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Israel & Christians Today

Biblical understanding about Israel

October 5, 2016

Religious education of olim in the "First Home in the Homeland" - Project

For many years in the USSR the government followed an unofficial policy of state atheism, aiming to gradually eliminate religious belief within its borders and to replace it with atheism. Jews living in Ukraine or Russia were not allowed to show their Jewishness and many of them changed their names and surnames. They even burnt all the documents with evidence of their Jewish origin. Parents stopped talking Yiddish with their children and left this language as a "secret code" between them. 

Some continued to keep prayer books or the Torah in secret hiding places but generation after generation their Jewish self-consciousness got weaker and weaker. Currently we see a revival of Jewish spiritual life, many people return to religion and to their roots. But even Jews who are far from religion move to Israel nowadays! Sometimes olim come to the "First Home in the Homeland" knowing almost nothing about their Jewishness.

Once during a meeting with an Israeli politician, Yehuda Avner, Rebbe from Lubavich said that every soul is a candle that lights all around, it just needs fire, and such fire is a belief. – Did you light my candle? – asked the visitor. – I gave you matches, - answered Rebbe.

Christians for Israel considers religious education for olim in the "First Home in the Homeland" as one of her responsibilities. Without feeling of belonging to the Holy Land it's impossible to plant roots in the dry and hard Israeli ground, only enlightened souls can blossom!

On the 21st of September, 2016 a meeting was held with Roger van Oordt (Director Christians for Israel) and Natan Sharansky (Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel) together with Elena Kovarsky (Director of the project First Home in the Homeland) and Koen Carlier (Leader of Christians for Israel in Ukraine). One of the items on the agenda was - how to strengthen the Jewish self-consciousness of olim that come via First Home in the Homeland. Presently Jewish traditions are implemented into Hebrew studies, and newcomers also receive additional lectures about Judaism and Tanach held in their mother tongue.

Elena Kovarsky, Koen Carlier, Roger van Oordt and Nathan Sharansky

Natan Sharansky - Jewish Agency for Israel - Chairman
Roger van Oordt - Christians for Israel - Director
Koen Carlier - Christians for Israel Ukraine

On the 22th of September, 2016 Koen Carlier visited the First Home in the Homeland project in the Eshkol region (near the Gaza strip). He met with Boris Kaminski, the lecturer of Jewish traditions. Already for twenty years Boris provides to olim religious Jewish education (interview with Boris is coming soon!). On the eve of Rosh Hashana he talked in ulpan (Hebrew class) about the meaning of the Jewish year. Koen, Elena and Boris discussed ways of additional religious education for olim, how to give them more sense of belonging and knowledge of Jewish holidays and main concepts of Jewish life.

Boris teaching newcomers about the Jewish calendar – year number 5777 is coming.

Elena Kovarsky - First Home in the Homeland
Koen Carlier - Christians for Israel Ukraine

You can read about the results of these meetings and discussions in our future articles! Remember, you cannot light every candle, but you can hand out matches!

Orly Wolstein
'First Home in the Homeland'
Projectmanager Jewish Agency for Israel

Please support the First Home in the Homeland - Project. Any amount is welcome!
Assisting a family in the "First Home" program costs € 230 euro / US $ 250 a month.

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