Anna and Michael Tarasov from the Ukraine are recent First Home in the Homeland
participants who have been living on Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh for only three weeks.
February 1, 2010 / 17 Shvat 5770
Through First Home in the Homeland, Efraim Tanchil found his true home.
The 38 year-old attorney, who emigrated from Minsk with his wife and two children, settled in Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh in the Negev, one of the participating kibbutzim throughout Israel's northern and southern regions that serve as a warm, supportive "first home" for new immigrants.
After only a year and a half in Israel, Tanchil has mastered Hebrew to the point where he has taken the nine exams necessary to become a licensed lawyer in the country. And he is taking steps to become a permanent member of the kibbutz.
Since its inception in 1999, First Home in the Homeland (In Hebrew: Bait Rishon Bamoledet) has assisted 35,000 new immigrants from around the world to acclimate and adjust to life in Israel. It offers an alternative model to the absorption center by placing new immigrants the warm, communal atmosphere of a kibbutz far away from the hubbub of the city, in the spirit of the Zionist dream. There they live and learn alongside native Israelis as well as veteran immigrants.
First Home in the Homeland is supported by the Jewish Federation of Palm Springs and Desert area.
Support for new immigrants begins even before they move to Israel, continues through their stay of up to two years at the participating kibbutzim, and continues even after they have become citizens and have settled in their long-term homes and communities.
"The kibbutz environment is the perfect place for new olim. Here we offer them Hebrew lessons, childcare, and other services all in a nurturing environment," said Yelena Kovarski, director of Southern region of First Home in the Homeland, herself an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, who has lived on Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh for 19 years. She has personally helped 15,000 olim resettle in Israel.
Anna and Michael Tarasov from the Ukraine are recent First Home in the Homeland participants who have been living on Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh for only three weeks. "We love Israel," said Anna. Professionally, Michael worked in IT support and Anna worked at a bank. Currently, the Tarasovs are in intensive ulpan four days a week. "We hope to find good jobs once our Hebrew has improved," said Anna.
For now, they have everything they want. "We have small house with everything thing we need in it and a warm community here," Anna said.
In addition to learning Hebrew, many participating new immigrants are offered employment opportunities. Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh's on-site factory, which produces brass ball- valves and fittings, employs many new immigrants. And 20 olim from the Yotvata Kibbutz Ulpan program and other Kibbutzim in the South are participating in a 14-month hotel management course to prepare them for employment in Isrotel hotels in Israel. The program combines Hebrew language ulpan classes with courses in management. Graduates of this course are promised jobs in the Isrotel chain.