Project Spotlight: Empowering Jews to Make Aliyah

The Fellowship  |  May 26, 2020

Young boy with a mask on his face who just came off an Aliyah flight.

For many Jews, making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and a way to take refuge from anti-Semitic hatred, war, and poverty. And for Jews longing to make aliyah during the global pandemic, the need for Israel is even greater.

“I am so glad to come to Israel and have been waiting for it for a long time. Medical care in Israel is on another level and especially in times of corona, this is paramount,” said Vadym, 57, one of 109 new olim who made aliyah with The Fellowship last week from Ukraine. The new olim include 21 children, of whom 14 are under the age of 10, while the oldest person to board this flight was an 89-year-old woman.

“One thing is clear throughout this pandemic, and that is the fact that Jewish people around the world are flocking to Israel for the safety, security, and stability they know they can find here,” said Yael Eckstein. “Despite the risks of travel, the limited availability of travel, and the strict quarantine in place for olim upon arrival, we have seen a significant increase in the desire to finally come home to Israel. This is a challenging time for the entire world and the Jewish world in particular. Despite the difficulties, The Fellowship continues to work hard for the benefit of continued aliyah activities. Our mandate does not stop during COVID-19.”

The olim who landed Tuesday were meant to arrive in Israel in March. However, as the coronavirus spread in Ukraine, the government closed their airspace and tightened their borders. Despite this, The Fellowship asked the Ukrainian government to finally allow the olim – who had already sold their homes and left their jobs with the intention of making aliyah, and had been waiting two months – to make the trip to Israel.

Vadym plans to make a life in Israel after completing the quarantine period. “I’ve been waiting to make aliyah to Israel for a long time. For many years, I did not feel that I lived where I could be proud of my Judaism. With the coronavirus crisis, I feel that the conduct in Israel is more responsible,” he said. “I heard there’s a heatwave in Israel, but I’m not worried. I prefer to live in a warm place with warm people,” Vadym concluded.

We are so happy for these new olim who are finally home! Find out how you can help even more Jews around the world make aliyah with The Fellowship.