More than 1500 people interested in moving to Israel and gaining Israeli citizenship gathered at John Jay College in Manhattan on Sunday for the 9th annual Nefesh B’Nefesh Israel Mega Event to learn everything they wanted and needed to know about moving to Israel.
Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver attended the event, seeing firsthand the Aliyah endeavor.
The event drew the largest crowd in its history, presumably indicating a record-high interest in Jewish immigration from the United States to Israel. The Mega Event was organized in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF), and JNF-USA.
In addition to NYC, Aliyah fairs will be held this year in Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles.
The Aliyah fair, with the theme, “Imagine Greater Possibilities,” provided a full-service Aliyah planning experience for prospective Olim, giving them the resources and confidence to take their next steps. Participants were invited to choose from more than 50 sessions, workshops and one-on-one meetings with various Israeli organizations and Aliyah professionals, on topics ranging from home buying and education to professional licensing and health insurance. Additionally, eight Israeli municipalities were represented at the fair, to provide a snapshot of life across the country.
“Every year, our Aliyah Mega Event becomes more of an integral tool for building Aliyah confidence,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “To see how the Mega Events have evolved in the past nine years and to watch the level of interest in Aliyah grow is truly remarkable. It’s also incredible to see that Israeli institutions and municipalities realize the impact Olim have on the State of Israel, and are eager to be a part of such a landmark event,” Fass added.
From meetings with accountants to financial planners, shippers and a host of Israeli vendors, participants were briefed on a broad range of matters associated with moving to Israel. This year, in response to a rising number of medical professionals interested in moving to Israel, representatives from seven hospitals and four national healthcare providers were on site to assist medical doctors from the US to join their staff. Representatives of Israel’s Health Ministry were also on hand to offer on-the-spot licensing and professional consultations.
“I’m hoping to enroll in a Master’s degree program when I move to Israel so it was really beneficial for me to see all the different Israeli universities and speak to them to see what they have to offer and what their programs entail,” said Yaniv Levi, a 26-year-old who drove nine hours overnight from Ohio to attend the event. “But not only has today been great because of all the in-depth information about moving to Israel, it’s also been awesome to meet like-minded people who will be moving to Israel with me.”