Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Adar 5767 - March 15, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











US Consul Tours Chareidi Community in Jerusalem

By Betzalel Kahn

"Employees of the US Consulate in Jerusalem are very impressed by their visits to chareidi neighborhoods, yeshivas, talmudei Torah and synagogues, which show chareidi public life in Israel is based on mutual assistance and helping others, and this is the strength that maintains you and builds the chareidi public," said Stuart Patt, the US consul general in Jerusalem.

Patt was speaking to chareidi reporters during a press conference held at the Tikva Yisrael Center in Jerusalem, which is headed by HaRav Shlomo Baksht, rov of Odessa, Ukraine, and Director Rabbi Rafael Kruskal, at the initiative of Rabbi Mattisyohu Cheshin, director of the Bureau of Traveler Services, which has been keeping close ties with foreign embassies and consulates for years and takes foreign diplomats on tours of chareidi population centers.

At the press conference Patt said that as Pesach and the summer months draw near the consulate in Jerusalem reminds anyone applying for US visas or passports to come as early as possible and to arrive with all of the required documents. He said the waiting time for a tourist visa is about two weeks, and those planning to visit the US must make arrangements in advance to allow enough time to submit the visa application. "Urgent requests will be accepted only in the event of medical emergencies," he said. "Private trips will not be eligible for preferential treatment."

Pratt says US citizens can apply for a new passport or birth reports for their children on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00 am to 11:30 am. US passports are issued in 3- 4 weeks, but the processing time can be longer, especially during the summer. US citizens planning to travel to the US should apply a month before their departure.

Patt also said those who plan to travel to the US for Pesach can submit visa requests in the coming days, come to the consulate for an interview within the next week and receive the visa soon afterwards. He noted that sometimes people come to the consulate with insufficient documents and that the applicant must bring proof he does not intend to settle in the US. The consul also said many improvements have been made to the consulate building, and that the consulate is slated to move to East Talpiot in the near future, where it will be housed in a building constructed with assistance provided by Jerusalem Mayor Rabbi Uri Lupoliansky.

Commenting on the benefit of the tour Rabbi Cheshin led him on together with dozens of consulate employees, Patt said, "We are very impressed by these visits in chareidi population centers, yeshivas, talmudei Torah, synagogues and family affairs. On one hand we see the chareidi public studying Torah all day, making one wonder how they get by. But when one sees the centers of Torah and Chassidut being built it becomes apparent chareidi public life in Israel is based on mutual assistance and helping others, and this is the strength that maintains you and builds the chareidi public."

He also said that even when a visa applicant lacks financial proof, these tours indicate the chareidi traveler is nonetheless firmly rooted in Israel. "In the chareidi sector it's hard to demonstrate financial ability because of the lack of pay slips among avreichim, but we've learned that people help one another, and even if someone does not have an official source of income he has an apartment and children and we grant him a visa with peace of mind." The consul also praised Rabbi Cheshin for his work as head of the Bureau for Traveler Services.


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