Here in Israel summer is quickly approaching, and with it the feeling that life is increasingly getting back to normal – a strange and different normal than before the coronavirus crisis. Even with the many hopeful signs and renewed ability to leave home, meet and mingle, the pandemic has left its mark on the country. Israel maintains extremely high levels of unemployment, a severely impacted health system, and a sharp increase in the debt to GDP ratio. You can learn more about the current situation from the Taub Center’s just released annual Picture of the Nation 2020 that assesses the current situation and projects the continuing impact that COVID-19 is likely to have on the socioeconomic situation in Israel.
For Israel and Israelis, the steady stream of new olim (immigrants) arriving throughout the past 3 months – even during the period of near total lockdown – has been a real silver lining. Last week 119 new olim from Ethiopia realized their dream of living in the Jewish homeland when they arrived on the annual memorial day for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel. The group was met by Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog and the new Minister of Aliyah, Ethiopian-Israeli Pnina Tamano-Shata. The date of their aliyah commemorates the intense struggles and peril Ethiopian Jewry underwent to come to Israel. Watch this video of Benny Goshen’s incredible personal story of his family’s Aliyah from Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Israeli families in Yokneam received a welcome surprise from their sister cities of Atlanta and St. Louis when an emergency grant provided them with essential food items and toys for the children. Their moving thank-you video can be viewed here.
Mazal Tov World ORT
Congratulations to World ORT which celebrated 140 years of powering Jewish education across the globe this Sunday at their online General Assembly.
Dr. Conrad Giles was re-elected for a second term as President of the organization, and Robert Singer contributed an op-ed explaining why he is thrilled to have been elected Chair of the Board of Trustees.
GA participants were treated to a sneak peek of a film currently in production that chronicles World ORT’s 140 years of commitment to Jewish education.