Families, infants, future lone soldiers and a nonagenarian were among the 87 new Olim who arrived incIsrael on 28 July, on the largest Aliyah flight from South Africa in over a decade.
“Telfed (officially known as the South African Zionist Federation, Israel) plays a vital role in facilitating the absorption of new Olim from South Africa, Southern Africa and Australia. As a Klita organisation with decades of experience, Telfed is familiar with the challenges associated with integration, ensuring that services are geared towards supporting Olim as they make Israel home,” said Telfed CEO, Dorron Kline.
“We’ve seen unexpected upsides from more group flights and mandatory quarantine. For some, the mandatory hotel quarantine has been frustrating, but many have enjoyed the forced quiet after the stress of packing up and leaving loved ones. For them, it’s a welcome break before they begin tackling the next stages of their Aliyah journey — an opportunity to catch their breath.”
Large group flights have created opportunities to connect with others making Aliyah at the same time through WhatsApp groups (initiated by the Israel Centre), providing a platform for sharing practical advice and helpful information. Telfed’s Klita Advisor, Daniela Shapira, joins the groups and answers questions along the way. These questions range from ‘Is this yogurt or sour cream?’ to ‘When can I apply for an Israeli passport?’
Following the arrival of 87 new Olim, Telfed prepared a series of practical webinars and virtual get-togethers. These webinars dealt with the initial bureaucratic requirements, employment, housing, support networks and more. Our newest young Olim were invited to participate in fun virtual afternoon activities led by Telfed scholarship recipients, and the community was invited to participate in a virtual musical Kabbalat Shabbat.
The next group flight will be landing in Israel shortly before Rosh Hashanah and will be invited to participate in Telfed’s virtual Klita webinars. “These webinars will not only provide practical guidance, helpful advice and introductions to our team, but will make sure our new arrivals feel connected. As a community organisation, we see the positive influence that a strong, connected community plays in a successful absorption. Our ultimate objective is for Olim to integrate fully, to contribute to the country, but not to forget their roots because being a part of a connected and dynamic community is empowering,” said Robby Hilkowitz, Telfed Chairman.
“As we head into the new year and prepare to welcome a new group of South African Olim, the significance of Israel, Aliyah and a home for the Jewish people remains as relevant today as ever.”
• Published in the PDF edition of the September 2021 issue – Get the PDF here.
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