I was six years old when my family moved from Israel to the United States. I grew up in Orange County, California with my parents and younger sister, Eden.
In July- October, 512 lone Olim soldiers participated in our military pre-release seminars.
Through the months July- October approximately 512 young alone Olim participated in Wings guidance Center.
In October we celebrated Israel's 70th anniversary together with 1200 young Olim alone soldiers and veterans.
Tony Reichler was born in Venezuela and made Aliyah to Israsel by himself as part of the Naale”h Program in 2009, when he was only 16 years old. Once he completed his studies and served in the IDF in a significant position as combat soldier, Tony heard about Wings program and decided to join our family.
Passover, also known as the Holiday of Spring and the Holiday of Freedom, symbolizes renewal and change, and there is no more significant change than being released from the IDF.
In the first quarter of 2018, we have come to know slightly over 200 lone young olim who participated in the various group activities of the Guidance Center.
David Merage arrived in Israel and decided that this time, he would mix business with pleasure. So, he invited the Knafaim team to join him on a unique teambuilding evening that included a fascinating tour in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood in south Tel Aviv. We all cleared our schedules and embarked on a tour through the alleyways of this gorgeous and distinctive neighborhood.
The Graduate Program, stemming from a wonderful partnership with the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, has now concluded its first successful year. It has certainly been a challenging year, a time of learning and experience, with lone olim soldiers, either newly discharged or well into their civilian lives, joining the Knafaim family through the Graduate Program.
After every workshop we receive a torrent of calls from lone olim soldiers who have completed their service, asking about a range of topics – from tips and advice regarding employment, to consultation and aid in solving financial problems. The one case that stands out this month, another reminder on the importance of educating olim to never take anything for granted, is that of Rafael.
So, what happened in November and December?
We got to meet a lot of new olim, and had the opportunity to conduct important collaborations with both old and new partners. Let's begin with a little of the familiar topics, and then move on to describing some new activities
"Wings helped me with everything financial. They were there to make sure I wasn't getting taken advantage of and got everything I deserved as a new immigrant and released lone soldier."
This year the State of Israel held its second Aliyah Day,a tradition started in 2016 to mark a national holiday celebrated on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. Thisday emphasizes the importance of Aliyah to Israel and the contribution of immigrants to the State.
In September, Wings alumni Program celebrated the end of its first culinary course, led by food writer and blogger Matan Chufan. Just before the course ended, we held a food tour in the streets of Tel Aviv, winding through restaurants and spice markets, stopping by the famous "Lechamim" bakery, sampling Persian cuisine, and ending with “Buzza” ice cream.
During the months of September and October, 148 soldiers joined the Wing "family", participating in preparatory workshops specially designed to their needs.
September and October were busy months for the Guidance Center staff, particularly in terms of aiding immigrants in finding housing, efforts made in addition to workshops on housing conducted in the kibbutz ulpanim, and also the Beit Brodetzky Absorption Center, as specified in the following. Dozens of olim contacted us to consult on various areas of residence, or requested that we review contracts on apartments they had found prior to signing. During those months,Center staff examined 25 lease contracts sent to us by immigrants who had found housing and were on the path to establishing their independence in Israel.
Orientation Day held at Beit Brodetzky Absorbtion Center. During the day we dealt with several topics preparing the participants for the living in Israel:
Job searching: CV writing workshops, interview preparations, tips on how to find and rent an apartment and budget management.
Wings Program aims to be a home that provide support for Lone Immigrant Soldiers at all times, helping and guiding them integrate in the best possible way into the Israeli society when they get released from the army.
David Merage, Founder and CEO of the David & Laura Merage Foundation, visited Israel during June and was present and active at various Wings events.
Wings - Providing lone soldiers with the tools they need to enter Israeli society as confident and active citizens.
On Thursday night, March 16th, Wings hosted former lone soldiers at an amazing Alumni Network opening party. The Alumni Network social programming is being run in coordination with the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption.
Natan is the new Social Coordinator for the Wings Alumni Network. The programming is being run in coordination with the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption. Natan made Aliyah from New Zealand in 2013 and served as a lone soldier in a combat unit. Natan participated in the Wings program upon his release from the IDF.
Whether you celebrated in Israel or abroad, the Wings staff wishes all of our friends a very happy Purim holiday.
2016 was a great year for Wings! We reached 1,100 new immigrants prior to enlistment in the IDF and 750 lone immigrant soldiers making the difficult transition from soldier to civilian.
In February 2016, Wings received the mandate to hold a "Lone Soldier Forum" from Knesset Member, Avraham Negosa at an Aliyah and Absorption Committee Meeting. This was the first time a forum was been created to bring together the many different organizations dealing with lone soldiers in order make decisions together regarding lone soldiers.
Each month, Wings for Lone Immigrant Soldiers works in coordination with the IDF to provide a workshop that prepares lone soldiers for entrance into civilian life. The workshop brings together lone soldiers for a full 5 days of interactive learning and creates a platform for soldiers to share fears, concerns, and hopes for the future.
Member of Knesset, Michael Oren, is a true champion for Israel's lone soldiers and a former lone soldier himself. Wings congratulates MK Michael Oren on his new position as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.
Member of Knesset, Michael Oren, a true champion for Israel's lone soldiers and a former lone soldier himself, speaks often about the challenges lone soldiers face as well as the importance of creating solutions.
On June 7th, Wings opened the first of 5 seminars to take place with a group of 100 young immigrants living at the Beit Brodetsky absorption center in Tel Aviv.
The Wings Program for Lone Soldiers was represented on June 6th in a caucus for lone soldiers in the Israeli Knesset. The caucus convened to discuss the issue of lone immigrant soldiers and their integration into Israeli society after their release from the IDF.