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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Agency’

Thousands Participate in French Aliyah Fair

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

PARIS – Thousands of Jews from throughout France participated in an Aliyah information fair held in central Paris earlier today (March 30) and organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the World Zionist Organization. Participants met with representatives of dozens of Israeli organizations and institutions, including government ministries and local authorities, and received information on opportunities for life in Israel, Aliyah programs for young people, educational programs for teenagers, employment counseling, and more.

According to Jewish Agency figures, Aliyah from France has risen sharply since the start of the year: 854 new olim (immigrants) from France arrived in Israel during the months of January and February, compared to 274 during the comparable period in 2013. This threefold (312%) increase is due in part to increased efforts by The Jewish Agency to strengthen the French Jewish community’s relationship to Israel through educational programs, information sessions, and Aliyah fairs, as well as to the economic situation in France and communal insecurity due to anti-Semitism. 2014 is thus set to continue the significant upward trend in French Aliyah, which saw the arrival of 3,280 new olim in 2013, a 70% increase compared to the 1,917 olim who arrived in 2012.

In addition to the increase in Aliyah from France, The Jewish Agency has seen a significant rise in the number of Jewish young people interested in participating in Israel experience programs. Some 1,000 Jewish high school students recently participated in The Jewish Agency’s Bac Bleu Blanc (“High School Seniors in Blue and White”) program, which enables students at Jewish schools to explore opportunities for life in Israel following their graduation from high school. Additionally, 1,000 French Jewish young people are currently participating in Masa Israel Journey, a partnership between the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency that enables young Jews to experience life in Israel, compared to 500 just two years ago. Some 70% of French Masa participants make Aliyah upon completing the program.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency unveiled a new government plan to encourage Aliyah from France. The plan includes boosting the number of Jewish Agency shlichim (emissaries) in France, increasing marketing efforts, developing new immigrant absorption programs, and establishing a special committee headed by the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office to remove obstacles to French Aliyah. The plan also sets clear benchmarks for increasing the number of olim, seeking to double their numbers in the coming years. This groundbreaking plan is the result of intensive cooperation between the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency, along with the World Zionist Organization, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, and Keren Hayesod-UIA, all of which are working together for the first time in order to strengthen French Aliyah. The plan was developed in consultation and cooperation with French Jewish organizations, both in France and in Israel.

Jewish Agency Offers Emergency Help to Ukraine’s Jews

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

The Jewish Agency said it would offer immediate emergency assistance to Ukraine’s Jewish community and will help secure the country’s Jewish institutions.

Saturday evening’s announcement by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky came hours after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev and the Ukrainian parliament announced new presidential elections for late May. Violent protests led to the deaths of dozens in the days leading up to the coup.

There are about 200,000 Jews living in Ukraine, most in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, according to the Jewish Agency.

Sharanksky said in a statement that Ukraine “one of most vibrant Jewish communities in the world, with dozens of active Jewish organizations and institutions. Recent events have shown that we must strengthen these institutions’ security measures. We have a moral responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Ukraine’s Jews,” said Sharansky.

Sharansky told Jewish Agency leadership on Saturday night that the organization is in “constant contact” with the Jewish community leadership in Ukraine, and is following events there closely.

Assistance will come from The Jewish Agency’s Emergency Assistance Fund for Jewish Communities, which provides financial assistance to enable Jewish communities to strengthen security measures in Jewish communities at risk.

Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman told the Israeli daily Maariv that he advised his congregation to leave Kiev and the country, if possible. Azman closed the Kiev Jewish community’s schools due to the violence, Maariv reported. Azman also told the newspaper that the Israeli embassy advised the members of the Jewish community to remain in their homes.

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.

Come Home, Ms. Shapiro, It’s All Good

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Lynne Shapiro commented on my article Am I Jewish Enough? Depends which Government Ministry You’re Asking, which in turn was my comment on an article by Judy Maltz, in both Haaretz and the Forward, Jewish Enough for Birthright — But Not for Israel: Kafkaesque Dilemmas Bedevil Would-Be Immigrants.

“OK Mr.,” Shapiro opened with an admirable vigor, “I am Jewish through a Reform Converted mother and a born to a Jewish mother father and have been more so living a Jewish life since he died and I became his Kaddish in my uncle’s Conservative Egalitarian synagogue (at his insistence). So if I’m not Jewish enough for you to return to Israel, why would I want to give any funds to any group that gives money to Israel as I have done over the years?”

And she added, in a separate comment:

“Also my Reform Convert mother was a total and complete Zionist and made me one! This ‘who is Jew’ is like what the Nazis did to determine who went to the camps IMHO (in my humble opinion)!”

Dear Ms. Shapiro,

First, whatever money you’ve donated to Israel through any group, most of it stays in America, to support the group’s works there, and to pay for the fundraising overhead. Israel’s economy at this point is a lot stronger and more boisterous than that of the U.S., and you should keep your money over there, we don’t need it.

Especially if you’re going to wave it in our faces every time we do something you dislike. Hold on to the money, buy yourself something nice, let’s not base our friendship on your ever diminishing U.S. dollar.

Next, as I understand the current Law of Return, your credentials are good enough to be accepted here as a citizen as soon as your arrive. In fact, they’ll probably make you a citizen even earlier, at the nearest Israeli consulate. They did that with my wife, Nancy, back in NYC, in the fall of 2011.

But why do you care about that? You ain’t planning to come here – you’re just working out a sweat over the fact that if ever you had decided to come over and make aliyah, then Israel would reject you. The problem is not with Israel in this case, but with you.

If you and the rest of America’s Jews knew what’s good for them, they’d be cramming the airports, looking to get out and make it to a safe haven in the Jewish State. IMHO, if you’re so familiar with what the Nazis did—use that acquired wisdom and get out of there while the getouting is good. We will embrace you and accept you and love you, no matter how your Mom converted. You can check it with your local Jewish Agency or Nefesh B’Nesfesh. Locate your nearest office of either and give them a call.

I wish all of us have learned a lesson from the Nazis. The late Lubavitcher Rebbe of righteous memory (who departed almost 20 years ago), used to say that we should learn from the Gestapo: how dedicated they were in seeking out every last Jew, no matter how far and how well hidden. We, too, must seek the hidden, faraway Jews, with the same dedication and self sacrifice as those Nazis, may God obliterate their memory.

So now you have it, holy sister – come home, call me up, I’ll take you to the Netanya beach, buy you a drink, point at the baby blue sky and the blue-green Mediterranean and say, Welcome home.

Summit on Israel-Diaspora Relations

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Some 120 Jewish leaders from Israel and around the world convened for a two-day summit on formulating a plan to strengthen the connection between Israel and Diaspora Jewish communities.

Run in conjunction with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the summit on Wednesday and Thursday will focus, in part, on strengthening Jewish identity among Jewish young adults worldwide.

Organizers said it will build on the 10-day Birthright Israel trips offered to young adults and on the long-term Masa Israel study, internship and volunteer programs in Israel – both of which are partially funded by the Israeli government. Israel invests $127 million annually in these and other programs meant to build bridges between Israel and world Jewry.

“Building on past success, the Government of Israel is determined to champion and co-create, with world Jewry, a multi-layered initiative that guarantees a thriving future for the next generation of Jews,” a planning document for the summit read. “This new initiative has the potential to move to another and more mature level, in terms of cooperation, commitment, content and funding.”

Planning for the summit began last year under the supervision of a task force led by Harel Locker, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office. The summit aims to formulate plans to increase Israel education and advocacy – as well as enhance Jewish identity – in the Diaspora, and to promote immigration to Israel.

The plan detailing the summit’s conclusions is due out in 2014.

“The government of Israel believes it plays a central and crucial role in ensuring the future and continuity of the Jewish people in full partnership with Jewish communities of the Diaspora,” Locker said at the summit’s opening event. “Jewish communities play a central and crucial role in fighting the attacks on the legitimacy of the state of Israel, in full partnership with the state of Israel.”

New York, Pennsylvania Sukkahs Top ‘Sukkathon’ Competition

Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Sukkah in Queensbury, New York assisted living facility shares top ranking in 'Sukkathon'

Sukkah in Queensbury, New York assisted living facility shares top ranking in ‘Sukkathon’

Three sukkahs, two in the United States and one in Israel, will share the title of “Number One Sukkah” as the winners of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s first Sukkathon competition.

The three winners are the sukkah at Terrace at the Glen, an assisted living facility in Queensbury, New York; the Schachter family sukkah in Pennsylvania; and the sukkah of the Jewish Agency’s Ye’elim Immigrant Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva, Israel.

“We are starting a New Year and these olim (immigrant) children represent the real hope in this country,” said competition judge Betina Schnaid, an artist who made aliyah from Brazil. “I wish for them to be happy in Israel for many years, and that each one give the best of themselves to improve this country and that the ceiling gets higher over the time and that they will have their own families in Israel. The sky is the limit for these beautiful olim!”

 

Agunot Activist Woman Appointed to Panel for Jewish Judges

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has appointed the first woman as one of the members of the State Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges.

Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the Project for the Prevention of Agunot and Get-Refusal of the International Young Israel Movement and the Jewish Agency, was named to the panel based on her expertise in Talmudic and Jewish law and her social activism on behalf of “agunim,” women who cannot re-marry because their ex-husbands refused to grant them a divorce, as required by Jewish law before re-marriage.

Dr. Levmore has actively brought about the spread of the acceptance of prenuptial agreements as a successful preventative tool to the problem of the agunah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/agunot-activist-woman-appointed-to-panel-for-jewish-judges/2013/09/10/

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