Anglo olim are back helping Bnei Menashe immigrants
A few months ago a special grassroots drive was set up in Gush Etzion in which hundreds of brand new wedding gifts were donated, wrapped and delivered to a most unusual wedding ceremony held at Moshav Nordia near Netanya. The festive event was one of a series of mass weddings, the final ceremony in the aliyah and conversion process for Bnei Menashe new immigrants, who are slowly returning to Israel after 2,700 years.
The drive was the brainchild of Shayna Levine-Hefetz, who made aliyah from Baltimore and lives in Gush Etzion. Levine-Hefetz thought that the weddings, and indeed their start of their new lives in Israel, would be that much more joyful if they felt warmly welcomed by local people in Israel.
In fact, the drive was a huge success, with the hundreds of beautifully wrapped gifts, plus enough money donated to purchase dozens of ‘kiddush’ cups for the families.
Recently, an emergency aliyah brought in 160 Bnei Menashe including dozens of children. Because of covid-19, and the fact that the Bnei Menashe came from India, the quarantine has been excessively long, in small hotel rooms, with minimal toys and distractions. This has lead to extremely bored children and their frustrated parents.
Shayna Levine-Hefetz, once again, came to the rescue. Galvanizing a team of Gush Etzion women, she set up drop-off points to collect toys and games for the children, as well as raising money for a shopping spree that she and her friend Helaine Brenner personally went on to supply the children with toys and much-needed smiles. She dedicated the drive to a speedy recovery of Rafael Moshe Tzvi Hirsh ben Shayna Chavah.
Other people got in on the action as well. Tamara Okun, also of Gush Etzion, organized hundreds of gently-used clothing items, sorted them by size and delivered them for distribution to those same children.
We’re so grateful for these incredible people and the kindness they show over and over again! If you and your community would like to get involved, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We’d love to speak to you.