On July 30, 2023, the municipalities of Gush Etzion and Efrat, in collaboration with Shivat Zion, organized the 1st Social Event for Latin Olim of Gush Etzion and Efrat. Approximately 50 people attended the event, which took place at Oz v’Gaon and lasted for two and a half hours. It included group dynamics activities, an emotional and uplifting lecture on Aliyah and Zionism by Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, and a dinner. During the event, people took the opportunity to get to know each other and also learned the size and significance of the Latin community in Gush Etzion and Efrat. Attendees expressed their gratitude for the initiative, praised the event, sought information and tips regarding aspects of the klita (absorption) process, and suggested having more gatherings soon, which could include group trips, activities exclusively for Latin women, and study groups in Spanish and Portuguese.
On June 26, 2023, members of the Shivat Zion staff met with senior staff of Masa in their offices in Kiryat Moriah in Jerusalem. Shivat Zion Founder/Director Shraga Evers, together with Hannah Kaminski and Mark Lehrman met with Uriel Edery (Director of Global Marketing & Sales), Yael Sahar Rubinstein (Chief Product Officer) and Andrew Dittus (Masa Community Manager) to learn more about the various Masa products and discuss ways in which the two organizations could work together to promote them and introduce potential Olim on Masa programs to Shivat Zion’s services. The discussions were very productive and much common ground was revealed which could prove to be a win-win for both organizations. Continued cooperation and ways to work together will be pursued moving forward. Shivat Zion continues to reach out and look for organizations to team up with to better enhance its support and guidance for Olim from Europe and Latin America, all with the goal of bringing more people on Aliyah and help them successfully integrate.
On June 18, 2023, the Shivat Zion staff was invited to attend an in-service and information session given by the Global Aliyah Center of the Jewish Agency for Israel in their offices in Kiryat Moriah in Jerusalem. Together with other Aliyah support organizations including the Moetzet Irgunei Olim, Qualita, TELFED and AACI, we learned about the various services offered by the Global Center, learned about some new regulations and gained a better understanding of how the center works, especially the pressure they are under to provide up to date and timely responses to the thousands of requests they receive, especially as Aliyah continues to increase. One of the more interesting items we learned was that the center is open six days a week from 8:00 - 22:00 in shifts and in an emergency even seven days, supporting 52 phone lines that can be accessed for free from all over the world and provides language support in English, Russian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Overall the day helped strengthen existing relationships, fostered cooperation and enabled all of us to think about ways to improve inter-agency communication, with the overall goal to provide even better service to Olim everywhere.
By RIVKAH LAMBERT ADLER Published: JUNE 9, 2023 19:46 Imagine you’re a Jew from the Netherlands or Portugal, Spain, Germany or Italy. You’re eligible to make aliyah, but you speak neither English nor Hebrew. The vast resources of Nefesh B’Nefesh, which was founded in 2001, are focused on the English-speaking countries, where the majority of Diaspora Jews still live, such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Additionally, during his tenure as chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky announced that aliyah would no longer be the agency’s highest priority. As a result, efforts to promote aliyah worldwide have been significantly curtailed since 2010. The reality of this one-two punch created a void for people making aliyah from Western Europe and Latin America. “We only focus on countries that don’t have a professional framework in place.” Shraga Evers
“We went into a vacuum where there is no support”, said Mark Lehrman, Shivat Zion´s task force director.
“We only focus on countries that don´t have a professional framework in place,” Evers noted.
Besides Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency, there are other players in the aliyah field, such as the relatively newly minted Yad L’Olim, which, according to its website, helps English, Ukrainian and Russian olim “navigate the complex government bureaucracy in Israel.”
Shivat Zion cooperates with all of them to share information. “We try to cooperate with as many organizations as we can that can deliver a partial or full solution for olim with general or specific subjects. With regard to Yad L’Olim specifically, we are sending people to the medical database (Shira Pransky Project), which we see is very helpful in understanding the Israeli medical system. The issue is that it’s only in English. When it’s relevant and [the clients] speak English, we do refer.” Evers explained that there used to be local, grassroots organizations in Israel to help with absorption, but they are hardly functioning anymore.
And the organizations that promote aliyah in Western Europe and Latin America are, according to Evers, far less active than they used to be. “A lot of [older, grassroots organizations] say they are doing things [to help olim], but they are not so effective [anymore],” he said. Evers explained that, by contrast, “Israeli society is so engaged to help.
We work with youth movements because they are in every neighborhood, to get to the parents – to get volunteers for host and adoptive families.
We find a lot of willingness [to help] and not a lot of awareness of what olim go through.” Shivat Zion provides “everything they need from the moment they consider aliyah to the moment they are settled – practical issues, as well as emotional issues. We make sure people get the rights to which they are entitled.
“It’s very important to provide support in their mother tongue,” he emphasized. Shivat Zion serves as an information hub.
Evers estimates that 10% of his organization’s efforts are spent on encouraging aliyah, and the other 90% provide language-specific information and connections to olim once they’ve begun the aliyah process.
“We start with encouraging aliyah. We bring the subject of aliyah to the minds of the Jews abroad through online marketing, making sure it stays on their mind,” Evers explained.
Making information accessible is the organization’s main goal, so once it has helped a client with a specific problem, it writes a user-friendly guide with simple text and illustrations based on the research it did, and makes it available in the six languages it supports.
Lehrman said that among Shivat Zion’s client population, there are a lot of aliyah status issues. One client who was getting very frustrated thanked Lehrman just for listening to his complicated story because “people don’t have anyone to talk to.” Shivat Zion provides “a lot of information and also responds to ad hoc needs – medical, social, governmental.”
For example, a client wanted to meet people in her new community, so Lehrman and his team found her a host family. Shivat Zion’s niche is working with small Jewish communities that no one else is serving. It’s a complicated operation, dealing with so many languages and cultures.
Nevertheless, when a question comes in, Shivat Zion strives to respond that same day or the next day, providing an answer in the client’s mother tongue. And the advice it gives is often very country specific. “Knowledge is power.
We are making the information accessible in their language. “We are trying to get people what they need, with a very high standard of personal care,” Lehrman explained. Evers raises all operating funds for Shivat Zion privately, although it is gearing up for requesting government assistance.
THE INSPIRATION for Shivat Zion came from Evers’s own aliyah experience. He grew up in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.
“I grew up in a Jewish community that was becoming smaller and smaller,” he recounted. His father was a rabbi of an Orthodox synagogue.
Evers attended private Jewish schools and graduated at 16. He came to Israel, studied in Yeshivat Hakotel, and then joined the IDF and served in the Golani Brigade. After getting married, he returned to the Netherlands so his wife could complete her schooling.
By the time the couple made aliyah, they had a one-year-old daughter. Coming from the Netherlands, Evers reported, the young family got “no support whatsoever with absorption.” “Being an active Zionist, I always encouraged people to make aliyah,” he said.
His idealism was challenged from both the Right and the Left. “In Western European countries, aliyah is not spoken of. [The religious Jewish communities there] believe in building local communities.
The Left doesn’t see Israel as their homeland. People also live convenient lives abroad.” One of the biggest challenges the Shivat Zion staff faces is understanding the cultural mindset of the people they are committed to helping. Every culture presents its own challenges that have to be navigated.
For example, Evers noted that “people from Latin America are suspicious of government services, and in their culture they don’t ask questions. [Also], there are a lot of false conversions from Italy. Our staff is learning along the way as we gain experience.”
Some olim want to shop around for answers. Some don’t tell the whole picture of their family situation. Rather, they reveal it piece by piece, further complicating Shivat Zion’s work.
Asked about Shivat Zion’s plans for future growth, Evers preferred to focus on the present. “Our main concern is to make sure that every oleh or olah gets what he or she needs to make aliyah and stay in Israel. Our aim is to serve every country that doesn’t have support.”
Evers and Lehrman shared two cases where their help made all the difference. In one case, a prospective olah had three conversions. She applied for aliyah, and the process was stopped for reasons no one explained.
A Shivat Zion adviser discovered that the issue was that her passport was close to expiring.
“No one bothered to check on what was holding it up until we got involved,” Lehrman related.
In another case, a woman in her 60s who was alone in Israel needed major surgery urgently. She had no local family. And she was, understandably, very scared. No one properly explained to her about the surgery.
“We made sure to connect her to the hospital social worker to explain the surgery to her. We arranged for home care with the National Insurance Institute and recruited a local volunteer to help her when she returned home,” Lehrman elaborated.
“People should know there is an address where they can turn to to get the information they need in their own language. No one is doing what we’re doing,” Lehrman concluded.
On June 5, 2023 the Shivat Zion staff traveled to Ra’anana to spend the day meeting with and learning from the amazing team at Telfed. Telfed, celebrating its 75th birthday this year, is focused on promoting the absorption of South Africans and Australian Olim in Israel, and to support their participation in and contribution to Israeli society. As Shivat Zion continues to grow and evolve, we are constantly looking for ways to improve, and learning from the best in the Aliyah field helps us refine our best practices in providing legendary customer service to all the Olim we serve. The collected wisdom and dedication of the Telfed team came across in all the in-services we participated in, as we learned about the various services they provide, including Aliyah & Klita, employment advice, academic scholarships and financial support, volunteering and community building as well as social services to Olim in need. As a result of the various meetings and discussions it was agreed that Shivat Zion and Telfed will join together to cooperate and seek out new ways to raise the level of service to Olim. In addition, the personal and professional connections that were made between both staffs will be key in helping both our organizations continue to improve as we look forward to future collaborations.
Le pratiche per fare l’Aliyah, ed il percorso da seguire per una perfetta integrazione in Israele, non sono sempre semplici e facilmente comprensibili. Shivat Zion è un’associazione senza scopo di lucro che mira ad aiutare gli Olim, provenienti dai paesi europei e latino-americani, con tutte le loro necessità, sin dalle prime domande sull’Aliyah fino al momento in cui si sono stabiliti comodamente in Israele. Shivat Zion promuove l’Aliyah e sostiene gli Olim da tutti i paesi latino-americani e europei, esclusi i paesi appartenenti all’ex Unione Sovietica, Francia, Belgio e Regno Unito.
On March 14, 2023, Shivat Zion participated in a Higher Education fair at Bar Ilan University, promoted by Minhal haStudentim (Israel Student Authority) in partnership with the Ministry of Absorption and its minister, Ofir Sofer, who was present as well. The purpose of the event was to disseminate and clarify the various services provided to Olim Chadashim (new immigrants) and offered lectures and assistance to olim from different countries and in multiple languages. A few hundred olim participated and the event was considered a success by all.
A Shivat-Zion fechou este mês uma parceria com a ONG Olim do Brasil em prol dos olim chadashim brasileiros. Ambas organizações vêem na parceria a possibilidade de alcançar, de forma estruturada e conjunta, um maior número de olim brasileiros que precisam de orientação e apoio no processo de aliá e na adaptação à vida cotidiana em Israel. Sabendo dos desafios que a imigração apresenta, tanto no que diz respeito ao idioma, quanto à adaptação cultural e o desconhecimento de direitos e obrigações, a Shivat Zion e a Olim do Brasil oferecem informação e ajuda voluntária, além de atendimento personalizado através de WhatsApp, chamadas telefônicas e reuniões. Nesta parceria, quem ganha é o oleh!
Nach Israel einzuwandern ist ein großer Schritt und nicht immer einfach. Viele Olim Chadaschim (Neu-Einwanderer) stoßen auf eine Vielzahl von Herausforderungen, sei es beim administrativen Aliyah-Prozess, beim Umzug, beim Aufbau ihres neuen Lebens in Israel oder bei den unzähligen bürokratischen Aufgaben, die neue Einwanderer in Israel erwartet...
Imigrar para Israel pode ser um desafio, mas também pode ser uma das melhores decisões de sua vida. Se você está pensando em fazer sua vida no país da Terra Santa, este guia é para você. Nele, vamos mostrar passo a passo tudo o que é preciso para imigrar para Israel. Desde os documentos necessários até as etapas do processo, passando por informações sobre vistos e trâmites legais. Além disso, vamos compartilhar dicas valiosas sobre como se adaptar à vida em Israel e todas as oportunidades que o país oferece. Então, se você está pronto para começar sua nova jornada em Israel, vamos começar!
Shivat Zion è una nuova organizzazione israeliana che facilita il trasferimento degli ebrei europei e sudamericani in Israele. Abbiamo parlato con Shraga Evers, che ha fondato Shivat Zion insieme con un gruppo di persone che si erano trasferite in Israele da sole. Ci ha raccontato dei molti ostacoli incontrati, senza trovare chi li aiutasse nei tanti problemi che stavano affrontando. Ma una volta arrivati in Israele e dopo essersi integrati, hanno usato...
Qual è la vostra visione? Perché avete fondato Shivat Zion?
Un altro evento di successo si è svolto all'inizio di gennaio presso il campeggio invernale del Bnei Akiva Italia. I giovani hanno organizzato la "Serata Israele";la serata era suddivisa in tappe, ogni tappa rappresentava una parte di israele: TAPPA RELIGIOSA, TAPPA CHAYALIM, TAPPA STORICA, TAPPA CIBO, TAPPA MASADA, TAPPA HIGH TECH e TAPPA SHIVAT ZION. Alla serata hanno partecipato 290 adolescenti di età compresa tra i 14 e i 18 anni e i loro madrichim. Nella tappa Shivat Tzion l'attività prevedeva la visione del video-marketing ufficiale di Shivat Zion e la costruzione di un aeroplano di carta con il nostro logo, l'aereo simboleggiava l'Aliyah. L'attività ha ricevuto feedback positivi in quanto è stata piacevole, ha coinvolto in maniera efficace sia i chanichim che i madrichim e inoltre sono state distribuite le magliette di Shivat Zion. Nel complesso, è stata una serata interessante con lo scopo raggiunto ossia di incoraggiare l'Aliyah tra i futuri potenziali olim italiani.
On January 1, 2023, Shivat Zion joined AMIEL rabbis in the diaspora for a webinar on Aliyah and Klita. The discussion brought to light complex cases, document requirements, the importance of rabbinic and community involvement in the Aliyah process, and best practices for successful absorption. The conference was led by Shivat Zion CEO Shraga Evers and was attended by AMIEL Institute Director Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum and AMIEL rabbis throughout Europe. The conference highlighted key eligibility criteria under the Law of Return, as well as critical points such as necessary documents for converted Jews and the main reasons for rejection of Judaism documents by the Israeli Ministry of Interior.
Hannah Kaminski, la Directora de Servicio al Nuevo Inmigrante de la ONG "Shivat Zion" (el retorno a Sion) https://shivat-zion.com/?lang=es nos acompaño mientras hacia sus compras para el Shabbat en el Mercado mas iconico y colorido de Israel llamado Majane Iehuda. Ella es de origen Brasilero pero se hace entender a la perfeccion en español y por eso la invite a que me cuente de su experiencia y de su hermoso proyecto, el cual esta destinado a ayudar a demas personas necesitadas.
This month we were officially accepted as a member of the MIO - מועצת ארגוני עולים, the Council of Immigrant Associations in Israel. This is the umbrella organization for Olim organizations in Israel, in which all Aliyah organizations are members. The MIO is in touch with all relevant government bodies with the purpose of advocating and advancing Aliyah rights.
Shivat Zion ist eine neu gegründete Organisation aus Israel, die (potenziellen) Einwanderern aus Europa und Südamerika bei der Aliyah* hilft. Wir haben mit dem Gründer Shraga Evers gesprochen, um mehr über die Organisation und ihre Ziele zu erfahren. Shivat Zion wurde von Shraga Evers zusammen mit einer Gruppe von Olim* gegründet, die während ihres Aliyah- und Klita*-Prozesses selbst auf zahlreiche Herausforderungen
Aliyah: wörtl. „Aufstieg“, Bezeichnung für Umzug nach Israel
Klita: Aufnahme/Integration in Israel
Olim: Neue Einwanderer in Israel
Misrad HaKlita: Ministerium für Integration
A Shivat Zion é uma ONG israelense formada por consultores, contadores, advogados e voluntários judeus que uniram-se no objetivo comum de ajudar gratuitamente os olim nos processos de aliá e klitá. Originalmente focada nos olim do norte europeu, a ONG expandiu sua abrangência para prestar auxílio também aos países da América Latina, cujos olim enfrentam dificuldades em
Het nieuwe internetplatform Shivat Zion is sinds een halfjaar actief om Joden die naar Israël willen emigreren te ondersteunen. Het platform wil in zeven talen, waaronder Nederlands, Portugees en Italiaans, de oliem kosteloos hun weg helpen vinden in de bureaucratische wirwar die Israël soms kan zijn. Volgens initiator Shraga Evers is die hulp broodnodig. Landen met grote Joodse gemeenschappen als de VS bieden die ondersteuning wel, Europese landen
A Shivat Zion é uma ONG judaica, sediada em Jerusalém, que oferece assistência gratuita aos judeus da Europa e América Latina que estão em processo de aliá para Israel. A CONIB conversou com Anna Lins, responsável pelo suporte em português e espanhol, que explicou os objetivos da organização: “A Shivat Zion é uma ONG formada por judeus que têm como objetivo ajudar os olim