Photo credit: Nadya Katzir

 

Moving to a new country can be both exciting and daunting, especially when it involves navigating a new language, culture, and way of life. For olim hadashim, or new immigrants to Israel, this experience can be particularly challenging. Fortunately, there are a number of governmental and non-profit organizations throughout Israel that are dedicated to helping olim acclimate to their new surroundings and build a sense of community. From providing language classes to connecting newcomers with local mentors, these organizations play an essential role in supporting Israel’s new immigrants and helping them thrive in their new homes.

Organizations that aid in the acclimation of olim hadashim to Israel can be found on this list.

 

The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration

 

Official website: https://www.gov.il/en/departments/ministry_of_aliyah_and_integration/govil-landing-page

The Ministry also plays a key role in promoting immigration to Israel, working to attract new immigrants from around the world and helping them navigate the immigration process. It works closely with local municipalities and community organizations to ensure that new immigrants have access to the resources and support they need to build successful lives in Israel.

The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration has offices located throughout Israel, including in the major cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Be’er Sheva. These offices are responsible for providing services to new immigrants in their local areas. If you are a new immigrant in Israel, you can contact your local office to learn more about the services and support available to you.

 

The Jewish Agency
Official website: https://www.jewishagency.org/

The Jewish Agency (formerly known as Sokhnut) is a non-governmental organization that works in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration to facilitate the process of aliyah. Its main focus is to support Jewish communities around the world and encourage aliyah (immigration to Israel). One of the main work done by the Agency in Israel is embodied in the activities of the organization “Masa the Israel Journey” (Masa). Masa is the Hebrew word for journey.
Masa organizes 2-12 months study trips around Israel, and provides career development programs for young jews (18-30). Their diverse portfolio of programs in Israel include:
Masa Career (internships and paying job opportunities with leading Israeli companies and government organizations);
Masa Gap (study experience for college-bound high school graduates);
MasaTech (career relocation for tech professionals);
Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (brings native English speakers to Israel to teach English and travel in Israel);
Masa Academic Fellows (a semester or year in Israel to earn college credit);
Masa Teen Journey (6-10 weeks cultural and leadership trip around Israel for teens);
Masa Internships (internships for college students and graduates in with leading Israeli companies and government organizations);
Jewish Studies (interdisciplinary Torah and Talmud studies in Israel’s top universities).

Nefesh B’Nefesh
Official website: https://www.nbn.org.il/

Nefesh B’Nefesh (translated from hebrew as “Soul to Soul”), is a nonprofit which promotes, encourages, and simplifies the immigration process from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to Israel. This venture was first imagined by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass after a family member was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel on the 28th of March 2001. Realizing that many wanted to immigrate to Israel but were worried about various difficulties, Rabbi Fass and Tony Gelbart, a philanthropist from Florida, joined forces to establish an organization to make the transition to Israel easier for American Jews.

Today the organization aims to remove or minimize the financial, professional, logistical, and social obstacles that potential olim face.
Nefesh B’Nefesh works in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Government of Israel and major Jewish organizations to offer financial aid, employment guidance and networking, assistance navigating the Israeli system, social guidance and counseling. The main activities of the organization include: Guidance and Community Resources; Employment Services Pre and Post-Aliyah; Events and Programming; Government Advocacy; Alyah Flights.

Gvahim
Official website: https://gvahim.org.il/

Gvahim (translates from Hebrew as “heights”) is an organization designed to help olim hadashim with professional qualification or strong work experience to build a successful career in Israel.
In 2006, Moroccan-born Ole Hadash Mickael Bensadoun made the move to Israel and quickly set to work creating a career for himself. Taking his experience of professional and academic integration, he founded an organization dedicated to helping highly educated olim land their first job in the country. Bensadoun and his philanthropic supporters pioneered the first ever aliyah career and absorption program. This unique approach has proved to be highly successful and has now become the standard for such programs, connecting professional olim with the Israeli system through the provision of mentorship, networking, and social acclimatization skills.

Gvahim organizes events that help olim gain essential tools and skills to enter the Israeli job market. The organization offers programs: Aliyah Prep; Gvahim Tech; Gvahim Career Center; Business English; Vocational Training; Career Kickstart.

The organization cooperates with the government, municipalities, non-profit organizations; philanthropy groups; local mentors, and volunteers to implement the activities listed.

ESRA   
Official website: https://www.esra.org.il/    

ESRA (translated from Hebrew as “help”) is Israel’s largest English-speaking community network, aiding the successful integration of immigrants while working toward bridging equity gaps in Israeli society through its education and welfare projects. The organization works with English speaking olim hadashim. Its activities and services include social and cultural events, help in dealing with the various systems of Israeli society, opportunities for volunteering in the community, and personal support services.

ESRA works to close equity gaps in Israeli society through initiating and managing community projects focused on improvement of children’s educational achievement, programs of excellence, and enhancement of personal and social skills conducted in a safe and supportive environment.

English speaking olim are integrated into these projects as volunteers. This serves to enhance their integration into Israel while feeling a useful and contributing member of society. In this way ESRA promotes both of its main objectives – decreasing equity gaps while promoting successful integration.

Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI)
Official website: https://aaci.org.il/

AACI is a non-profit organization of American and Canadian Jews who have made aliyah to Israel and serves as a resource center for Israel’s English speaking population. The organization has 5 branches throughout the country that offer absorption counseling services and social and cultural programs.
Association’s main activities include programs: Student connect; Loans for Lonely Soldier Project; Remembers Project; Buddy System with Yad L’Olim; Kosher Traveling.

Shishi Shabbat
Official website: https://en.shishi.co.il/

Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli, an independent non-profit, was established by Russian and Hebrew-speaking educators, academics and community professionals to help Russian-speaking immigrants who come to Israel as teenagers or young adults. The organization’s educational, social and volunteer activities empower the olim hadashim to continue social activism, strengthen sense of belonging and raise chances for personal and professional success of the immigrants.

These are some of the programmatic activities of Shishi Shabbat: Friday-Shabbat Retreats; Agraman Israeli Cultural Project; Professional Mentoring and Business Hebrew; Excursions and Hikes; Home Hospitality on Jewish Holidays; Volunteerism.

In addition to its national programs, Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli has active branches with area coordinators in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer-Sheva, and Bat Yam.

The organization collaborates with the Municipalities of Jerusalem Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Haifa, Nefesh B’Nefesh, Masa, Birthright, and numerous educational organizations in Israel.

Yad L’Olim
Official website: https://www.yadlolim.org/

Yad L’Olim (translated from Hebrew as “Hand for olim”is a non-governmental organization founded by the former Israeli Parliament member Dov Lipman. The organization helps English speaking olim and advances their rights as a community. It helps them navigate complex government bureaucracy in partnership with the involved organizations. In March 2022, Yad L’Olim opened a special department to provide guidance to the tens of thousands of Olim expected to arrive in Israel from Ukraine. The organization also has Ukrainian speaking staff members that assist olim with employment, finding a place to live. They also serve as advisors and guides throughout the process of getting settled in Israel. Their main activities can be grouped into these main areas: Government Advocacy; Absorption Guidance; Healthcare Guidance.

Shivat Zion
Official website: https://shivat-zion.com/

Shivat Zion (translated from Hebrew as “Zion returnees”) is a non-profit operation that aims to help olim from European and Latin American countries, excluding countries belonging to the FSU, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
Shivat Zion sees its main mission in helping olim hadashim in close cooperation with all existing organizations and solutions. It aims to be a complementary non-profit service to the existing governmental, semi-governmental and NGO’s working in the field of aliyah and integration. Olim hadashim can find at the website of the organization useful informative resources and guides that will help to prepare for aliyah or deal with the state organizations once in Israel. The subjects of the guides include: Aloyah process paperwork; Plan your move; First steps after arrival; Life in Israel etc.

Keep Olim
Official website: www.keepolim.org

Keep Olim is a non-profit organization that provides vital programs, services, advocacy, and support to empower, inspire, and support olim to help them integrate successfully and to keep olim in Israel.

LiAmi Lawrence had encountered a daunting journey as an oleh in Israel; without a job, money, and a plan, he had felt that returning home was the only option. It was Tal Ekrony who had suggested the idea of forming a Facebook group that could spread the experiences of other olim and in less than a week, a unified platform with over 3000 olim from all around the globe was created. This marked the start of KeepOlim – a global movement with a sole mission of bringing the olim together to create an atmosphere of acceptance and help each other stay in Israel.

Programs include the KeepOlim Feeds Olim Food Program; Tikva for Olim Mental Health Program; No Oleh Alone for the Holidays Program; KeepOlim Bikur Cholim; Free Contract Reviews for newly arrived Olim; Free Resume Reviews and help with jobs; Bureaucracy Program etc.

Telfed

Official website: https://www.telfed.org.il/

Telfed is a non-profit organization that supports olim hadashim from South Africa and Australia to build a home in Israel. Its main activities are focused on absorption, which encompasses employment, scholarships, community-building, housing, support for lone soldiers, opportunities to volunteer and more. Over the years, the organization’s expertise in the field of absorption has resulted in cooperation with other communities: we supported Aliyah from Yemen (1950s), Russia (late-1980s), Iran (2007-2012) and the Netherlands (2014-2018). Since 2014, Telfed has been working in partnership with the Zionist Federation of Australia, offering absorption services to new Olim from Australia and New Zealand.

Israel Business Connection

Official website: http://www.israelbusiness.org.il/

The Israel Business Connection (IBC) program, created and run by the Council of Immigrant Associations, works to ensure new immigrants successfully join the local business sector – especially as small business owners. Their volunteers and professionals give olim hadashim the advice and knowledge needed to make the most of Israeli market opportunities and help them avoid mistakes. IBC acts as a trustworthy and well-informed resource to any new immigrant wishing to understand the complexities of establishing a business in the country.

IBC works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption, the Jewish Agency, the Israel Small and Medium Enterprises Authority (ISMEA) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Centers for the advancement of entrepreneurship (MATI Centers), the Israeli Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEICI), and Israel’s main industrial and trade associations.

MATI 

MATI is a nationwide system of Business Development Centers that helps entrepreneurs and business owners start or expand businesses in Israel. It is a non-profit organization established by The Israel Small and Medium Enterprises Authority. MATI centers act as a one-stop-shop for the business owner or entrepreneur, by providing them a package of services for their own benefit and successful business performance.

Main services include: Professional advice – help is available from professional advisors in a wide range of areas: preliminary consultation in making the decision to start a business; business advice and the preparation of a business plan; management of marketing; financial advice; guidance on organization; personnel, etc. The nature and duration of the advice are tailored to suit each applicant; Training – MATI Centers offer courses and workshops, specifically adapted to small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs. Among the subjects covered: establishment and management of the business, marketing, a course for small and start-up exporters, computerization and the Internet, electronic trading, courses for new immigrants, etc.; Referral to sources of finance – MATI Centers can be of assistance in the process of referral for obtaining finance from one of the funds earmarked for small and medium enterprises, or in an application to other financial institutions and frameworks. In addition, the CPEs can assist in the preparation of the business plan required for receiving finance.

Find your local MATI center here: https://www.science.co.il/municipal/Business-centers.php

LGBT Olim
Official website: https://lgbtolim.org/

LGBT Olim is a grass-roots, volunteer-led organization run by olim for olim. It was founded to build a welcoming community for LGBTQ+ people who have decided to make Israel their home, providing information to those considering making aliyah and providing post-aliyah services.

The activities of the organization include: provision of information; LGBT-friendly Hebrew classes; Building social network; Connecting new olim with relevant LGBT+ organizations.

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