca Glanzer, 22, from Brooklyn, NY, graduated recently from Columbia University with a degree in economics and is hoping to serve in the IDF’s Artillery Brigade. “I have been looking forward to making Aliyah and serving as a lone soldier in the IDF for so many years, and it is so crazy to me that this dream I had in high school is finally being realized,” said Glanzer. She then explained: “What drew me to Israel was the community and sense of belonging that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Being the 50,000th person to make Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh only affirms for me that I am part of something bigger, joining the thousands of people who took the opportunity to live a more meaningful and more Jewish life in Israel. I can’t believe it’s finally happening.”

The flight included a diverse mix of people from 22 US states and one Canadian province, including 24 families, 78 children and 10 medical professionals. The ages ranged from three and a half weeks to 85 years old.

Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 50,000 Oleh Rebecca Glanzer with (L-R) Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, President Reuven Rivlin, Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, and Tony Gelbart, co-founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh / Photo credit: Shahar Azran

Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 50,000 Oleh Rebecca Glanzer with (L-R) Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, President Reuven Rivlin, Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, and Tony Gelbart, co-founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh / Photo credit: Shahar Azran

“This is such an honor for me to join you at this special moment, The moment you have all come home,” President Reuven Rivlin said at the ceremony welcoming the group. He continued, “You are no longer Jews in exile, you are now all Israelis. Each of you, young and old, men and women, have fulfilled the dream of 2000 years, you have made Aliyah.”

“I know the decision to make Aliyah is not easy, leaving behind family and friends, looking for work, starting in new schools, learning a new language. There are challenges ahead but we are all here to support you and help you build your new home,” the President said.

Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver told the newcomers that “the State of Israel salutes the young people who chose to leave their comfortable lives in North America in order to make the greatest contribution to the country’s national security and its people. I congratulate them and the other Olim who make Aliyah as a result of the cooperation between the Ministry and our partner in Aliyah, Nefesh B’Nefesh. I’m confident, and I promise, that the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption will accompany these Olim and take care of them throughout their entire integration process.”

Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, pointed out that “every single family and individual we bring to Israel who decides to make Aliyah is such a special thing for us as an organization, but when you see so many brave young men and women from North America sacrifice so much and voluntarily leave their families because they feel a yearning desire to serve in the IDF and defend Israel, that’s powerful.”

He reminisced how “back in 2002 when Tony Gelbart and I founded this organization, we couldn’t have imagined bringing 50,000 Jews from North America to Israel to fulfill their dreams and the dreams of the Jewish people. And we’re not stopping anytime soon.”

Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said, “We are proud of our partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh, and every new planeload of North American Olim strengthens and enriches our country. The immigrants arriving from the United States and Canada are coming not out of distress but rather out of excitement to take part in the greatest national project of the Jewish people, said. We must ensure that the State of Israel remains a place in which every Jew feels at home, a place that ignites Jews’ imagination and strengthens their identity and security. I would particularly like to welcome the dozens of young people who are choosing to build their lives in Israel: your success is our success, and your future is our future. Welcome home!”

Gary Vitkin, CEO of Tzofim Tzabar Olami, said, “The touching stories of the participants are inspiring and encourage us to continue to give them the warm hug that they deserve, these young adults from all over the world come to Israel to serve in the IDF as Lone Soldiers. One of the most meaningful accomplishments of Tzofim – Garin Tzabar that is in collaboration with The Jewish Agency, Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Kibbutz Movement and Nefesh B’Nefesh is the unique dynamic that is formed by the teens is made possible by these organizations and I am happy to see that this success is translated to building a future in Israel.”

JNi.Media

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.

JNi.Media

Tuesday 223 American Olim Made Israel their Home

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

On Tuesday, July 19, a flight with 223 olim from the US and Canada landed in Ben-Gurion International Airport, where a ceremony was held to welcome them to Israel.

KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar said that “the Aliyah to Israel is the foundation on which the Zionist enterprise stands. It is the clearest expression of our love to the land of Israel.”

“The strategic cooperation between KKL-JNF and Nefesh Be’Nefesh assists many diaspora Jews to find their way to Israel, build their home there, integrate in the Israeli society and contribute to the prosperity of Israel,” Atar said, adding, “I am sure that many Olim will encounter KKL-JNF down the road … We are here for you and proud of you.”

The 223 newcomers include Jews from 17 US states and two Canadian provinces, former servicemen from three different US Armed Forces units, families of all sizes, and young professionals.

JNi.Media

Tzohar Condemns Nullification of Rabbi Lookstein’s Conversions as Chief Rabbi Reverses Ruling

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Following a meeting in New York with Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar rabbinical organization on Tuesday expressed his full support for the rabbi after the Petach Tikva Rabbinical Court had nullified conversions which had been performed by Rabbi Lookstein.

Also on Tuesday, Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi David Lau, overruled a decision by the lower rabbinic court, officially accepting the conversion performed by Rabbi Lookstein.

Rabbi Lookstein, the spiritual leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and for many years principal of the Ramaz School, also converted Ivanka Marie Trump, daughter of Republican party preumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump.

However, because in 2009 Rabbi Lookstein participated in the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the primary American modern-orthodox rabbinic association, took exception to his presence, stating that “participation in a prayer service held in the sanctuary of a church is prohibited,” ruling that “any member of the RCA who attends such a service does so in contravention of this policy and should not be perceived as representing the organization in any capacity.”

Last month, a woman who was converted to Judaism by Rabbi Lookstein was refused recognition as a Jew by an Israeli Rabbinical Court in Petach Tikvah, which stirred up the ongoing international controversy over who outside the Israeli Rabbinate is allowed to perform conversions to the Jewish faith. The Israeli court simply couldn’t find Lookstein’s name on the RCA list of accredited conversion rabbis.

“This decision causes three several major problems which cannot be ignored,” Rabbi Stav said in a statement. “First, there is an explicit halakhic ruling that we should not oppress a convert. The conversion that has been nullified by the court was of a clearly well-intentioned, ‘righteous convert,’ and it is inconceivable that simply because of outright bureaucratic considerations a conversion would be nullified.”

“Second, this decision further deepens the already troubling divide between Israel and the Diaspora,” according to Rabbi Stav. “And, most troubling of all, it leads to a situation where assimilation, both here in Israel and in the Diaspora, is allowed to go unchecked. Because when we have a situation where well-intentioned converts are being disregarded simply because their conversion was officiated by a nationalist and modern Orthodox rabbi, what message does this send to those interested in converting according to halakha?”

The rejection of conversions performed by Lookstein was condemned by the Jewish Agency for Israel, which is the world body “responsible for the immigration … and absorption of Jews and their families from the Diaspora into Israel.”

Rabbi Lau said in letters to key Israeli politicians that the Chief Rabbinate Council, due to convene on Wednesday, will hear an appeal of the Petach Tikvah rabbinic court decision, adding he was confident the Chief Rabbinate’s position would clear away all the concerns regarding conversions by non-Israeli Orthodox rabbis.

David Israel

Hundreds of Jewish Leaders in First-Ever Jewish Agency Board of Governors Meetings in Paris

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world will gather in Paris next week as the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel convenes in that city for the first time ever, in an unprecedented expression of solidarity with the French Jewish community.

French Minister of State for Relations with Parliament Jean-Marie Le Guen, Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, and Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant will address the gathering, as will Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, President of the CRIF (the umbrella of French Jewish communal organizations) Roger Cukierman, President of the Consistoire (the organization responsible for French Jewish religious affairs) Joël Mergui, and other leaders of the local Jewish community.

During the course of the three-day event (next Sunday through Tuesday), the Jewish Agency Board of Governors will join the Paris Jewish community at a special event at the Great Synagogue of Paris (La Victoire) bidding farewell to community members who will be making Aliyah this summer. Participants will also interact with French Jewish youth, receive a security briefing from the Jewish communal security service (SPCJ), and learn about the most pressing issues facing the community.

The event will end with the European finals of the 2016 International Bible Competition for Adults, hosted jointly by The Jewish Agency, the Government of Israel, and the World Zionist Organization.

Sharansky said in a statement: “This gathering of hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world is the single greatest expression of the Jewish people’s solidarity with French Jewry. The Jewish Agency will continue to assist any French Jew who wishes to make his or her home in Israel while simultaneously doing everything in our power to ensure that Jewish life in France grows even stronger and more secure.”

France is home to the second-largest Jewish community in the world outside Israel, and Aliyah from France has topped the charts in recent years, with some 33,000 French Jews immigrating to Israel over the past decade, including 7,800 just last year. The Jewish Agency for Israel has increased significantly its presence in France, in order to handle the influx of French Jewish immigrants and has expanded specialized opportunities for French Jewish young people to experience life in Israel through the Masa Israel Journey and Onward Israel.

Among the unique Jewish Agency programs offered to the French Jewish community are Bac Bleu Blanc, a weeklong Israel experience program for French Jewish teens; Zayit, a Jewish identity curriculum taught in French Jewish schools; and a range of informational seminars and Aliyah opportunity fairs custom-designed for specific demographic groups within French Jewry. The Jewish Agency also helps French Jewish communal institutions provide for their security through the organization’s Emergency Assistance Fund for Jewish Communities, established in the wake of the Toulouse terror attack in 2012.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hundreds-of-jewish-leaders-in-first-ever-jewish-agency-board-of-governors-meetings-in-paris/2016/06/22/

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