Last month, HaNoar HaOved – the youth movement associated with Dror Israel – held a seminar all about Aliyah (immigration) to Israel. And this time not just Aliyah in general, but specifically from the Former Soviet Union.
Participating in the seminar were youth movement leaders ages 17-20, with some connection to the Aliyah – having come from the FSU themselves, their parents or grandparents having made Aliyah, or perhaps currently working with Russian-speaking olim in or out of the youth movement.
Two participants, Nofar and Idan, summed up their meaningful experience at the seminar’s closing ceremony as follows:
“Our grandparents left everything all at once, took their children out of school, left the homes they grew up in, and went up to the country they had dreamed of for generations.
They came here despite all the difficulties. They came in order to stop having to hide their Passover matza, to be able to speak Hebrew at home, and to flee the regime that singled them out just for being Jewish.
Today we continue their brave path: To work step by step to make this country into the one that they dreamed of – a country where nobody has to fear expressing themselves, a country in which being Russian and Jewish is not a contradiction, a country in which we can be the free people that our families wanted us to be, a country in which we can see reality as it is and take the reins into our hands.”
The messages of this seminar are especially poignant and urgent this year as it comes at a time when Israel is absorbing tens of thousands of new olim from Ukraine and Russia, with thousands of newcomer children and teens joining the youth movement activities.
The graduates of this seminar will continue making the Hanoar HaOved youth movement a home for these youth and ALL Israeli youth no matter their backgrounds, religion, language, community or sexual orientation, and will fight to make sure that Israel always welcomes Jews in need from all over the world.