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UIA Progressive Appeal

Snapshot of the impact of your donation

We thank you for your continuing investment in making Israel a home for all Jews, and provide an update below on the impact of your dollars.

The UIA Progressive Appeal was fortunate to host an online event in March with Amir Tibon, U.S. News Editor at Ha’aretz, and live events in Sydney and Melbourne with Nicole Maor, a Sydney-born lawyer and Netzer leader who made aliyah in the 1990s, and who is the Director of the Legal Aid Center for Olim, part of the Israel Religious Action Center.

Amir shared good news about the growth of Progressive Judaism in Israel, with more and more Israelis, particularly the younger generation, choosing Progressive and Masorti movements for their expressions of Judaism. He pointed out that the potential election of Gilad Kariv, a Progressive rabbi, to the Knesset added to the alarm of the ultra-Orthodox. After Amir’s talk, our worldwide Progressive movement celebrated the election of Rabbi Gilad Kariv to the Knesset. CLICK HERE to view a 15-minute version of Amir Tibon's talk; and CLICK HERE for a 3-minute version of his talk.

Our Progressive community also celebrated a great victory when on 1 March 2021, the Israel Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling recognising Modern Orthodox. Masorti and Progressive conversions in Israel. The UIA Progressive Appeal was honoured that the lawyer who led the charge for this significant victory, Nicole Maor, joined us in April to speak about this amazing success story. CLICK HERE to view a 20-minute version of Nicole's talk.

The continuing impact of Covid-19 has created urgent and immense challenges. One thing in Israel is absolutely clear: While millions of government dollars will go to support and sustain Orthodox institutions and communities in Israel, very little funding will come from the current Israeli government to the Progressive Movement.

David Knoll AM and Alan Obrart, NSW Co-Chairs
Brian Samuel OAM and Philip Bliss OAM, VIC Co-Chairs
Helen Shardey OAM, ARZA President

LACO helped Tanji remain in Israel
Tanji was married to an Israeli man; the couple had two children, and later she decided to divorce him because she suffered financial and verbal abuse.


“I was told that I should stay with him because otherwise I would be deported, since I do not have Israeli citizenship. Even if my children were born in Israel, I could still be deported without them."

"I didn’t know who to turn to, but then I heard about the Legal Aid Center for Olim (LACO). LACO explained my rights to me, taught me the terms I needed to know and assigned me a lawyer who represented me in court.”


Following the proceedings in court, Tanji was awarded a two-year extension to remain in Israel, during which she hopes to settle her legal status in order to remain with her children in their home. “I am so thankful to LACO for giving me a chance for a future with my family.”


Social work assistance to youth in need
Nati, a six-year-old boy, needs help with his homework. His mother works at an old-age home and due to the spread of COVID is prohibited from coming into contact with anyone outside of their home or work, or she will be fired. Nati’s mother tells him and his younger sisters they can no longer go to school, meet friends or go outside. She is scared and anxious and the children are too. Tensions rise and the children begin to act out severely; Nati runs away a few times by climbing through the window when they are left with a neighbour. Nati doesn’t have a computer at home and there is only one smartphone shared in the family, which his mother needs for work, so he can’t see his classmates on Zoom or study the new material that he needs in order to learn to read.

The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism’s Keren b’Kavod was contacted by the welfare office in Nati’s neighborhood and asked for them to step in and help cases such as Nati’s family, where the children were totally cut off from peers, schoolwork and social interaction.

Sara, a mentor and social worker, was personally assigned to Nati in order to help him and his sisters through this time. She takes Nati out once a week to an open space where they can play, eat a warm meal that he chooses, talk – and most importantly learn to read.

   
Ethiopian immigrant fulfils dream to serve in the IDF

Fenta, aged 18, is a young woman of Ethiopian descent whose parents immigrated to Israel. Growing up, Fenta had to drop out of school at age 14 and work in order to support her family. Her father could not find a long-term job and resorted to drinking. Her mother worked long hours and double shifts. Fenta had to take care of her younger siblings in addition to working.


When Fenta reached age 17, the IDF reached out regarding her upcoming service. “I really wanted to serve in the army and do what everyone my age gets to do, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave my brothers and sisters at home, and my parents with no income.”


Keren B’Kavod provided a social worker for Fenta’s family, who spoke with her and her parents, made a plan together for Fenta’s future and their future as a family. At last and with great joy, Fenta agreed to enlist to the IDF where she is now an officer. Her family are regularly attended by the social worker, who helps them continue their financial planning and aids them with daily challenges.

Support group for victims of domestic abuse
In July, a group of women in their early 30s, asylum seekers from homes where they are domestically abused, came together to conclude Keren b’Kavod’s 18-month program that supports women in these situations and their youth. One of the women in the group, Himbirti, who had been “merely pushed” by her husband when she began the program, had sadly come to a point at home where she could not attend the final meeting because she had been hospitalised due to severe abuse on her husband’s part. Her children were almost taken to foster care. The other women in the program completed the last meeting, enjoying outdoor teamwork activities by Keren b’Kavod, celebrating what they had learned over the past 18 months with their mentor. The women visited Himbirti in the hospital to show their support – something that never would have happened in the past due to fear.


Although they have very meager means, this group of women have learned to provide the emotional support and network that keeps them and their children above water. This is due to Keren b’Kavod’s program that not only aids them but also empowers them to learn how to help themselves and build a community of women who can hold each other up for the long-term.

For further information, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 0416 700 613
 

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