Conversion needed for Israeli citizenship to start in the Ukraine

October 23, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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A new project has been launched in Kiev to assist Olim eligible by the Law of return to begin their conversion process right in their country of origin, in light of the increase in the number of Olim from the Ukraine.

Harry Triguboff and Shalom Norman

Harry Triguboff and Shalom Norman

Sydney property magnate Harry Triguboff made a four day visit to Kiev, ​Dnepropetrovsk and “Mayak” Jewish Agency refugee camp  in Eastern Ukraine.

Triguboff was accompanied by Shalom Norman the Executive Director  of the Triguboff Institute in Israel, Greg Meisel the CEO of Keren Hayesod-UIA and Zeev Kedem the head of the Resource Development division of KK”L -JNF .

The project, named “Maslul”, will allow the Olim to begin their studies for the conversion process, while preparing for their Aliyah, helping them integrate more easily within the Israeli society. The project is an initiative by the Triguboff institute, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency, the Midrash Zionit (Zionist Seminary) in Kiev and the local Jewish community in the city.

“Maslul” will be directed to those who are eligible for Aliyah according to the law of return, but are not recognized as Jewish according to the Halacha. This is possible due to article 4(a) of the law of return, in which eligibility for Aliyah is granted to a spouse of a Jew or the grandchildren of a Jew. According to a study done by the Triguboff institute, approximately 30% of all Olim to date, have immigrated to Israel in accordance with article 4(a). It is estimated that within the current wave of Aliyah from the Ukraine, this percentage climbs to 85% among those who are under the age of 40.

These Olim are experiencing difficulties when they wish to marry and are directed, without any preparation or prior knowledge, to complete a lengthy conversion process which includes approximately 500 full hours of studying. Many of them who come across this problem years after their arrival, find themselves without the resources necessary to meet the program’s intensive requirements, due to their daily lives and routines. Often, this seems like an impossible thing to achieve.

Shalom Norman said “Maslu will offer a solution to this problem by utilizing the relatively relaxed time period between the decision to make an Aliyah and its execution.

Estimates say that this time period lasts between 5–18 months, during which the eligible Olim are busy selling their assets and complete all necessary arrangements.

The new project will offer them the opportunity to utilize this time period even more effectively, by accumulating hour of study, in accordance with the official state conversion program in Israel, towards immigration and completion of the conversion process in Israel.

“Maslul” is an addition to the “Shorashim” program, initiated by institute in the cities of Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk, which assists eligible Olim in preparing the necessary documents for their Judaism enquiry procedure in Israel.

Shalom Norman, director of the Triguboff institute and initiator of “Maslul”, stated that “Our goal is to solve the problem of integration of immigrants from the FSU before their Aliyah, in order to avoid the problem before its formation”. According to the outlined plan of cooperation, delegates from the Jewish agency will identify and direct proper candidates to the program, while the people of the Midrasha Zionit will develop and lead the teachings in class.

The project was launched at the Galitzky synagogue in Kiev, home of the Midrasha Zionit and was attended by ​​the founder of the “Triguboff institute”, Harry O. Triguboff who travelled from Australia​, Mr Shlomo Neeman senior advisor to the minister of absorption , Joseph Zisels of the Ukrainian Jewish Congress , Beni Lidsky of the Jewish Agency , Mr. Elisha Henkin of the Midrasha Tzionit , Mr. Polishuk of  the Israel Embassy counsellor, Mr. Zeev Kedem and Shalom Norman.

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