A Busy Season For Aliyah

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5 Oct 2021
A Busy Season For Aliyah

We have just concluded a wonderful celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles here in Jerusalem, and it was a great joy to see the Jewish people celebrating this biblical festival back in their ancestral homeland after centuries of exile among the nations. For forty years now, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been keeping the Feast while also assisting Jews to return to Israel from all around the world. And as we head into the fall, we are expecting a very busy season of Aliyah efforts, starting with a large flight next week from the Bnei Menashe community in India.

Like many Jews around the world, the Bnei Menashe gathered in their villages in north east India to celebrate Sukkot in September. During their prayers for the holiday, many offered up a special plea to fulfill their age-old dream to finally reach the Promised Land of Israel in the coming year.

The Bnei Menashe, or ‘Sons of Manasseh,’ claim descent from one of the ten tribes of Israel who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for nearly three millennia before settling in what is today an enclave of India along the borders of Burma and Bangladesh. Their community has continued to honor Shabbat, keep kosher, and observe other Jewish religious practices into modern times. And they have continued to hold on to their hopes of one day returning to the Land of Israel.

Over recent years, the ICEJ has made the dream of returning to Israel possible for over 1,200 Bnei Menashe, including our assistance for a group of some 275 who arrived in Israel on emergency flights this past summer during a major spike in the coronavirus pandemic in India. Now, plans are currently underway for another group of 275 Bnei Menashe to make Aliyah next week. Of this group, the ICEJ has committed to sponsoring flights for 50 of these new immigrants, but we can assist even more with your help.

This flight of Beni Menashe is kicking off what promises to be an exciting season for our Aliyah efforts worldwide. There are opportunities over the coming weeks and months for Christians to support the return of Jews from all directions back to the land of their forefathers – from the East, West, North and South, just as God promised (Isaiah 43:5-6).

One of these opportunities will come later in October when the ICEJ will be sponsoring the flights of more than 100 SELA high school graduates from Russia and other former Soviet republics. Over the past 15 years, the ICEJ has supported Jewish teenagers in these Russian-speaking countries to take part in the Naale and Sela programs operated by The Jewish Agency for Israel. Sela is a home-away-from-home program for high school students who are looking to pursue a prestigious international education, take lessons in Hebrew, engage with Israeli society and culture, meet new friends, and just experience life in Israel.

These Youth Aliyah programs have proven to have a high success rate in encouraging Aliyah over the years by bringing Jewish youth to Israel ahead of their parents. JAFI has found that it is often easier for the youngsters to learn a new language and adjust to new surroundings, and then they can help their parents acclimate better once they arrive. It has been a great blessing for the ICEJ to support these unique and highly effective Aliyah programs over the years.

Another opportunity will be the Aliyah seminars taking place this month. The Christian Embassy will be assisting with weekend Aliyah seminars in Georgia and Belarus. These ‘Shabbaton’ seminars provide comprehensive pre-Aliyah processing to alleviate concerns, answer questions, and educate participants using direct connection with trained counsellors. Some attendees are young family members who will move to Israel ahead of their parents and must be ready to live alone in the Land until the rest of the family arrives.

Later this fall, we also are expecting to be involved in another round of Aliyah flights of Ethiopian Jews, while other doors should be opening soon to sponsor Jewish immigrants from North America.

So, this is going to be an exciting time filled with many Aliyah activities, and we ask you to support the ICEJ as we undertake these efforts in fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Please give your best gift today to help more Jewish families return to their homeland in Israel.