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On the threshold of the new Jewish year 5777 a huge event took place in Kharkiv (Eastern Ukraine) on the 18th of September, 2016. The Aliyah Fair opened its doors for more than 1,200 Ukrainian Jews that consider moving to Israel sooner or later. The event was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and sponsored by Ofek Israeli, the foundation of aliya support. Some of the potential olim already passed a consular check and are completing their final paperwork before aliyah. Other potential olim just started to think about Israel as an option for their future life. A special group of the Fair’s visitors are Jews from Lugansk and Donetsk (war region). Many of them moved to Kharkiv since it is the biggest Ukrainian city nearby.
Together with Odessa and Lviv, Kharkiv is one of the main centers of Ukrainian Jewry. Here you can visit the second biggest synagogue in Europe (the biggest one is in Budapest). It was built in 1912, but already ten years later the Soviet government took it away from the Jewish community and assigned this building first to be a cinema and later as a municipal sports centre. Historically Kharkiv had also a very strong Zionistic impact; the first official physician of Eretz Israel was Yakov Bernstein-Kogan, born in Kharkiv. Following their pioneering compatriots, every year hundreds of Jews visit the Jewish Agency of Israel planning their aliya. We invite them to the First Home in the Homeland, for soft landing, intensive Hebrew courses and the best future for their children.
At this moment there are twelve families that arrived from Kharkiv to different kibbutzim in Israel to take part in the First Home project. They get support from Christians for Israel Ukraine to cope with Ukrainian bureaucracy and then a driver of Christians for Israel Ukraine takes them to the airport. Hopefully we will welcome more ex-Kharkiv citizens in our project because the interest in the First Home project during the Aliyah Fair was very high. Now our task from both sides is to stay in touch and to follow every single person up to their aliyah and in his or her new life in Israel!
The rabbi of Kharkiv, Rav Moshe Moskovich, gave a talk during the opening of the event. "For centuries we could only dream and pray about the Holy Land, just whispering its name, and today we see a miracle – 1,200 people come to hear about real options of moving to Israel! And even if tomorrow I will not have a minyan (10 praying Jews) in our synagogue, because everyone will have left our city after this Aliyah Fair, I will understand!"
Next Aliyah Fairs will take place in Dnipro (Ukraine) and Ekaterinburg (Russia) next Sunday, the 25th of September, 2016 and we expect more than one thousand potential olim to attend each of these events.
'First Home in the Homeland'
Projectmanager Jewish Agency for Israel
Please support Christians for Israel's Aliyah work in Ukraine. Any amount is welcome!More and more people want to prepare their documents in order to be ready to leave Ukraine and go to Israel. Because of the long distances that people have to travel to reach the embassy in their district, Christians for Israel will facilitate their transportation by renting small and big busses to drive groups from the same area to the Israeli embassy in their region and later on to the airport for a 'one way' flight to Israel.
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