Monday, 17 August 2009

Back to school!

With the summer coming to an end and the kids a little older (and full of sand), the time has come to begin planning for the next school year. But it seems that not only families are getting themselves ready.

Bituach Leumi, in a new initiative, has decided to give a stipend to single-parent and large families grants to help cover back-to-school costs. Those families who are eligible to receive the grant should find the money deposited in their accounts some time this week, intended to be used for school supplies.

It seems that the families that qualify will receive NIS 1,383 for children aged 6-11 and NIS 768 for each child aged 12-14.

As always, it is worth checking the terms and conditions with Bituach Leumi first...

Good luck in the new school year!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Aliyah from the UK: Making Zionistic history

After many months of preparation and hard work, the Jewish Agency for Israel, in conjunction with UJIA and Ebenezer, made history on Tuesday 11th of August and brought over the first Jewish Agency flight from the United Kingdom, followed by a 24-hour welcoming ceremony.

Over 100 Olim Chadashim (new immigrants), ranging in age from 3 months to 90 years, travelled on the late-night El Al flight. After a 10:06pm landing, the group of Olim were welcomed at the gate by Jewish Agency, UJIA and Ebenezer staff and then escorted to Terminal 1 where they were processed by the Ministry of Absorption within a speedy hour and a half.

With their new Teudot Oleh in hand and bags on the bus, the Olim were brought to the Shalom Hotel in Jerusalem to spend the next two nights on account of the Jewish Agency.

The next morning the Olim gathered for a UJIA presentation which explained the host of services provided by the British organization. The Olim met with UJIA staff for private consultations, spoke with representatives from the Kupot Cholim, organised their bank accounts, took care of their shipments with the Customs Authority, signed up for mobile phones, and even received free one-month subscriptions to an English-language newspaper. It was a truly jam-packed opportunity for the Olim to organise their new start - all before 1:00pm.

After a hearty lunch, the Olim were driven to the Kotel for an emotional welcoming ceremony in which they received their Teudot Zehut. In attendance were guest speakers, ministry representatives and community leaders. Even regular passers-by stopped to applaude the Olim as they were called family by family to collect their documents of Israeli citizenship.

After a few minutes to digest their new status, the Olim approached the final event of the day: a festive, celebratory dinner sponsored by the UJIA. A stunning view of Jerusalem's Old City was the backdrop of the evening, with dinner being held at the Beit Meirsdorf hall in Mt Scopus. With live entertainment, cocktails and a four course dinner, the event was reminsicent of the newlywed excitment of a wedding.

The evening ended with the Olim being presented with goodies, including decorative mezuzot for their new homes in Israel.

The following morning, all the Olim were taken to their final destinations across the county, including Kibbutz Ulpan, Ra'anana, Modiin, Haifa, Eilat, and others.

This was truly a fantastic event and a wonderful experience for all, including the organizers. Yet another great achievement was had by the Aliyah movement.

We at UJIA wish all of the Olim the best of luck and extend our support and services.