TORONTO, Ont., October 31, 2022 — Monday, October 31st, marks the observance of Yom haAliyah, a profoundly significant occasion in Israeli society. The holiday is dedicated to celebrating the importance of aliyah—the immigration of Jews from all around the world to the Jewish Stateand affirming it as a core value of the State of Israel.
In light of growing anti-Semitism throughout the world, the celebration of aliyah could not be more timely. In recent years, many Jewish populations in countries across the globe have become increasingly subject to persecution and discrimination. For these populations, the promise of making aliyah is a source of profound hope, representing the life of safety, hope, and community which all of these individuals and families deserve.
Fortunately, international organizations such as IFCJ Canada have stepped up to provide much-needed aid in these challenging times. The Board of Directors of IFCJ Canada recently travelled to Israel for this special occasion. The Board, along with a crowd of families and friends, stood smiling on the tarmac to greet a group of newly arrived olim (immigrants).
For Jackie Gotwalt, Executive Director of IFCJ Canada, the feeling of joy and hopefulness was powerful. “The atmosphere was incredibly emotional and joyous. There was even dancing on the tarmac as these newly arrived olim celebrated the first day of the rest of their lives in their new home country,” shares Jackie. “I spoke with one man who arrived without family but, upon arrival, put his arm around his travelling companion and declared ‘this is my brother’. I felt a deep sense of comfort knowing he, and the rest of the people on that flight, would find themselves part of a new family in Israel.”
The arriving flight included olim from France, Argentina, and Brazil. In a true testament to the scope of IFCJ’s work, the first olim off the flight was the 40,000th olim sponsored by IFCJ globally. 22 Brazilian olim were supported entirely by funds from IFCJ Canada, which has recently been making a concerted effort to facilitate the growth of aliyah from Latin America, as anti-Semitism has become an escalated problem across the continent in recent years.
This commitment to providing ongoing support programs for olim embodies the spirit of Yom haAliyah, as the holiday places profound importance not just on the journey to Israel but the contributions made by olim after their arrival. By helping new immigrants integrate into their communities and ensuring that their material needs are met, The Fellowship aims to help Jewish people live flourishing lives without fear of persecutionsomething that, for many individuals and families, was previously unattainable.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews of Canada (IFCJ Canada) was founded in 2003 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and to build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the largest providers of not-for-profit humanitarian aid in Israel and is a leading force helping Jews in need worldwide. IFCJ Canada is a separately registered charity governed by an independent board of directors and led by President Yael Eckstein. Founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ Canada operates alongside a network of Fellowship offices worldwide, including in the United States, Israel, and Korea. For more information, visit www.ifcj.ca.