By Chandrea Serebro
We all know that wherever South Africans go, we go with gusto, or colloquially known by the locals, vooma.
And nowhere more so than in Israel, where Telfed works tirelessly every day to foster that warm feeling of home in the hearts of new and veteran Olim from South Africa and Australia, with that same vooma. And it’s reassuring for new Olim that when they arrive in Israel, Telfed will be there to offer guidance and a sense of belonging as they settle in Israel.
Few people know just how deep that kinship goes. Telfed was there in 1948 to support some 800 brave South Africans who volunteered in the war effort to aid the newly established IDF and support the foundation of our homeland. These young soldiers were known as the Machalniks (overseas volunteers), and on Yom Hazikaron Telfed participated in the Machal memorial ceremony honouring the 123 fallen Machalniks. “They played a major role in our victory”, says Dorron Kline, CEO of Telfed, “and without them, we wouldn’t have managed to triumph”. Telfed is an integral part of the Machal event every year, but this is just one event in a constant stream of events that Telfed hosts to connect Olim and unite them — a fundamental aspect of Telfed’s founding mandate.
And they are doing a great job, giving people a home-away-from-home and a family when they might otherwise not have one. Residents of Telfed’s Amishav Street apartments in Tel Aviv held a community seder, inviting Olim who would have been alone otherwise. “I believe that this kind of celebration can help new olim to feel more at home and give them a sense of belonging. Sometimes people come to Israel with many hopes and dreams but struggle to fit in. This was a small but meaningful gathering that left participants with a taste for more,” says co-host Vardit Jones. In another such event, over 300 olim from around the country felt it too when they were afforded the opportunity to network and socialise at the recent Pesach picnic.
It leaves a thirst for more — one which Telfed quenches through diverse events across Israel, keeping the olim community connected, as it has done from the very beginning.
• Published in the PDF edition of the June 2022 issue – Click here to read it.
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