By Jeff Finkelstein |
Yesterday, 316 Jews lifted off from their native country of Ethiopia to arrive in their new home in Israel. The Israeli Government recently approved bringing 2,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel and this first planeload launches Operation Tzur Yisrael with another 100 arriving today. While the government approves the operation, it is the work of the Jewish Agency for Israel, one of our overseas partner agencies, that facilitates the preparation, the travel and the k’litah (absorption process into Israeli society). It is our Community Campaign that makes this possible.
Just two years ago in Israel, Federation’s Chief Development Officer Brian Eglash and I were given the honor and responsibility of addressing the Aliyah Committee of the Knesset representing the Federation system encouraging the government to expedite this aliyah (immigration). I get goosebumps staring at these pictures capturing the arrival on Israeli soil.
You make history happen by giving to and by encouraging others to support our collective efforts. I invite you to join our Federation for our first ever Virtual Super Sunday on Sunday, December 13th. You can help out right from the comfort of your home. Learn more and register to make calls at https://jewishpgh.org/event/super-sunday/.
Next Thursday night begins Chanukah, a holiday about miracles and reclaiming Jewish identity. How perfect for it to be in the same week as this airlift from Ethiopia! Take two minutes to watch a video from Ben Gurion Airport capturing the arrival yesterday and hearing from Isaac Herzog (the Chair of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel) explicitly expressing his gratitude to the Federation system.
Shabbat Shalom. Happy Chanukah. Go Steelers. And PLEASE wear your mask!
By Kim Salzman |
Today is an exciting today for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Just a few hours ago, 316 Ethiopian Jews made Aliyah to Israel, fulfilling their lifetime dream to return home.
Our historic international partner, the Jewish Agency, will now provide these new olim (immigrants) a home for the next year or two in absorption centers around the country where they will learn Hebrew and get acclimated to life in Israel. Your Community Campaign donations help support JAFI as they bring more than 2,000 Ethiopians to Israel in this wave of immigration, settling them in their new lives.
Joint Business and Empowerment Training for Jewish and Arab Women in the Galilee
EEW assists women from the geographic and social periphery of Israel who possess entrepreneurial spirits but lack access to suitable business training and bank credit to develop small businesses of their own, gain self-sufficiency, and alleviate the cycle of poverty they have found themselves in. This program provides continued support for business and empowerment training for Jewish and Arab woman in the Galilee. The program includes one joint Jewish and Arab yearlong business training and personal empowerment course, two financial literacy courses, and a bilingual business marathon conference. Learn More
Vocational Training and Job Placement for Single Mothers – Karmiel Course
itworks strives to narrow employment gaps and promote diversity in Israel’s booming high-tech industry. The program is designed to close income gaps for single mothers in Karmiel by providing training and skills necessary for placement in high-demand professions in the area according to local needs. The program is open to women of all backgrounds who are underemployed or unemployed, with no academic background. Ninety percent of the 120,000 single mother households are headed by women. 80% of single mothers are employed, however, 25% of these working women live in poverty. The program’s goal is to move these women into positions earning at a minimum $1,780/month (6,500 ILS) thus moving them out of poverty and into economic independence. Learn More
Jewish Federation Joins “Illumination Ovation” April 7 & 14 to Celebrate Heroes Fighting the Coronavirus Crisis
WHAT: On April 7, the day before Passover, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is asking Pittsburghers to turn on lights and go outside to applaud with “Illumination Ovation” to recognize first responders, medical professionals and health care aides, sanitation workers, grocery store employees, food service workers and delivery drivers, and everyone working on the front lines of the pandemic.
“We’re wishing Chag Pesach Sameach, Happy Easter and Ramadan Mubarak to our Pittsburgh heroes who are putting their lives at risk every day to keep the rest of us safe.”Josh Sayles, director of the Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Council
The Jewish Federation was inspired to join Illumination Ovation by all of the people putting their lives at risk who go unrecognized, including at Jewish agencies.
“Lighting our city is something you can do at a distance,” says Adam Hertzman, the Federation’s director of marketing. “It’s also a beautiful thing to do before we light the candles for this Jewish holiday.”
Feel free to share social media with the tag #LoveFromPGH.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 7 & 14 at 8 p.m.
For the last four weeks, I’ve been working for an organization called Wadi Hawar, a refugee advocacy organization targeted at integrating Sudanese refugees fleeing the Darfur Genocide into Israeli life, either for future residency or for them to support themselves until they are approved to move to another country. Wadi Hawar also connects refugees with legal council and other specialists they need to confront challenges and injustices they face in Israel.
Most of my time has been spent working with my boss Adam, a writer and social activist who is also a Darfuri refugee. We are working on Adam’s third book together, a novel that tells the story of a fictional Darfuri village through the eyes of a young boy names Sabur and his grandmother Argon. Our hope is that the narrative with give English-speaking readers a way to gain an understanding about a culture they have little or no exposure to. Recently, I’ve also been spending time teaching English classes, alone or with Adam.
Overall, my internship feels like an exciting blend of Social Work and English Writing experience, and I’m really happy to have found an internship that provides me with so much room for creativity and interpersonal communication across cultural lines.
Svetlana Geguzina is a pillar in the legal department at Jewish Family and Children Services (JF&CS). No one takes on as much work assisting refugees to apply for legal permanent residency and has the positive results as she does.
Svetlana is an Accredited Representative and a former Refugee from the Soviet Union, providing a unique perspective on what it’s like starting life over in America. Svetlana uses this personal knowledge to counsel her clients and assist them in meeting their immigration goals. Svetlana has been an employee of JF&CS for 24 years and has been practicing immigration law for 12 years. She has helped thousands of refugees apply for green cards, hundreds of individuals petition to reunite families and countless others apply for citizenship in the United States.
“She’s a dedicated and zealous advocate for her clients and has improved so many lives in the process of her work and through her unwavering strength of character. She works on her cases with equal parts humor and intimidation. Without Svetlana’s years of time and dedication, we wouldn’t have the successful program we have today,” President and CEO of JF&CS Jordan Golin said.