ICEJ Welcomes 170 Jewish Immigrants During ‘Aliyah Week’Published on: 22.11.2021
By: Anastasiya Gooding
In October, Israel marked its official ‘Aliyah Day’ with a special week of flights bringing Jewish people home to the Promised Land from all directions, and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem joined in the festivities by assisting over 170 Jewish immigrants to reach their ancestral homeland. This included sponsoring Aliyah flights for 105 SELA students from the former Soviet republics who came ahead of their parents to study in Israel. In addition, the ICEJ funded flights for 50 Bnei Menashe who were part of a larger group of this ancient Israelite community arriving from India.
In 2016, the Knesset established an annual ‘Aliyah Day’ to celebrate the Jewish return to their ancient homeland in modern times. This year, Aliyah Day included a whole ‘Aliyah Week’ of flights bringing hundreds of immigrants from around the globe. The ICEJ took part in the special initiative of The Jewish Agency For Israel by sponsoring flights for 105 SELA students from Russian-speaking countries over a ten-day period. These are Jewish youths who have completed high school, taken part in special pre-Aliyah programs, and now will settle in Israel, learn Hebrew, and attend university in anticipation of the rest of their families making Aliyah later.
The ICEJ also funded bus transportation, summer camps, documentation efforts and other pre-Aliyah preparation costs for another group of 22 SELA students from Belarus who came in mid-October.
All these participants in the SELA program offered by JAFI are the best and brightest Jewish students and they will surely make many positive contributions to the nation of Israel in the years ahead. The Christian Embassy has financially supported many of these SELA students over recent years since they started participating in Aliyah summer camps at the age of 10. So, it is a joy to see them finally arrive in Israel after all these years of preparation and hope!
In addition, the Christian Embassy sponsored the flights of 50 members of the group of 275 Bnei Menashe who immigrated to Israel from India in October. Our assistance allowed these members of the ancient Israelite tribe of Manasseh to realise the dreams of many generations to finally return to the Land of Israel.
With these latest arrivals, the ICEJ has now sponsored Aliyah flights for 1,468 Jewish immigrants from more than a dozen countries so far in 2021, despite the constraints and challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. When we include all those we have supported with pre-Aliyah and post-landing assistance, the Christian Embassy has helped to bring well over 3,000 Jews to Israel this year, thanks to the faithful giving of our Christian donors.
“It was exciting to be engaged in supporting the return of over 170 Jewish immigrants during this special occasion of ‘Aliyah Day’, when Israel celebrates the great Ingathering of the Jewish people in modern times,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “Thankfully, there are many Christians around the world today who gladly rejoice with Israel in their miraculous return to their ancient homeland, and we are especially grateful for those Christians who have shown their support by giving towards our recent Aliyah flights.”
It is interesting to note that Israel’s annual “Aliyah Day” was set by the Knesset to fall on the seventh day of the Hebrew month of Heshvan, which ties it to the weekly Torah portion of ‘Lech Lecha,’ where God commanded Abraham in Genesis 12:1 to “get thee up” from his own country and go to the Land of Israel. He thus is considered the first oleh (newcomer in Hebrew) to the Land, and Aliyah today is seen as an act of obedience, or mitzvah, to that same divine command to ‘arise and go’. Interestingly, this same passage also contains God’s promise to “bless those who bless” Abraham. Thus, there is surely a special blessing for those who help Abraham’s natural descendants to also arise and journey home to the Land of Israel today.
Your donation towards the ICEJ’s many Aliyah efforts will be used to continue bringing more Jewish families home in the coming weeks and months. We are on pace to bring over 1,700 Jewish immigrants on Aliyah flights to Israel this year, including help with a large group of Ethiopian Jews expected to arrive by December. So please give your best gift today, and expect a great blessing from God in return.