The Solution to Jewish Status of Ukrainian Olim?

New 'Maslul' program launches to have olim start conversion process and clarify Jewish status well before reaching the Holy Land.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Maslul program for Ukrainian olim
Maslul program for Ukrainian olim
Roman Vilensky

A new project to help those in Ukraine eligible to make aliyah clarify their Jewish status in a conversion process even before immigrating to Israel was launched over the weekend in Kiev.

As aliyah from Ukraine rises dramatically, with no fewer than 7,100 olim expected in 2015, the new "Maslul" project aims to have olim start studying for conversion even as they prepare for aliyah.

The program is to help in the integration of the Ukrainian olim, many of whom have Jewish ancestry or spouses but are not Jewish according to halakha (Jewish law).

Triguboff Institute, together with the Jewish Agency, the Midrash Zionit (Zionist Seminary) in Kiev and the city's Jewish community initiated the project jointly.

The aliyah of those who are not considered Jewish according to halakha is a product of Article 4(a) of the law of return, which states that the spouse or grandchild of a Jew are also eligible for aliyah.

A study conducted by the Triguboff Institute found that no fewer than 30% of all olim have made aliyah to the Jewish state thanks to the article, and in the current wave of aliyah from Ukraine amid local conflicts with Russia, the percentage is as high as 85% for those under the age of 40.

In order to be Jewish according to halakha, and therefore be able to marry and be buried in Israel, the olim are required to undergo a thorough conversion process, but many lack any background knowledge. Many only confront this issue of their Jewish identity years after making aliyah.

"Maslul" intends to remedy the situation by using the roughly five to 18 months that generally precede aliyah to have the olim start accumulating the 500 hours of studying Judaism needed for the conversion.

“Our goal is to solve the problem of integration of immigrants from (Kiev) before their Aliyah, in order to avoid the problem before its formation," said Shalom Norman, director of the Triguboff Institute and the initiator of “Maslul."

Jewish Agency delegates are to identify candidates for the program, while Midrasha Zionist will lead the classes.

A launching event took place at Kiev's Galitzky Synagogue, which was attended by Triguboff Institute founder Harry O. Triguboff of Australia.

"Maslul" will begin in Kiev under the guidance of Rabbi Gershon Bloritzky, a representative of the institute in the city. Later, it is to expand to Dnepropetrovsk, where it will be managed by Dr. Yaakov Geysinwitz of the institute.

Harry Triguboff, Shalom Norman Roman Vilensky