November 18, 2007 / 8 Kislev 5768
Throughout his aliyah process, Lucas Lejderman, a new immigrant from Brazil, has felt the personal touch of the Jewish Agency. The Ulpan Etzion Absorption Center has given him a family in Israel, while a Jewish Agency supported Student Authority scholarship has allowed him the opportunity to receive an MA in education and an opportunity to contribute to Israeli society.
When Lucas Lejderman, 25, immigrated to Israel from the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre this past year, he fulfilled a lifelong dream. “All of my life I wanted to come to Israel and do something meaningful here. I want to contribute to Israeli society in any way that I can,” he says with enthusiasm. Lucas, who received his law degree in Brazil, is currently studying for his MA in education at the Hebrew University with the assistance of a Jewish Agency supported Student Authority scholarship. He plans to use his degree as a stepping stone to effect major change within the Israeli education system.
Lucas is defined by his commitment to Israel and the Jewish community. Growing up, he was very involved with the Jewish youth movement Hazit HaNoar, and when he was 19 he came to Israel for a year-long program co-sponsored by Hazit and the Jewish Agency. After five months of Hebrew and Jewish studies, he spent three months volunteering at the urban Jerusalem Kibbutz Ramat Rachel and another three months working with Ethiopian immigrant youth in Beersheva. “It was one of my greatest experiences,” says Lucas. “It gave me the opportunity to dream and significantly influenced my desire to come to Israel. There were five of us from Brazil who went on the trip that year and we all ended up making aliyah.”
When he arrived in Israel, Lucas was welcomed at the Jewish Agency’s Ulpan Etzion Absorption Center in Jerusalem. “Living there made the absorption process so much easier,” he says. “They helped us with everything from learning Hebrew to getting our Israeli identity cards. Just having people to talk to and ask questions of is so important in the beginning when you first come to Israel.”
Today, in addition to his studies, Lucas holds a variety of jobs connected to Jewish education. He works with the World Conservative Movement and acts as a guide for Hazit’s long term tourist programs in Israel. Lucas also teaches leadership and administration at the Jewish Agency’s Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad, located on the Kiryat Moriah educational campus.
Inseparable from aliyah – and equally important – is the smooth integration of Jews who come home to Israel. For most new immigrants, successful absorption is essential to fulfilling both their dreams and Israel’s potential. With your help, the Jewish Agency can continue to support the absorption centers that provide critical services to immigrants during their first months in Israel. Donate here.
For more information about absorption centers, click here.