For over 2,000 years, the idea of returning to the Holy Land has occupied a central place in the collective mindset of the Jewish Diaspora. One of the organizations upholding this dream and making it a reality is The Jewish Agency for Israel, which was established in 1929 and played a key role in the creation of the state of Israel. A global network of Jewish philanthropists and activists, The Jewish Agency takes the mission of Aliyah, or immigration to Israel, seriously, seeking to help Jews around the world reconnect with their homeland.
In its formative years during the British Mandate period, The Jewish Agency focused its energies on facilitating immigration, engineering the clandestine movement of hundreds of thousands of Jews from war-torn parts of the world to the Holy Land. Through organizations such as HaMossad LeAliyah Bet and Aliyat HaNo’ar, The Jewish Agency was able to help Jews across Europe find new hope in the old world. Following the establishment of Israel, the organization continued its vital work. Today, in addition to serving as a primary point of contact between the Diaspora and Israel, The Jewish Agency honors its founding members by continuing to facilitate Aliyah for those Jews most in need, especially those living in states without diplomatic ties to Israel.
In addition to Aliyah of Rescue, the organization’s flagship program for helping Jews caught in dangerous situations find safety in the Holy Land, The Jewish Agency is at the forefront of worldwide Aliyah. Its Ulpan program offers immersive Hebrew schools for every skill level, while its Young Aliyah initiative provides opportunities for young Jews interested in immigrating to Israel. Those who decide to make Israel their home can take advantage of the organization’s Absorption Centers, First Home in the Homeland kibbutz stays, and other resources.
Chicagoland Jews interested in participating in the efforts of The Jewish Agency for Israel can join the Aliyah Council of Greater Chicago, or the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. For more information, visit www.aliyah.org.