January 2, 2013 / 20 Tevet 5773
A new ulpan based on the model of the renowned Ulpan Etzion has opened in the city of Ramle. The original Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem opened its doors to new immigrants in 1949 and now also has branches in Haifa and Tel Aviv. The opening ceremony of Ulpan Etzion, Ramle, was attended by the city's mayor, Yoel Lavi, as well as Yehuda Sharf, Director of Aliyah, Absorption and Special Operations Unit of The Jewish Agency for Israel.
The initiative is a joint project of The Jewish Agency and the Municipality of Ramle.
In December, the program welcomed it first participants: thirty young new immigrants from the FSU, Hungary, Turkey and South America.
The program is designed for young immigrants between the ages of 22-35 from all over the world who hold academic degrees. They will be welcomed in Ramle in a distinctive absorption program and a unique model of an urban absorption center. For the first five months of their Aliyah, they will live at the absorption center and learn Hebrew intensively for five days a week, five hours a day. The absorption program also includes a rich array of cultural and social activities, including tours around Israel.
The program is another new project in a network being constructed by The Jewish Agency which includes ulpanim across Israel of the standard set by Ulpan Etzion.
"Since entering my current position a year and two months ago, new ulpanim throughout the country were opened and expanded," says Yehuda Sharf. "The Aliyah, Absorption and Special Operations Unit opened one in Tiberias and one in Tel-Aviv with 85 participants. In Haifa, we expanded the ulpan's capacity from 50 to 150 students. Now we have opened this new one in Ramle. We aspire to open a network of ulpanim throughout the country in order to restore the glory of the time when The Jewish Agency had sixty ulpanim functioning throughout Israel."
Yehuda Sharf thanked the mayor of Ramle, Yoel Lavi, for his loyal partnership and the municipality's financial investment in full collaboration with The Jewish Agency. He also thanked the Ministry of Education for its assistance in posting high quality teachers who will bring the language to life for the new immigrants.
The new Absorption Center will operate from an apartment building especially allocated by the Local Authority for Absorption of the young olim in the project.