With figures indicating that as many as one-fourth of immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union are not Jewish, the government of Israel is about to embark on a program to teach prospective immigrants Hebrew, Israeli culture and Judaism.
“These are courses in Judaism, they are not for conversion,” said Rabbi Michael Melchior, Israel’s minister for Israeli Society and Jewish Communities. “Of course, there may be some non-Jews who might wish to continue their studies for the purpose of conversion once they are in Israel.”
Atlanta — Citing figures showing that more than half of those who arrived in Israel this year from the former Soviet Union under the Law of Return are non-Jews, Orthodox Jews are demanding a change in the law. But Absorption Minister Yuli Tamir said that what is needed is a new approach to Judaism.
“What the Law of Return tells us is that to share the Jewish faith one need not be halachically [according to Jewish law] Jewish,” she said in an interview here while attending the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities.
For a Woodmere, L.I., pediatrician, the offer of a $60,000 fellowship to move her family to Israel and practice medicine there may be just what the doctor ordered.
Dr. Tamar Rosner, who practices with her mother in Brooklyn, said she had been “seriously considering” making aliyah and that learning of the fellowship and Israel’s need for physicians helped to finalize it for her. She said she, her husband and kids now plan to move to Israel this summer.
Every Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir has received the same request from a group of people in India: We are descendents of the Jewish people and we want to be recognized and allowed to settle in Israel.
Those pleas fell on deaf ears until 1996, when a similar letter was sent to then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and spotted by a deputy press officer, Michael Freund.
The city's Planning Department revealed last week that more and more former Soviet Jews are immigrating to the city not as refugees but for family reunification and on lottery visas, a fact that has been observed on the streets of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
As a result of these changes, Kenneth Gabel, executive director of the Shorefront Y in Brighton Beach, said his board has established a master policy committee to study demographic, service and market trends in south Brooklyn.
The first 76 Jews from the Quara region of Ethiopia arrived in Israel this week on a regularly scheduled Ethiopian Airlines flight after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an all-out effort to bring them to Israel.
Retelling the story of the exodus to freedom will have a special meaning this Passover for two elderly former Soviet Jews, both of whom became American citizens recently with the help of citizenship courses funded by UJA-Federation.
As many as 1,000 Iranian Jews will soon be able to leave their homeland for Austria, the first step in a two-step process for gaining admission to the United States as refugees.
Until now, these Jews were unable to apply for Austrian visas because they did not have friends or relatives outside of Iran who could put up the requisite $2,100 security deposit needed for those wishing to wait in Vienna while their refugee applications are reviewed. The money is required to assure Austria that the applicants do not become wards of the state.
Fearing that within the next 20 years Israeli Arabs will outnumber Israeli Jews in the Galilee and the Negev, the board of the United Jewish Communities will be asked to approve a $200 million emergency program over five years to settle 300,000 Jews in both regions in the next decade.
The New York Jewish community is preparing to resettle "hundreds" of ethnic Albanian refugees here in coming weeks and to raise an estimated $200 to $600 for each refugee to supplement government grants, The Jewish Week has learned.