After a few months hiatus, the WHIM is back. Lots has happened between my last WHIM and today. As Daytonians, Americans, and a worldwide Jewish community we have faced many challenges over recent months. During this time, I have been trying to focus on the positive.
One of the things I have been directing my energy towards is our Fall 2023 trip to Israel, which will focus on food, wine, culture, and Partnership2Gether – more information to come! Traveling to Israel always proves to be inspiring for me. And while I have witnessed far too many stirring moments to list them all, there is one that remains at the forefront of my mind.
During my first trip to Israel with what was then called United Jewish Appeal (UJA), our group went to Ben Gurion Airport and watched as a plane full of Ethiopian Immigrants disembarked. As they stepped off the plane, many of them, with tears in their eyes, stopped to kiss the ground. Their dream of making aliyah to Israel had become a reality. To witness such a deeply personal, life-changing moment is something that resonates within me to this day.
Helping to make aliyah a reality for Jews throughout the diaspora is an important part the of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and its partnering agencies’ missions. Now, Russia is attempting to shut down the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) in its country. This news is very alarming.
JAFI has been responsible for helping many immigrants relocate – including Soviet Jews and Ethiopian Jews. Without JAFI, hundreds of thousands of people would still be living in fear and oppression. Naturally, Jews throughout the world are concerned by Russia’s recent move.
JAFI is a critical lifeline for Russian Jews, one which many count on as an avenue to safety. JFNA is hard at work on this issue, closely monitoring the situation and advocating for JAFI’s presence in Russia.
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