The latest Fellowship Freedom Flight brought 116 new olim (immigrants) to Israel from war-torn Ukraine earlier this week. The Jerusalem Post’s Michelle Malka Grossman writes that such aliyah (immigration to Israel) flights by The Fellowship have now carried more than 2,000 Ukrainian Jews to the Holy Land.
Many came from war-torn zones bordering Russia, where violence between Russians and Ukrainians has caused thousands of Jews to flee. The olim who arrived have witnessed much violence, and those who lived away from the violence still felt its reverberations.
For this reason, the Freedom Flight program was created, airlifting 2,365 Jews to Israel since December 2014. Through the program, olim receive financial and bureaucratic assistance, as well as guidance before and after aliya, according to Ofer Dahan, the IFCJ’s director of aliya and absorption who accompanied Tuesday’s group from Kiev. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of the IFCJ, said the program helps Ukrainian Jews make aliya “to rescue their physical bodies from peril, and to return them to the Jewish Homeland…”
Before their flight, the IFCJ helped the families pack and transport their belongings to the airport and provided preparation seminars on what to expect in Israel. During the first year of aliya, an IFCJ member helps them navigate bureaucracy, find jobs, enroll in school and even does home inspections to make sure families have all necessary appliances and furniture.
If not, the program makes sure they get it.