A family from Yemen living at the Beit Canada Absorption Center in Ashdod.
(Photo credit: Ancho Gosh)
The Beit Canada Absorption Center in Ashdod celebrated the completion of its renovations with a dedication and gala Hanukkah event on December 13, 2009 with the affixing of a new mezuzah, a candlelighting ceremony, and festive singing.
Participants included the residents of the center who come from 20 countries around the globe, as well as dignitaries, among them Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Knesset member and Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, Avi Pazner, World Chairmain of Keren Hayesod-UIA, Eli Cohen, Director General of the Jewish Agency's Department for Aliyah and Absorption, and Yossi Tanuri, Director General of UIAC.
Thanks to the generosity of the Keren Hayesod Women's Division of Sao Paulo, the
Center underwent a complete makeover, including refurbishing the outside façade, parking lot, outdoor playground, the lobby, skylights, individual rooms and bathrooms.
"The biggest miracle has already happened, your aliyah here to Israel," said Landver, who moved to Israel 30 years ago from the Soviet Union and has lived in Ashdod ever since. "Here your dream becomes a reality. You are part of the land, of the country. I hope that miracles and wonders happen not just on Hanukkah but in your personal lives, as well."
Built in 1968 as a center for new immigrants in the field of academics, the Beit Canada Absorption Center in Ashdod soon became the first home in Israel for families from around the globe. It is one of three Beit Canada Absorption Centers in Israel supported by 15 Jewish Federations throughout Canada.
Beit Canada in Ashdod currently houses 192 people from all over the world, including Yemen, Brazil, Turkey, the Soviet Union, and Hungary.
Shaul Apteka moved to Israel five months ago from Bombay. He lives at the Beit Canada Absorption Center in Ashdod with his wife and two children (above) Kinneret and Karmiel.
Shaul Aptekar, from Bombay, is a current resident. He moved to Israel five months ago with his wife and children, Kinneret and Karmiel.
"We moved here for our children and for their future," he said, adding that even though there is a synagogue and a Jewish school in Bombay, there is just not enough Jewish life to ensure his children will be able to live and learn as Jews.
"Living here has been a good experience. When you come from another place it's a big shock, and here it is comfortable and has made adjusting to Israel easier. It's also nice that Ashdod is right on beach," he said.
According to Sharansky immigration to Israel is up 25% from last year.
"We want more and more Jews to make aliyah. With God's help we will continue this miracle of Hanukkah until everyone is living in the state of Israel," he said.