As we approach Rosh Hashanah, the word that seems to come to mind is ‘uncertainty’. So much has changed in recent months and we are slowly adjusting to a new way of living.  I have witnessed events over the past few months that I could not have imagined.

At Telfed we have adapted to meet this new, strange reality. From the onset, Telfed was classified as an essential service and we are handling increased requests for assistance, adjusting our Aliyah procedures, holding virtual events and adapting our various programmes so that we remain fully functional in spite of the challenges we face.

Our community continues to come together in support of one another, Aliyah numbers have been increasing from around the world, and our Pras students and volunteers have been dropping off welcome parcels outside the doors of new Olim who have gone straight into quarantine. In our recent ‘Pay it Forward’ campaign, government grants that were donated to needy Olim were transferred immediately to over 400 members of our community in order to assist them during this difficult time. I have been filled with an overwhelming sense of pride by the generosity of spirit within our community.

Our Olim continue to reach new heights – inspiring us with their remarkable contributions to society. Following the signing of an historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, one of our very own SA-born Olim captained the maiden flight to Abu Dhabi.

Rosh Hashanah is a time of new beginnings. This year, we will begin the New Year with many unknowns but also with hope and courage. One certainty is that we have a strong, resilient organisation that is committed to doing whatever is necessary to support our community. I would like to use this opportunity to extend my appreciation to our Telfed family, dedicated staff, lay leaders and volunteers, and to the donors who continue to help us ensure that members of our Olim community have food to eat and a roof over their heads.

Wishing you all a Chag Sameach in good health,

Batya Shmukler

Telfed Chairman