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Keep Moving – A Bike for Every Newcomer

editor - 12 November 2019

Instead of one more olim-family, this time I would like to introduce you to a very special person, who is inside of the process of aliyah support for already more than thirty years! His name is Eitan Ram and he lives in the kibbutz Ein Hashofet in the Megiddo region. He is 82 years old and he is a living history of Israel!

“My parents came here from Poland in 1933. They were together in a Jewish youth movement. I was born in 1937 in Petakh Tikva. Times were very hard for a young family with a newborn baby. So, when I was two years old my mother took me back to Poland, and my father, Zionist and Jewish pioneer, decided to stay here and build up the Land. I still remember our house in Poland in Lodz, where my large family together with my grandparents, aunts and uncles lived. My first childhood memories come from this time in Poland. And then World War II broke out. Members of our family were persecuted in a very cruel way and my mother decided to go back to Israel. We were permissioned to do so, but under one condition – we had to pay 300 pounds. That was a lot of money. So, all the members of our family gave their golden jewelry to collect this amount of money. It was just a beginning. In the meanwhile, Jews were kicked out of schools and barred from all the public places and were forced to wear the yellow star of David. On the inner side of my jacket my mother wrote our address in Poland and then one more line: if this address doesn’t exist anymore, send this boy to Palestine.

Eitan showing his picture as a two-year old | Photo credit: JAFI

In January 1940 we took a train to Romania because the Nazis didn’t allow us to go further than this. From one train to another somehow, we arrived in Italy, to Trieste and there we found an office of the Jewish Agency. Of course, it was closed. But on the stairs sat hundreds of Jews, waiting to escape. My mother told me that we stayed on those stairs for about three weeks! One night, suddenly someone opened the door of the office and said: “Now we will take you to the harbour, where there is a ship to Haifa!”. After six days of sailing we arrived in Haifa, where my father met us. I was very sick and hungry with different skin disorders. My grandparents and other family members were sent to Auschwitz and never came back.

A group of young olim led by Eitan Ram who are about to visit the concentration camp in Poland | Photo credit: JAFI

That is why attributing to the Jewish Agency’s work and aliyah is like the closing of a circle for me. Every six months Eitan receives around ten new families in Ein Hashofet in the frame of the First Home in the Homeland program. Every one of those newcomers is his personal guest and a new member of his large family. For every Oleh Hadash (i.e. New Immigrant), Eitan Ram assembles a bicycle and puts it near the apartment. A special greeting and a precious memory for all who went through the First Home program in Ein Hashofet.

For every Oleh, Eitan Ram assembles a bicycle and puts it near the apartment.

Eitan’s starts at 5 a.m. with an eight-kilometre run and a bicycling tour. At 8 a.m. he meets with olim, at 10 a.m. he leads a sport course for retired kibbutz-members. (almost all of them are younger than him).

Eitan went through the Shoah, through three wars in Israel (as a soldier and an officer), was one of the pioneers in two different kibbutzim, has four children, seventeen grandchildren, three grand-grandchildren and – hundreds of olim who remember him as their real family in Israel.

Now Eitan is very busy. At the end of November, a new group of olim is coming. He must prepare apartments, make a program of lectures and journeys and, of course, assemble new bicycles for them!

Being young means keep moving. We keep moving forward here, but only because Jews continue moving to Israel and because you keep us in your prayers!

Will you come and visit them one day?

Without your support, spiritual and material, we wouldn’t be able to continue our project of the First Home in the Homeland. Thank you for giving to over 120 Jewish families a possibility to make aliyah! Some of them will land in Ein Hashofet, in the region of Megiddo. Will you come and visit them one day?

Orly Volstein
First Home in the Homeland

Please support the “First Home in the Homeland” Project. Any amount is welcome! Assisting a family in the “First Home” program costs € 230 euro / US $ 250 a month.

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