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Israeli Cabinet Approves Ethiopian Airlift

This week, the Israeli cabinet approved plans to bring home 3,000 more Ethiopian Jews in an emergency airlift out of war-torn Ethiopia. The Jewish Agency for Israel has requested the assistance of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem with this massive operation expected in the coming weeks, and we are reaching out to Christians worldwide for your help with this urgent, historic wave of Aliyah.

The decision to evacuate the 3,000 Jewish immigrants came amid reports of an escalation in the civil war in Ethiopia, with the president recently declaring a nationwide state of emergency and even going personally to the front lines to lead the battle against the rebel Tigray militia. This has led to growing calls from within the local Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel for an “Operation Solomon II.”

The most vocal advocate for such an airlift has been Pnina Tamano-Shata, the current Minister of Aliyah and Integration who arrived in Israel from Ethiopia herself at age three in an emergency airlift in the 1980s. There were reports she was even ready to quit the Bennett-Lapid government if her evacuation pleas were turned down.

Under the agreement reached by Tamano-Shata and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, the government will bring 3,000 of the Ethiopian Jews still living in transit camps in Addis Ababa and Gondar, provided they arrived in the camps more than ten years ago and also have first-degree relatives already living in Israel.

The new cabinet decision will help implement an earlier government resolution from 2015 to bring home to Israel the last 9,000 eligible ‘Falash Mura’ – Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors were coerced to convert to Christianity several generations back. Over 4,000 have already been brought to Israel – more than half of them on Aliyah flights sponsored by the ICEJ. The current plans will bring another 3,000 “in the coming weeks,” leaving 2,000 or so to bring at a later stage.

The Jewish remnant still in Ethiopia have been living in run-down transit camps waiting for up to two decades now to finally be reunited with their families who have already reached Israel. This gives us an opportunity to help lift them out of poverty and the growing dangers of the raging conflict, as well as to bring loved ones back together after many painful years of separation.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has pledged to be an active partner in this emergency airlift by offering to sponsor at least 200 Ethiopian Jews on the first flights coming out of Addis Ababa. With your help, we can bring home even more Ethiopian Jews, so they can reach safety in Israel and finally rejoin their families in the Promised Land.

Please give your best gift today to help with this urgent and historic Aliyah operation.

 

Hanukkah Sameach

On behalf of all the staff at the ICEJ here in Jerusalem, I want to wish all of our Jewish friends around the world a very happy Hanukkah.

We join with the Jewish people in celebrating this special holiday, which recalls the miraculous provision the people of Israel enjoyed when the “sons of Zion” prevailed over the “sons of Greece” during the time of the Maccabees (Zechariah 9:13).

Furthermore, we call on our global constituency to tirelessly lift up Israel in prayer, trusting in the Almighty for His continued provision for the nation and to complete His work of making Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

Hanukkah Sameach!

Dr. Jürgen Bühler
ICEJ President

ICEJ delivering 36 new bomb shelters to vulnerable Israeli towns

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is currently delivering thirty-six new portable bomb shelters to Israeli border communities which are especially vulnerable to rocket and mortar fire from Gaza and Lebanon. The funds for these three dozen new shelters have all been raised from Christians worldwide in the past six months since the last Hamas rocket war in May.

With these new shelters, the ICEJ has now donated at total of 161 bomb shelters to Israeli communities under rocket threat since 2008, with the majority (130) placed in towns along the Gaza periphery and the remaining shelters deployed in the North.

Over the past decade, the Negev region has received most of the attention from government and private sources seeking to better protect the local civilian population from frequent rocket barrages. Working in partnership with Operation Lifeshield, the Christian Embassy has placed dozens of mobile bomb shelters in communities in the Gaza envelope, stretching from Kerem Shalom in the south all the way up through Sderot and Ashkelon. Most have been donated to schools, daycare centers, medical clinics, youth centers, community halls, university campuses, factories and other public places which cannot operate during times of crisis without adequate bomb shelters.

However, the need for more bomb shelters in the North has become an increasing concern, especially due to the severe lack of public shelters and Lebanon’s growing economic crisis. Thus, the Christian Embassy is increasing its efforts to assist towns in the northern Galilee and Haifa regions to protect their most vulnerable communities.

A State Comptroller report issued last year warned that 2.6 million residents of northern Israel do not have access to functional bomb shelters. While there have been efforts to upgrade existing shelters, the state budget has provided little funding to add new and better shelters, due in part to the instability of Israel’s government over recent years and the priority given to resupplying the IDF’s Iron Dome batteries, the report concluded.

The need for more shelters is most acute in the towns right along the northern border with Lebanon, which are prone to shorter range rockets that cannot be stopped by the Iron Dome system. This hilly, forested area contains a diverse mosaic of Jewish, Arab and Druze towns which are desperately looking for funding to provide better protection for their communities. Other areas of concern are the Jewish and Arab farming villages in the Zevulun regional council just east of Haifa, which are close to strategic facilities – such as oil storage tanks and chemical plants – which Hizbullah is expected to target in any future conflict.

Currently, the Christian Embassy is delivering some of its 36 new shelters to public places in Haifa, Akko, Kfar Maccabi and elsewhere – all in consultation with local authorities, security chiefs and social agencies. This week, for instance, two new bomb shelters were delivered and dedicated on Tuesday (11/23) at the Israel Tennis Center facilities in Akko (Acre), which teaches tennis and other sports to Jewish and Arab youths from disadvantaged families.

Just in recent weeks, the ICEJ has delivered bomb shelters to several Jewish and Arab communities in the Zevulun region, as well as to kibbutzim and moshavim along the Gaza border. This includes: Kibbutz Usha (two kindergartens); Kibbutz Nahal Oz (guard tower); Kibbutz Or HaNer (security gate); Kibbutz Beror Chayil (soccer field); Kibbutz Nir Am (museum and café); and Moshav Mictachim (tomato packing farm).

Since the latest rocket war with Hamas in Gaza back in May, the ICEJ has received donations for new bomb shelters from Christians in dozens of countries, most notably from Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Fiji, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and United States.

“Many Israelis living along the Gaza border have told us that these mobile bomb shelters indeed save lives and give their families the peace of mind they need to continue their daily lives under the constant threat of rocket attacks,” said ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler. “We now want to focus more on the need for additional bomb shelters to protect civilians in the North. The existing public shelters are not enough and these portable shelters are an effective way to provide greater security to the smaller towns and villages in the Galilee and Haifa regions that are often overlooked.”

“In selecting where to place these shelters, the Christian Embassy looks to meet other social needs in the community as well, such as helping the tennis center in Akko which gives sports lessons to disadvantaged youths,” added Dr Bühler. “We also are pleased to promote Jewish-Arab coexistence by sharing these shelters among the diverse communities in the North.”

To view larger photos of the recent bomb shelter deliveries, go to: facebook.com/ICEJofficial/

To make a donation towards more portable bomb shelters for Israeli communities under rocket threat, please give to our ‘Israel in Crisis’ fund.
 

 

CREDIT PHOTOS to: Christian Embassy/Operation Lifeshield

Igniting creativity in Israel’s elderly

Growing elderly in a land that you have immigrated to may be daunting and far from a comfortable thought.

Many of the Jewish immigrants arriving in Israel from such lands as Ethiopia, the former Soviet republics, South America, and Iran, are already advanced in age, and come only with their suitcases! They need to begin rebuilding their entire life from scratch, often facing significant economic and social challenges.

While retirement is often referred to as the ‘golden years’, many of these immigrants have not built up enough savings to see them through the fast-approaching retirement years, nor do they have a personal pension to sustain them for the rest of their lives. They soon find themselves in the dire situation where they need additional income simply to survive.

Here at the ICEJ, we have a heart for these low-income elderly Jewish immigrants and believe in restoring their dignity. When the occasion arose to give ‘a Future and a Hope’ to these senior citizens by empowering them through meaningful work opportunities, the Christian Embassy was quick to respond!

For nearly 300 low-income elderly people, mostly aged 80+ years, life can now look a little brighter when they get up in the morning.

Arriving by bus and train to an artisan workshop center in Jerusalem, they meet up with friends in a room full of chatter and look forward to a productive day of creating a wide range of Judaica and gifts from ceramics, jewelry, metalwork, papier-mâché and textiles. One by one, they head off to the respective rooms to perform their specific skills, to the highest quality of artisanship. The unique items produced by hand are sold on-site, as well as on-line.

Marsha is so grateful for this artisan center, which is a lifesaver for him. Arriving in Israel from Ethiopia along with his wife and their six children at the age of 67, he had no savings or trade. Speaking very limited Hebrew, he struggled with adjusting to a new way of life and for several years did odd jobs to earn an income. This was extremely difficult for him, as he was used to working in the fields to support his family.

He began working in the ceramics workshop at the artisan center at the age of 72. Although he knew how to paint, he found it quite challenging to paint dainty motifs on the ceramic items despite his determination to learn. However, his ceramic instructor noticed his unique patience for repeating abstract patterns. Soon she developed a new home décor product line to suit Marsha’s skills, and he now takes great joy in painting beautiful ceramic pieces with black dots and sparkling 24K gold accents!

Sixty-five percent of these elderly artisans have survived the Holocaust and others have walked across the Sudan to save their families from war and famine.

In addition to having a sense of purpose and creating a beautiful item of value, each artisan receives financial benefits which improve their standard of living by enabling them to pay for their housing, food and medication, and enjoy a little treat too! They also receive a travel pass, a nourishing hot meal each day, and a holiday bonus. For some, an annual day trip outside of Jerusalem is a definite highlight of the year!

Another artisan, Dinka, who is 87 years old, happily goes about fulfilling her duties in the bookbinding workshop. “This is the first time I am earning my own money. I am so proud and happy to be able to help my family in this way”, expressed Dinka.

Dinka was born and raised in a small agricultural village in the northern region of Ethiopia. She made Aliyah in 2004 along with her husband and their nine children. For a year and a half, they all lived in a crowded absorption center and later moved to Jerusalem. Although Dinka’s husband, Yosef, was so grateful to be in Israel, he found it a challenge to support his family and after five years, they desperately needed help. Hearing about the artisan center where there was an opportunity to earn an income, his journey as an artisan began, and he was later joined by Dinka. In the bookbinding workshop, Dinka has been trained in crafting recycled paper into beautiful greeting cards, notepads, and placemats.

“Not one of these elderly immigrants is excluded, even if they have limited skills in manufacturing or art”, explained Nicole Yoder, ICEJ’s Vice President for AID and Aliyah. “The centers offer professional training in many fields and develop new products and practices, enhancing their capabilities and diversifying their interests. The goal is to help the elderly to help themselves, and in this way empower them to be productive, earn money and live out their senior years with dignity.”

On average, the seniors participating in the artisan workshops come for an average of 10 years. With each passing year, tasks that were once easy to do may slowly become more difficult for the elderly artisan. As this occurs, new tasks are found to suit the artisan’s abilities, thereby maintaining their dignity and sense of worth. And, with a daily attendance of 85%, it is evident that these folks are motivated and love what they are doing!

Please join with the Christian Embassy as we support the grandmothers and grandfathers of Israel who struggle with few resources – whether they are immigrants or Holocaust survivors – and help restore their dignity, enabling them to have ‘a future and a hope’. To assist each elderly artisan costs approximately $180 per month. Your giving of any amount makes an enormous impact in their lives.
 

Urgent Appeal for Ethiopian Jewish Airlift

In its modern history, the nation of Israel has mobilized twice to carry out emergency airlifts of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community and bring them safely home. In 1984, Operation Moses was launched to bring over 8,000 Ethiopian Jews who had started out on foot for Israel but wound up stranded and starving in war-torn Sudan. Then in 1991, Operation Solomon brought home nearly 15,000 more endangered Ethiopian Jews in a dramatic rescue effort conducted over one single weekend.

Now, recent events in Ethiopia have Israeli leaders speaking of the need for yet another emergency airlift of this ancient Jewish community. The East African country is descending again into civil war and famine conditions are returning. The remnant of Jews still in Ethiopia are living in poor transit camps in Addis Ababa and Gondar awaiting their turn to move to Israel. Israel’s government already made a commitment in 2015 to bring them home to the Promised Land over several years of time, but they now realize that may be too late.

Thus, Israeli authorities are making plans to airlift some 5,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the next few months, and The Jewish Agency For Israel is urgently asking the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem to help!

A tribal conflict which broke out last year between the large Amhara and Tigray tribes has re-escalated in recent months. The rebel Tigray militia has acquired new arms and allies, captured more ground, and is threatening to march on the capital of Addis Ababa, prompting the prime minister to declare a state of emergency. There are disturbing reports of atrocities being carried out on all sides, as entire villages are being wiped out. The conflict has already claimed thousands of civilian lives and forced more than 2.5 million people to flee their homes. Meantime, there is growing civil unrest throughout the country, as well as concerns over food shortages due to the worsening drought and famine conditions. Many nations are warning their citizens to leave Ethiopia.

The Jewish remnant still in Ethiopia are part of the ‘Falash Mura’ community who have Israelite ancestry but were forced under duress to convert to Christianity several generations ago. They want to rejoin their relatives already living in Israel, but have been stuck in decrepit transit camps for more than two decades now awaiting their turn to immigrate. The Israeli government has committed to bringing them several hundred at a time, but that pace may no longer be possible.

Watching the civil war escalate in their former country, Ethiopian Jewish leaders in Israel are now calling for an “Operation Solomon II” – yet another emergency airlift to rescue the last of their community in Addis Ababa and Gondar. Israel’s cabinet agrees that swift action is needed and Pnina Tamano-Shata, the government’s Minister for Aliyah and herself an Ethiopian Jewish immigrant, is spearheading the plans to speed up their return.

In response to Israel’s urgent appeal for our assistance in this airlift, the Christian Embassy is hoping to sponsor flights for at least 200 Ethiopian Jews in this first wave of immigrants being lifted out of Ethiopia, which is expected in December. As funds become available over coming months, we will continue to be a central part of this historic third airlift of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel.

Since the Israeli government decided six years ago to bring home the last remnant of some 9,000 Ethiopian Jews, around 4,000 have made it here so far, and the Christian Embassy has sponsored more than half of those flights. With your help, we can continue to play a major role in completing the return of Ethiopian Jewry.

In addition to sponsoring their Aliyah flights, the ICEJ also is being asked to assist with educational and vocational training programs for these new Ethiopian Jewish immigrants as they settle into Israel. They will be experiencing a massive leap from a rural life centered around subsistence farming to a fast-paced, hi-tech society. Thus, we know from decades of working with the Ethiopian Jewish community here in Israel that these newest arrivals will continue to need our help during the long absorption phase as they rejoin the Jewish mainstream here in the Promised Land.

So please consider a generous gift to help with this urgent airlift of Ethiopian Jews. Your donation today can rescue them from the dangerous situation they are now facing.
 

ICEJ helping to mend Israeli families

Today, Michal* is a cheerful little Israeli girl who is enjoying her childhood and easily shows love and affection towards other children. However, the journey to reach this happy state has been a tough and bumpy road. At only four years old, little Michal was diagnosed with cancer. Her mother Tova* bore the strain of frequent hospital visits while her father found solace in drinking with his friends. Severe problems arose in her parent’s marriage, leading to their divorce.

Tova was left severely distraught by the divorce, and viewed Michal’s cancer diagnosis as the root cause of her husband’s drinking problems and their failed marriage. As Michal got better, Tova began to blame Michal for her father leaving them alone and consistently fed her this tale. Michal felt so guilty and tried to do everything to please her mother; forcing herself to behave like an adult, taking on the responsibility of cleaning the house and putting away the toys that she and her younger brother played with, caring for her little brother at the day care. But no matter how hard she tried, the bond between mother and daughter was simply non-existent, and she could not win any of her mother’s affection. There were no kisses and hugs given in her direction, and instead other children received Tova’s affections.

Tova and Michal started attending therapy sessions. When it came time for group interaction between parent and child, Tova would do her best to avoid being alone with her own daughter, often looking to help other children and leaving Michal to complete tasks on her own.

Tova and her daughter went through several years of both group and individual therapy, and an Israeli social worker came alongside Tova to help her deal with the trauma of her divorce. As she healed, she understood that the divorce was not Michal’s fault. At the same time, the social worker began working with Michal to restore her childhood, help her regain self-confidence and receive the love of her mother again.

The ICEJ is committed to restoring and strengthening broken Israeli families, one of the main aims of our “Giving a Future and Hope” campaign. This initiative seeks to mend shattered families, lift up youngsters who have grown up in difficult circumstances, and find direction for the unemployed and unskilled in need of a fresh start. For them, we want to be the extended helping hands of Christians from around the world who care about Israelis in need.

The coronavirus crisis brought a significant increase in domestic violence and abuse in Israeli families already suffering under economic stress, and depression has increased in many vulnerable families here. In addition to this very challenging health crisis, many Israelis also are still trying to recover from this year’s rocket war with Hamas in Gaza!

For Genet*, it felt like her world was crumbling. She struggled with her parental authority and could not give the most basic instructions to her children, resulting in them doing as they pleased. Every Sunday, Genet attended group therapy with a social worker and other mothers, but she never opened up much about her own situation, and instead she sat quietly, just listening.

After two years, she finally informed her social worker that for a few years already she had been suffering from verbal abuse and violence at home from her husband. Genet was extremely fearful and dealing with many challenges. She admitted to being ashamed to share about her ordeal and even asked her children to keep what was happening in the home a secret.

Finally, she found the courage to break her silence and, together with the help of her social worker, she filed a complaint with the police against her husband. For an Ethiopian Jewish woman, this was exceedingly difficult to do as there was a huge risk to her and her children.

After three months, Genet’s divorce was finalized and she found new employment allowing her to provide for her children and pay rental for their apartment.

Still attending therapy regularly, today Genet has blossomed into a stronger woman who is able to stand up for herself and when needed, is able to show her authority towards her children.

As the ICEJ works together with Israeli social workers, our help also extends to therapeutic centers like the ones Tova, Michal and Genet have found themselves in. These centers often are dealing with children exposed to neglect, physical and verbal abuse, sexual violence, and other traumas.

At the therapy centers, children arrive after school, enjoy a hot meal, and interact socially by playing together. They receive assistance with their homework, and get self-empowering counseling with professional staff, including social workers and child psychologists and therapists.

The professional staff engage in every aspect of the families’ lives, from daily routines to continuous dialogue with schools. Other community services are offered as well, such as the welfare office, marriage counselling, domestic violence centers and even house calls. The families receive tools to help them go from dysfunction to health and stability. Thanks to the wonderful giving of Christian donors in Finland, the children playing outside one therapeutic center are now also protected from the hot sun by a beautiful playground shade cover.

You, too, can help us to continue this important work of mending Israeli families. Please consider a gift towards our ‘Giving a Future and Hope’ campaign.
 

 

[*Names changed to protect privacy.]

Ethiopian Jews are one step closer to coming home to Israel!

Considering the escalation of hostilities and increased internal tensions in Ethiopia, there is an urgency to bring thousands of members of the Ethiopian Jewish descendants home to Israel.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has set a target to provide immediate assistance with the flights and surrounding travel costs (at $1300 pp) for 200 of these incoming Olim (newcomers) who are anticipated to begin arriving in December.

Six years ago, Israel’s government decided to bring home the last remnant of some 9,000 Ethiopian Jews living in transit camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa. Some 4,000 have come so far according to the 2015 decision. The Christian Embassy has sponsored more than half of all the flights since then.

This week Israeli ministers are expediting the immigration of 5,000 Ethiopian Jews as plans to bring those waiting to come to Israel are underway and it is hoped these plans could be implemented in the coming weeks.

The latest reports on the situation in Ethiopia show that the civil war in the country is worsening. The country’s military has lost several recent battles to Tigray rebels, who are threatening to storm the capital, and a state of emergency has been declared. Israel’s Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata wrote: “The precarious security situation directly affects the members of the community waiting in Ethiopia, endangering their lives and demanding immediate government action to quickly bring them on Aliyah”.

As we anticipate this wave of Aliyah from Ethiopia, the ICEJ appeals to our Christian friends who faithfully support the return of the Jewish people to the Promised land, to take an active part during this crucial time to bring the remaining members of this Jewish community to Israel.

Thousands of Ethiopian Jews have been waiting anxiously for years to receive the news that they can come to Zion. Let us unite our efforts to rescue these Ethiopian Jews at such a critical time as this.

In addition to helping these precious people make Aliyah, the ICEJ is also concerned about their integration into Israeli society, as we know that they will face many struggles along the way.

The jump from a patriarchal and communal way of life in Ethiopia to the modern, highly educated, and egalitarian society in Israel can be quite a cultural shock, and one that can shift family dynamics in challenging ways. When conflict occurs or decisions need to be made within the family, often the young people – who more quickly pick up the language - need to guide their parents and grandparents in their daily lives. This contradicts the accepted model of family life in Ethiopia, where elders are always respected and consulted.

Not only are there language barriers, but educational achievement is generally vastly lower than the expected norms in Israel as well. This leaves children with the need to bridge gaps that their parents are unable to assist them with, a disadvantage that follows them as they grow up. Parents without adequate training also struggle to find suitable employment in this new reality, a fact which leaves them vulnerable.

This is why Ethiopian leaders throughout Israel highlight education as critical for integration and advancement into Israeli society. Nevertheless, even after investing the time and effort to study, often Ethiopian graduates struggle in finding employment commensurate with their level of education, and they feel the lack of opportunities and equality. This difficulty finding employment has several roots. Some are cultural, others practical; however, most of the Ethiopian Israelis admit that their community is not generally viewed as professional or educated, a perception that must slowly be overcome.

In response, the ICEJ supports targeted mentoring programs to help bridge these educational and societal gaps to ensure the success of younger members of the Ethiopian community in Israel.

It is a privilege for the ICEJ to walk alongside immigrants through their Aliyah process. From assisting with flights to integration, we are there to help through mentorship or educational enrichment programs on their path to becoming truly “at home” in the land of their forefathers.
Please consider giving your best gift to support this urgent Aliyah need and the Integration of the Ethiopian Jews so that they can impact Israeli society in a powerful way.
 

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Negosa Almo

ICEJ restoring hope to Israel’s vulnerable single mothers

Parenting is a blessing; however, it also comes with challenges best shouldered by two. Unfortunately, in Israel today, 12.8% of families (about 170,000 in all) are single parent households and a staggering 90% of these are headed by women with a lower earning capacity than men. This means many single parent families face a constant battle of living on or below the poverty line.

The corona crisis has exposed just how vulnerable single mothers truly are, and suitable assistance is not always available for them. In Hebrew it is said, “they fall between the chairs” … which is why we are focused on strengthening these families.

Some started out as young mothers with no opportunity to study and learn a profession. Often, they lack support or a good family example, and many even need to overcome trauma or destructive family patterns. In many ways they were still children themselves, and thus need encouragement and guidance to raise their own children.

Or, what if a mother decided to take a gigantic leap of faith and move to a new country with a vastly different language and culture? The challenges of adjusting to a new setting, learning the language, finding employment, or deciding on a school for the children – all without a ready support system – adds a whole new level of stress to single parenting.

At the ICEJ, we have been asking: How can we be a type of “extended” family for struggling young Israeli mothers and their children? The answer is by providing the basics, such as assistance towards career counselling and job training, or sponsoring professional mentors who give the practical and emotional support that can build self-confidence.

Many also require help with subsidized daycare, babysitters, afterschool activities, private tutors for the children, and other essentials like basic home furnishings and repairs. Being ashamed of your living conditions only adds to the single mother’s feelings of isolation and despair. So, ICEJ donors recently enabled one such mother to have a brand new kitchen. The before and after images are stunning, and now she and her children have their dignity restored. 

Can you imagine having to wash for years using water from a toilet tank? This is how an elderly grandmother, her single-parent daughter and grandson had to bathe, as they had no running water to shower. For four years, they diverted water from the toilet tank and crouched in the bathtub to wash, which was extremely difficult for the grandmother to do. Your giving enabled a repair team to renovate the bathroom, restore the water connection, and install an easily accessible shower!

“In general, the women assisted are between the ages of 16 to 50”, explained noted Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid and Aliyah. “Many come from abusive backgrounds with no support system. Others are simply on their own due to divorce or early widowhood. They may lack education or basic life skills which make entering the workforce extremely challenging. Learning to parent is tough. Many young parents do not know how to set healthy boundaries, and its heartbreaking when the parent-child bond is not properly developed. If not dealt with, this can be the fertile source of a woundedness that gets passed on to the next generation.”

*Alena is a widowed single mother with five children. She is extremely tired after nursing her ill husband for many years, and then she was laid off work during Israel’s strict corona lockdowns over the past year. Alena is currently being helped to improve her self-confidence and prepare for job interviews.

*Leah came looking for help as a very broken divorced woman who had endured physical violence and the trauma of witnessing her own parent commit suicide in front of her. She was so desperate to provide food for her two children that she fell into prostitution for a time. By obtaining the help she needed, Leah has managed to lift herself up. Today, she works as a graphic designer and is trying to be a good role model for her children.

“These days of the coronavirus crisis are extremely difficult and a personalized focus on the aid needed can be the turning point for women like Alena and Leah and many others”, said Nicole. “They and their children can begin their journey of building a brighter future and we want to be part of making it possible.”

Through our ‘Giving a Future and a Hope’ fund, the ICEJ is committed to helping these vulnerable and often broken single mothers. Their needs vary, however, and the assistance ranges from $1,500-$3,500 per mother – though a gift in any amount would be a blessing. Each one has their own story, and each one has a God-given destiny. Please join us in our efforts to strengthen Israeli families and help them find a brighter future. Your donation makes a significant impact on the lives of those who need it most.   

 

*Names are changed to protect their privacy.

ICEJ assists with the Rescue flight of Bnei Menashe

Their bags were packed, and they were ready to head to the airport. After waiting so long to make Aliyah, their wait was finally over and the anticipation of a new life in Israel filled the air! However, for 26 Bnei Menashe immigrants, this excitement quickly dissipated as soon as Corona tests and other document checks began. Instead, a tangible disappointment replaced their optimism as the rest of their group proceeded with boarding their flight.

A group of 261 Olim (new immigrants) were scheduled to fly to Israel, but instead, 235 landed safely on Israel’s national ‘Aliyah Day’ in October, leaving the 26 others behind.

When it was time to take the mandatory Covid PCR test, it was discovered that little 8-year-old Reuben from Manipur tested positive, resulting in him and his seven relatives having to quarantine in Manipur, while the rest of the group flew to the capital city of New Delhi to obtain their passports and immigration visas from the Embassy of Israel.

While another family also ran into problems with documents required to get their new passports and were only able to receive the needed paperwork after the flight departed.

In addition, the Chongloi family, were also among those left behind after their sweet 9-year-old daughter Liora, tested positive for the Coronavirus. And, right before the scheduled charter flight, another family of five faced their disappointment when two of the children tested positive in New Delhi, sending them all into quarantine.

Suddenly a new challenge arose. How were these five families, longing to reach their homeland, going to fulfil their dream in light of these unexpected difficulties and expenses?

Housing, food, and care for these families was urgently needed until they could board their flight to Israel. When the Christian Embassy was approached to help with these unexpected expenses at short notice, we immediately jumped into action with a call for prayer and support.

Thanks to the wonderful support from our donors around the world, and especially from donors in Norway, the Christian Embassy was able to help cover the much-required costs to bring these precious Bnei Menashe immigrants home to Israel.

Miraculously after their quarantine, the remaining Bnei Menashe immigrants tested negative and were able to board an Air India flight direct to Israel. God had answered our prayers and the group flew over Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to Ben Gurion airport!

On October 25, the 26 Bnei Menashe immigrants arrived in Israel on an emergency rescue flight sponsored by the ICEJ in cooperation with Shavei Israel and The Jewish Agency for Israel.

Within a few days, they were settled into an absorption center, comforted by the feeling of being safe, healthy, and at home!

The Jubilation was evident as this group joined the others who arrived in Israel before them. Ecstatic sounds of laughter and sweet singing filled the air as a stirring version of Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah rang out, melting the hearts of all those listening.

The ICEJ’s work of bringing new Olim to Israel continues, despite the pandemic still raging across the world. Please continue to help the Christian Embassy in bringing the next group of Olim from Ethiopia. These people are finding themselves caught in the middle of a civil war that has progressively become worse over the months. 3,000 Jewish Ethiopians are approved for making Aliyah and are waiting upon the government of Israel to begin their Aliyah in the coming days. Together, let us help these families reach the Promised Land.
  

 

VIDEO CREDIT: Michael Freund/Shavei Israel

Moving memories over a cup of tea

It is a weekly routine which began seven years ago. ICEJ Homecare nurse Corrie van Maanen visits 96-year-old Zachar, a widower after 60 years of marriage. She brings a small contribution of groceries to his meagre pantry, for which he is grateful. But the visit is more important. It means a cup of tea and a listening ear. And not just any cup, but one with blue dots. On her very first visit arranged by an Israeli social worker, he said, “This is ‘your’ cup because I hope you will come many more times.” It is Corrie’s cup, and although he can no longer see, Zachar always asks if she has it. On this visit, Corrie has brought a postcard from a Homecare supporter touched by the stories of elderly Jewish immigrants bound to their homes by health issues or lockdowns.

Corrie translates the words into Russian: “We are thinking of you and praying for you; may you find joy and strength in this difficult time.” He takes the card and traces the outline of glued dots that form two birds. “Swallows!” Zachar exclaims. “Those are beautiful birds, they come when it gets warmer. In Russia it is even used as expression of love: 'You are my beautiful swallow.' Too bad I can't see them.” But his fingers can, as they again trace over the card. Then he suddenly begins a story.

“When I was little, five or six years old, there was an old man in the village where I lived”, Zachar recalls. “He always sat on the bench in front of his house. He was blind from birth. His head rested on his arm as in the artwork of Auguste Rodin.” Zachar demonstrates the pose, his hand propping up his head. “He always told us stories, which he had heard from others. We enjoyed listening to his stories together with boys from the neighborhood.” There is silence for a moment, as Zachar searches his memories. Then he continues: “In 1941 he was the first to be beaten to death before our eyes. He was a Jew.”

Zachar saw a lot of death after that. He fled a mass shooting and later escaped from a concentration camp where only 1,200 out of 11,000 Jews survived amid the horrific, crowded conditions. But the story he had kept in his heart came out and was given wings to fly. Someone was listening and someone cared. His heart was a little lighter. Zachar returns to his card and tenderly rests his hand on it. “I would like to thank them myself, but will you do it on my behalf?” he asks. “The card gives me joy.”

Your support for ICEJ Homecare brings joy and comfort to many like Zachar. Thank you for partnering with us. 

   

 

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