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Helping Jewish Immigrants Find a Path Forward

ICEJ helps to sponsor professional mentors for Jewish Immigrants

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Posted on: 
21 Aug 2020
Helping Jewish Immigrants Find a Path Forward

In a time of rising antisemitism and economic uncertainty, the opportunity for Jewish people to make Aliyah to Israel is more important than ever. However, Israel also is struggling with high unemployment rates and other economic woes. Many families here are feeling the pinch of the Corona health restrictions, especially those just putting down roots in the Land.

As anyone who has made the move to a foreign land will know, successful integration in a new country usually takes more than a few months or even years. Often, immigrant families require steady support to overcome the many barriers – some of which may be internal. Recognizing this reality, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is not only bringing Jewish people home to Israel, but also helping them to get securely settled in the Land. To do this, the ICEJ is sponsoring professional mentors who are currently counselling dozens of immigrant families during their first years in Israel. The mentors are proving to be especially vital to these recently arrived families in such unstable times.

“Immigrants to Israel often have no family here and the social workers rarely call”, explained Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid and Aliyah. “If these mentors we sponsor do not help them, they have no one. It is a full-time job!”

For *David and *Hannah and their two children, life in Israel has not been easy. Caught in a bureaucratic snag over her residency, Hannah is still unable to legally work in Israel. Sadly, with just one wage-earner, the family found themselves in a downward spiral as their debts began piling up. As a result, any money deposited in their bank account was requisitioned to cover their debts, leaving the family in dire straits. David found employment in a confectionary factory willing to pay him directly, however, the commute distance meant he had to leave home at 4 AM, then work 10 to 12 hours a day, for just 7,500 shekels ($2,194) per month. For David and Hannah, joining the ICEJ-sponsored mentoring program for recent immigrants was a lifesaver.

David actually wanted to work at an outdoor market near his home but needed to be paid directly. His mentor advised David on reaching a debt consolidation agreement which allowed his bank account to be re-opened. This accomplished, David then scored another jubilant victory – he was hired at the nearby job he wanted for a higher salary and with reduced working hours!

Meantime, plans for Hannah to find employment have been put on hold due to the Coronavirus outbreak, which requires her to stay home with the children. However, a social worker is now involved and hopefully that situation also will improve soon. The support this family has received is quite literally changing their lives. Although David occasionally needs to work an extra day to bring in additional funds, being closer to home means he enjoys more quality time with his family.

Another recent arrival, *Avital, was a broken woman, both physically and emotionally, before getting help from a mentor. Going through a painful, complicated divorce, she found herself a single mother to three little children. Despite a court order for her to receive child support, the father refused to comply. Avital was afraid to pursue the matter as she feared the father would not want to have anything to do with their children. Besides having to provide for her family on her own, she also had strained relations with her mother and sisters.

Nevertheless, her mentor, *Bat-El, soon discovered that prior to having children, Avital had worked in the cosmetics industry. Good memories from her previous job made it clear this was her dream job. However, she knew nothing about how to start a business. Having a mentor to guide her along the process gave confidence and gradually Avital began to believe she could realize this dream. A donated computer now means Avital can begin working on a business plan. Meanwhile, she is looking for temporary work until the business takes off.

In addition, Avital now knows how to balance her budget and read her bank statement. With guidance from her mentor, she also got a reduction in insurance payments and bank charges. Her self-esteem vastly improved, Avital has learned to take the initiative to meet her needs, like purchasing a second-hand sofa and pro-actively writing to a social housing firm to request a higher rental stipend. Today, she also understands that the father has his own responsibility to their children, and after pursuing the matter she now receives child support. In addition, relations with her mother and sisters are slowly improving.

The Corona crisis has led to unemployment or under-employment for many, and it is difficult to get help. Nevertheless, Bat-El told the ICEJ AID team: “It is important to find a path forward, despite the challenges. We know that the crisis will get much worse before it gets better. The stress has caused additional problems to pop up in many families and most need basic assistance. We let people ask questions and try to direct them on moving forward. They need help to develop skills and increase opportunities.”

Your giving ensures that recent immigrants to Israel like these families are not alone in their struggles in a new land. Together, we can give them someone to walk alongside them as they navigate the many challenges of getting settled in Israel.

Please give today to the Aliyah and Absorption efforts of the ICEJ.

Donate Here: Immigrant assistance

[*Names and photos withheld by request to protect privacy.]


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