WHAT IS ALIYAH?
Throughout history, the Jews have often been exiled, or expelled from their homeland. In 70 AD, with the destruction of the second temple they were dispersed from the Straits of Gibraltar to the edges of India. Although dispersed throughout the world, the longing to return to their homeland, however, was never abandoned. It is a centuries old custom for Jews, when closing out the Passover Meal, to say “Next year in Jerusalem.”
Aliyah is a Hebrew word that means to “go up.” While originally it referred to ascending to Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Feasts, today it has come to mean the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel.
Aliyah, simply stated, is the ingathering of the exiles from the four corners of the earth — it is the immigration of Jews back to their ancestral homeland. Aliyah “is rooted in the Jewish people’s fervent hope to rebuild its national life in the country from which it was exiled nearly 2,000 years ago.”
How The UIA Is Helping Jews Make Aliyah
The United Israel Appeal Supports rescue operations of Jews in distress around the world and the continuing work for Aliyah to Israel. The fund helps answer the immediate needs of new immigrants and assists them with the many challenges of rebuilding a life in Israel, and in case of emergency will be dedicated to the Jewish Agency’s rescue operations.
Adjusting to a new society, looking for a place to live, and finding employment are daunting tasks. When coupled with the need to learn a new language and, in the case of Ethiopian olim, make an overnight transition from an agrarian, patriarchal society to a fast-paced, technological culture – the challenge is overwhelming.
UIA sponsored absorption centres provide a secure, sheltered environment in which new immigrants can live, generally for a year, until they adapt to their new environment.
Absorption centres are temporary, furnished living quarters located throughout Israel where new immigrants enjoy a supportive framework, tailored to their specific needs, free of charge. For vulnerable populations such as single-parent families, youth and students who are in Israel without family, the elderly, and immigrants from Ethiopia and other countries of distress, absorption centres help cushion the difficulty of integrating into a new society
In addition to housing, the absorption centre helps to ease the adjustment to Israel and offer:
- Hebrew language Ulpan classes
- Orientation programs, seminars, job placement workshops, and lectures regarding employment and educational opportunities
- Cultural programs, celebrations of Jewish holidays, courses and field trips that teach about Judaism, Zionism, and life in Israel
- Nursery school programs for young children
- Absorption centres offer a wide variety of services to facilitate the newcomers’ integration, providing them with the tools they need to live independently. Preparation for prospective olim begins in their countries of origin and professional teams with extensive experience closely accompany the new immigrants through the absorption process. During this transition period, the new olim live in a worry-free environment where all their needs are tended to.