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How good and pleasant it is when brothers sit together in unity! – words from Psalm 133, that describe so well the events of March 9, 2017. First Home in the Homeland celebrated its jubilee - 25 years! To share our happy day with friends we invited over 500 olim (participants of the program), our precious friends from Christians for Israel, the Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration Mrs. Sofa Landver, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Mr. Natan Sharansky, Head of the Department of Aliyah, Absorption and Special Operations of the Jewish Agency Mr. Yehuda Sharf and other honored guests to spend this day in kibbutz Tzuba, located on one of the hills near Jerusalem.
Olim from the very South (Arava desert, Negev) region to the Upper Galilee and Jordan Valley arrived in kibbutz Tzuba with their families – to enjoy the celebration in the big amusement park with its different attractions. Some of the ex-participants of the First Home in the Homeland met here after 10 or even 20 years in Israel! Their lives in the Holy Land are totally different, but all of them have one thing in common – all of them started their way here from a kibbutz. And even after so many years their First Home in the Homeland is forever in their hearts.
The Sherbinin family arrived to Israel two years ago in the Eshkol region near the Gaza Strip from Omsk, Russia. Back then they were a newly married couple. Now they brought to Tzuba one more Israeli – their baby, born five months ago in Ashkelon!
The celebration took place just on the eve of Purim holiday, when we celebrate the salvation of the Jewish people from Haman, who was planning to kill all the Jews. One of the nice traditions of Purim is a carnival. During the celebration we met princes and princesses, fairies and elfs, Little Red Riding Hood and a Spiderman.
This holiday should be מרבין בשמחה which means "multiplying the joy". We were so happy and honored to share this joy also with our friends from Christians for Israel that came to Tzuba during their 2017 International Leadership Forum. About eighty people from different nations, different corners of the world, but all of them are strongly connected to this Land and to its people. Christians for Israel were not just guests on this celebration, their role in the project is huge. Four years ago First Home in the Homeland was about to be closed because of lack of funding, and Christians for Israel decided to take over support of the program. All the Jewish families that received a smooth landing to the kibbutzim all over Israel were able to do it thanks to the support of our Christian friends all over the world.
Such a symbolic picture – Jewish families, recent newcomers to the Land of Israel, taking pictures on the hills of Jerusalem! Thanks to your gentle support their dream came true!
During the ceremony in Tzuba a number of very talented olim performed music and songs, and we honored our guests and friends from Christians for Israel with certificates of honor. Natan Sharansky, chairman of Jewish Agency For Israel and Elena Kovarsky, Head of the First Home in the Homeland program received signs of the special friendship between Christians for Israel and JAFI. We appreciate it very much!
Mr. Pim van der Hoff (Secretary of Christians for Israel International) and Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer (President of Christians for Israel International) receiving certificates of honor from First Home in the Homeland.
Koen Carlier and Natalia Krizhanovsky from Christians for Israel working in Ukraine arrived to Tzuba earlier – and they had an important reason for that!
Many olim families recognized them from the first moment – of course, because the Christians for Israel team started their aliyah! After visiting them in Ukraine and bringing these families to the airport, Koen and Natalia came to follow their destinies in Israel. Except of Ukrainian Jews there were olim from Russia, Belarus, Moldovia, France, Italy, Hungary et cetera. They arrived in different kibbutzim and are presently at the beginning of their new Israeli future and with our cooperation between Christians for Israel and JAFI and with HaShem's help this future will be very successful!
'First Home in the Homeland'
Projectmanager Jewish Agency for Israel