For our Ukrainian mishpacha, this year in Jerusalem

Artem (name changed for privacy) and his family are trying to flee Kyiv to Israel. Artem, a Reform cantor, converted to Judaism with his wife and daughter. The Russian invasion of Ukraine began before their Aliyah requests were fully processed. Under normal circumstances they would have been unable to make Aliyah or possibly even receive entry visas to Israel. The Progressive Movements Legal Aid Centre (LACO) helped Artem’s family acquire entrance visas.

We still don’t know whether the family will be able to take advantage of the decision as Artem is not allowed to leave the country because he is in the age group of compulsory draft and his wife does not want to leave him. We are waiting to see how we can assist them further to fulfill their dream. 

Families have left Ukraine with few belongings. When the opportunity came to get on a bus to the West, children grabbed their favourite toy; Parents a carry bag. 

Sophia (name changed for privacy) and her daughter, both converts, and Sophia’s mother, are trying to flee Ukraine. Thanks to LACO’s aid, they were able to acquire entry visas and are now in Israel. We are now helping them apply to make Aliyah from inside Israel.

Individuals like Artem require more assistance to get out of Ukraine. Nicky Maor’s team at the Progressive Movement’s IRAC Legal Aid Centre for Olim needs special help in taking care of hundreds of new, complicated, and heartbreaking clients already arriving from Ukraine.  Her overstretched team do the footwork, contacting government offices on their behalf to ensure that these refugees are not left in limbo abroad or in Israel with no legal status. We also help the many Jewish couples, where the Jewish partner is allowed into Israel while their non-Jewish partner or spouse is not.

IRAC estimates that they need at least US$100,000 to hire additional staff just to advocate for those trying to come from Ukraine who face unnecessary hurdles on their path to safety.

Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh - כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה - All of Israel Are Responsible for One Another.

The time is now.

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