Selah provides comprehensive support to immigrants throughout Israel whose lives have been torn apart by tragedy and who lack the resources to cope. In times of crisis, each individual has different needs. With compassion and discretion, Selah strives to identify the most urgent emotional and practical needs, and determine how to respond to meet them.
Selah’s Roots: Selah grew out of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry, an advocacy group founded in 1972 to fight for the right of Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union. “At first, we didn’t intend to address the problems of immigrants struck by tragedy,” says Selah Founder and Director, Ruth Bar-On, formerly the executive director of the Council. “Israelis are actually very good to one another in times of crisis, so as a Sabra [a native born Israeli] it took me a while to realize that newcomers find themselves in a devastating vacuum in times of adversity.”
During the first years of the mass aliyah [immigration to Israel] from the Former Soviet Union in the 90’s, it was assumed that one agency or another was dealing with all the problems of the newcomers. Bar-On understood this urgent tidal wave of need. “No one was addressing the needs of immigrants struck by tragedy, so in 1993, Selah was established to fill that gap.” Since then, Selah has come to the aid of dozens of thousands of families.
Selah is the only organization doing this kind of intensely specialized work with immigrants in crisis.