Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MK Dov Lipman Inspires New Olim!

Dov Lipman made Aliyah just 9 years ago. Yesterday, he stood before the latest group of new Olim and gave an inspiring, encouraging and faith -building greeting ~ as a Minister of the Kenneset! Listen and be inspired also~

click here for original link

Monday, July 22, 2013

106 Children Making Aliyah !

Original link to video

North American aliyah organization Nefesh B'Nefesh is set to break a record Monday with an historic “children's aliyah flight” that is to carry 106 children, in 41 families, to start new lives in Israel. All in all, the flight will carry 231 new olim (Jews returning to Israel) from North America.

Former abducted IDF soldier will Gilad Schalit will also be on board El Al flight LY3004, as a show of solidarity and appreciation.

The flight is the first-ever “children's flight” organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh along with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), or Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael.

Nefesh B'Nefesh expects 989 children to make aliyah on its flights in 2013. This is a 20 percent rise compared to 2012, in which 822 children made aliyah.

"The children's flight fills us with great optimism,” said Erez Halfon, Deputy Chairman of the organization. “These children are the future of the state of Israel and they cause us great excitement in making aliyah.”

Hundreds of VIPs and guests will receive the olim at Ben Gurion Airport's Terminal One. They will include Aliyah and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, as well as MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), who made aliyah on a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight in 2004.

The term aliyah means “ascent” in Hebrew and has been used in Judaism for millennia, to refer to a pilgrimage by Jews to Jerusalem, or immigration to the Land of Israel from a foreign land.
Israel National News article 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Maccabiah Games ~ in Jeruslaem

For the first time since 2001, the opening ceremony is returning to Jerusalem. Mayor Nir Barkat has wanted to bring the Maccabiah Games back to the capital since taking office five years ago, and this year’s ceremony will demonstrate just how well Jerusalem can host world-class events.

Around 32,000 people are expected to pack the stands, with thousands of Jewish athletes from 77 countries to march around the stadium as part of the Parade of Nations.

President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be among the numerous local and foreign dignitaries present at the ceremony.

Maccabiah 2013 will be the largest in history, with over 9,000 athletes to take part in the competitions across the country over the next two weeks.  JPost article

Watch the Maccabiah Games live on JLTV !

Click here: Jewish Life Television

Interesting bit of trivia:
The games include their share of romance as well, as the Maccabiah is considered one of the biggest matchmaking events for the world's Jews. For example, Adam Joseph, who arrived in Israel eight years ago as part of the Australian football delegation, met team player Bec on the plane. Four years later, when they returned to Israel for the next Maccabiah, he proposed to her on Tel Aviv's beach. This time, they will be returning to the competitions with their 18-month-old son. YNet News

Adam & Bec

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gush Katif~ 8 Years Later

 Tisha B'Av~ the day we mourn the loss of the Temple (twice) and our original expulsions from Israel as well as numerous other tragedies to the Jewish people. It is  day of grieving.

8 years ago~ on the day after Tisha B'Av~ we became our own worst enemy. The Romans, the Babylonians~ we expect evil from them. But our own community? Never could we have imagined. The Ariel Sharon government expelled 13,000 people from their own homes, land and businesses. For what? Peace? To apease world governments? Only G-d really knows. It was a time of complete insanity. Total destruction. And we know now that it did not bring peace~ it only brought our enemies closer to their targets~ us.

Today ~ the Yartzeit of the Gush Katif communities~ we remember and mourn their loss. 8 years later 50% of the people expelled still have not been able to find homes, farm land or rebuild their lives. Never mind the anguish of heart and soul that may never be repaired or healed.

We can only look to G-d for justice. Healing. Reparation.


Friday, July 5, 2013

A Family’s Medical Challenge Becomes Aliyah Necessity

Most people immigrate to Israel for spiritual, religious or familial reasons, and medical care doesn't usually factor into the equation. 

But in the case of Iris Kowen’s family, that was not the case.
Living in the Holy Land was always the ideal, she says, but it was the issue of medial necessity, and special needs potential that prompted the family to consider it seriously.
Kowen’s son, Shai, was born a seemingly normal, happy baby. But at four months old, he had his first seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy, she relates.
“By age 16, following years of evaluations and misdiagnoses, Shai was labeled profoundly disabled with mental retardation. His condition included a series of side effects that severely limited his motor skills and left him entirely reliant on a wheelchair and the assistance of others,” she says
But though her son’s obstacles were great, Kowen says he possessed a spirit and curiosity that belied his disability.

“For me, the biggest challenge in having a severely disabled child was the fear that he would never be able to maximize his potential.  While I understood that Shai had limitations, I was equally aware that these shouldn't prohibit him from developing to his fullest,” she says.

The family  became “nomads of sorts,” moving from Florida, to Toronto, and back, crossing much of North America in search of the best care, community, and family support they could find.
In America, the style was one of group homes that focused on basic care, and the family struggled to find alternative options.
“I always felt that there had to be something out there that could bring out the potential I saw in my child. This gut feeling ultimately became our major motivation for making aliyah,” Kowen says.

It was a television commercial that caught her eye and introduced Kowen to ALEH, Israel's largest network of facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities.  “We were touched by their mission and offered to help the organization in Florida, never thinking that we would one day be the recipients of its care. After all, there was a language barrier and we had careers to consider.”
But a chance visit to Israel allowed Kowen to visit the organization’s facility in the Negev, where she was shocked by the high level of care, and all the different forms of therapy she saw in action there.

“I was particularly touched by the involvement of so many volunteers, groups of cheery men, women and children running the gamut from high school students to high tech workers. We realized that we were not getting younger, and we needed think more seriously about the future, specifically Shai's long-term care,” she says.
With a newfound determination to secure the kind of care for Shai that he clearly required, the family prepared for the move, difficult as it would be.

“It was especially difficult for our two teenage daughters who had to create their own social and educational frameworks out of thin air when we started from scratch in the Negev.  But we acclimated and made it work,” Kowen says. Shai today receives care at ALEH Negev - Nahalat Eran, a village providing residential care for children with severe disabilities, through young adulthood.

“I know that moving to Israel was the best choice for my family," says Kowen, who today serves as International Relations director for the facility. "Here in the Negev our possibilities are blooming.”

Original post click here