When it comes to overcoming hardships while facing uncertainty, no one knows more about that than an immigrant.
Israel is often referred to as a melting pot. Its very foundation is built on the vision (backed by biblical prophecies) that the exiled nation will be gathered again in their promised land. Which is why immigration of Jews hasn’t stopped since Israel was first established. To this day, Jewish people are returning to Israel from all over, but especially from Russia and Ukraine.
The circumstances of their departure are often very harsh, and people leave to return to their ancient homeland with hope of a better future for their families.
The reality many face when they first arrive in Israel is oftentimes overwhelming. Aside from the current COVID19 related challenges, people are faced with the uncertainty of not knowing where they would live, work, where their kids would go to school. With no knowledge of the language, rights and also responsibilities, many are faced with obstacles that make things extremely hard for them. Especially when they have families and small children o take care of.
Olga’s story is a tough one. She made Aliya to Israel with her husband and 3 small children only 2 years ago. With only six months in the county, Olga’s husband passed away suddenly. She became a widow with 3 small boys, in a new country where she doesn’t speak the language, has no work, no idea of what social benefits she’s entitled to, but most importantly, she was facing all that while dealing with the grief of losing her husband.
While Olga’s husband was alive, they managed to purchase a small car that was on the husband’s name, so when he passed, Olga was stranded not knowing what to do. Something so simple as transferring the ownership of the car to her name so she could sell it, became a big task simply because she didn’t know how to do it, where to go and what to do.
When she came to us for help, a local lawyer from our congregation kindly offered to assist her with paperwork and bureaucracy. All the processes that you could only go through with someone who is legally assisting you.
Olga found herself in a difficult situation, and like her, many others who first come into this country. She didn’t have any money to pay for all the paperwork, taxes and legalities that needed to be taken care of, she wasn’t entitled to free legal aid provided by the government in some cases, which turns out isn’t completely “free” to begin with.
She then faced another legal battle, one of her young boys didn’t get citizenship.
Needless to say, Olga has too much on her plate. How can we expect people with no resources who recently immigrated to a new country to deal with all those things.
We saw an opportunity to recruit the help of our legal adviser who has been generous enough to assist, but then we saw Olga wasn’t the only one. Many more came to us looking for help while taking their first steps in a new country.
People need help with practically everything:
- Social security
- Filing for social benefits, unemployment or disability
- Debt collectors
There is so much people need guidance and help with, and we cannot expect one lawyer to handle this amount of people and needs.
Our goal is to start a Fund to provide legal assistance to newly immigrated families. Currently a team of three lawyers and legal aids are willing to work with hundreds of people that desperately need someone to help them as they navigate through the uncharted waters of immigrating to Israel.
Sometimes a helping hand during a real time of need is something that can make the biggest difference in someone’s life.
Would you support our Immigrants Legal Aid Fund and sow your best gift, and thus enable us to continue providing crucial legal assistance to people that have no one else to help them?