Lighting up Lives: 8 Stories

UJIA Chanukah Appeal 2018

Chanukah, the festival of lights, is a time where we remember and celebrate the victory of the Maccabees and the miracle of the menorah burning for 8 days.

To celebrate Chanukah we light a chanukiah, lighting another candle every night for 8 days, using the shamash (assistant) to help us.

Just as the shamash is used to ignite the flames of the candles, UJIA is dedicated to igniting the lights in young people in the UK and vulnerable communities in Israel.

Read on to hear how UJIA has helped to light up the life this year of 8 young people, from inspiring British youth with innovative Israel education, to strengthening the most vulnerable people in Israeli society.


Shimi, UJIA funded Kemach beneficiary
“Thanks to UJIA, I don’t have to choose pursuing a career or focusing on my yeshiva studies. I can do both and still provide for my family.” 

The UJIA supported Kemach Programme, helps Charedim enter Israeli employment. Shimi had no access to mainstream education and grew up in a community with high unemployment and poverty levels. Thanks to UJIA, Shimi is now giving back to Israeli society. He’s completed his national service and is now employed by one of Israel’s leading high-tech companies.

Arkan, UJIA funded Ma’ase Programme beneficiary
“Achieving goals and dreams needs a lot of hard work. Thanks to UJIA, I have broken a cycle, out of reach for so many.”

Arkan is from a Bedouin community in the Galil and grew up in one of Israel’s disadvantaged communities. She has spent a year on the UJIA Ma’ase Programme, volunteering designed to facilitate social mobility and integration into Israeli society. Arkan was mentored to reach her full potential, her Hebrew improved and is on track to graduate with a BA in English Literature.

Yotam, UJIA funded Teach First teacher, UJIA supported Darca Danciger High School
“Every one of our students is full of potential. UJIA is changing their lives and giving them a better future.” 

Yotam is a Teach First teacher in Darca Danciger High School, supported by UJIA, helping to invest in quality teachers who inspire and motivate young people. Yotam used to work at the stock exchange and for the government. He realised his calling in life was to help people, and to help people, you need to start with education. Thanks to UJIA, Yotam can begin to change the students’ lives and influence them on a daily basis.

Nicol, graduate, UJIA supported Darca Danciger High School
“More special than anything else in my town or school are the teachers. Thank you to UJIA for your investment in transforming my school.”

For Nicol, a graduate from UJIA supported Darca Danciger High School, born to Russian immigrants, life was hard. Kiryat Shmona is a complex place, sandwiched between Syria and Lebanon. UJIA is building better futures for 1,200 students, by rebuilding the school and transforming its neglected facilities from which Nicol has benefited.

Amy, resident, UJIA funded project Carmiel Children’s Village
“Carmiel Children’s Village gave us the things we couldn’t have growing up. It’s given me the support I needed, a family and a home.” 

Carmiel Children’s Village is home to over 200 children, unable to live with their families. UJIA has built one home and is currently supporting the construction of a further two at the village. Amy grew up at Carmiel Children’s Village, arriving from South Africa with her younger brother and older sister. The village is now her home and family and gives her the support she needs.

Jake, youth movement leader, funded by UJIA
“UJIA has supported my Israel journey, through the different stages of my life. Now I am giving back.”

Jake is a madrich (leader) with Habonim Dror. He grew up in Manchester, went on a gap year with Habonim Dror and has just lead Israel Tour for the movement. UJIA helps to train and fund madrichim (leaders) and financially supports youth movements. In a complex time for Israel engagement, UJIA has empowered Jake and enabled him to connect to Israel.

Gabe, educator, UJIA funded Dror Educators Urban Kibbutz
“Thanks to UJIA, during the summer we showed 350 British young people a side of Israel they would never see. We created real life bonds.” 

Gabe lives on the Dror Educators Urban Kibbutz, in Akko. He made aliyah when he was 21. The urban kibbutz works hard to bring together Jews and Arabs that live side by side in the mixed city of Akko. This summer, he worked as an educator with UK teens on Israel tour engaging British youth with the real Israel.

Jonathan, UJIA Israel Fast Track participant
“Thank you, UJIA, for supporting me in deepening my knowledge of Israel and helping me become an empowered Israel leader.”

Jonathan is from Manchester and is a UJIA Israel Fast Track graduate, giving him a sophisticated Israel education. UJIA Israel Fast Track helped Jonathan answer complicated questions. It enriched his understanding of Israel and gave him the skills and confidence to stand out from the crowd.

Your support helps us continue to light up the lives of even more young people in the UK to create a lifelong bond with Israel and to support vulnerable communities in Israel.

This Chanukah, your gift helps UJIA to keep the flame alive.