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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘nefesh b’nefesh’

World Orthodox Leaders Honors Rabbi Fass for Promoting Aliyah

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

The World Orthodox Leadership Forum honored Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh, at its annual dinner in Jerusalem on Monday for his contribution to aliyah to Israel.

Rabbi Fass is a co-founder of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, which has helped thousands of Jews from North American and Britain to move to Israel.

Additional honorees at the dinner included former National Religious Party minister Zevulun Orlev and Rabbi Chaim Sabato in recognition of his contribution to Jewish Literature.

Minister of Housing Uri Ariel and former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar also attended the event.

Single Minded

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Imagine the frustration. Sitting, talking to your date, trying to connect, but every time the topic of living in Israel comes up they get a blank look on their face. You hope to make Aliyah one day, and they like the idea of visiting Israel, once in a while. What a waste of time.

Determined to help singles avoid  these types of aggravating situations, Nefesh B’Nefesh teamed up with the Jewish dating site SawYouAtSinai and launched ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ (www.seeyouinisrael.com), a new website exclusively for Aliyah-minded singles.

“For many young people who are dating, the Israel question is a major issue that comes up,” reports Marc Rosenberg, Director of Pre-Aliyah Services at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “They don’t want to get too  involved with someone who they find good looking, smart and funny but has never been to Israel and would never want to move there. We wanted to pinpoint one extra factor that could bring more people together.” For this reason, NBN founder Rabbi Yehoshua Fass recently entrusted his staff with a mission: To find the right Jewish dating site to partner with on this new Aliyah initiative. With 14 other successful partnership sites to its name, SawYouAtSinai was the ideal candidate. The custom-engineered matching technology and professional experience they have, assisting Jews living in other niche communities such as Australia and the Far East, University of Pennsylvania’s Hillel Gradnetwork, Yeshiva University students and alumni, and many others, is now available to Aliyah-oriented singles around the globe.

“Most people tend to date others who live in their surrounding area,” notes Rosenberg. “But those open to relocation can really date people from anywhere. This site allows singles to meet people from all over the world who share their desire to move to Israeland it helps them find the one who meets their personal, social and religious outlook.”

Unlike typical online dating sites that leave singles fending for themselves, ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ is (brace yourself) manned by 45 real people who actually read your detailed profile, get to know you, and offer on-target suggestions.

“We appreciate the fact that people are busy and don’t have hours to search through profiles,” explains SawYouAtSinai COO Danielle Solomon. “That’s why we offer the human touch through dedicated matchmakers. Our matchmakers verify that the person meets your criteria first. You won’t expend energy sending messages to someone who is not even compatible. Our members are focused on finding a quality relationship and are matched with those that have common life goals, so they’re already starting out at a better point than someone you might meet randomly.”

“Options are limited,” reflects Ian, an Internet Entrepreneur who lives in New Jersey. “What are you going to do? Walk up to a girl somewhere and ask ‘Are you Jewish?’ Having a website to do preliminary screening is definitely helpful. It takes away some of the hard work of narrowing down the pool. Also, here there is actually a person to give feedback to and bounce ideas off of, after a first date. That’s a helpful avenue because things often fizzle for me after a first date and when a guy asks his friends for advice, he doesn’t always get the best advice.”

Ian’s own advice: “Be honest when you fill in the profile and don’t just write what sounds good because in the end what you really want in life will come out anyway. Representing yourself properly also helps the matchmakers find the best fit for you. This is a safe site,” he assures prospective members, “and you’re working with professionals.” Beyond their online activities, Nefesh B’Nefesh and ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ will also be hosting singles social events in the tri-state area this fall. Stay tuned for details.

Since ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ launched this summer, over 1,000 people have joined. Many members already live in Israel but the majority are still living in the Diaspora, trying to move ahead with their plans to marry, and eventually move to Israel.

“Young people are choosing Israel for quality of life and professional opportunities and they don’t want to put their personal life on hold for one or two or more years until they make Aliyah,” Rosenberg comments. “We want people to be happy and successful when they make Aliyah. Meeting the right  someone makes it easier for people to find their place in Israel.” As Ian candidly acknowledged: “My making Aliyah is strongly dependent on finding a woman who is also heading that way.”

Garin Tzabar: Helping Lone Soldiers Feel At Home In Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

These lone soldiers, hailing from countries including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Turkey and Azerbaijan arrived in Israel without their families to join the Israel Defense Force and help build the Jewish nation.  ’Garin’ means seed in Hebrew but can also refer to a group of people who collectively immigrated to Israel and ‘tzabar’ refers to the ‘sabra’ cactus fruit which is prickly on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside, a euphemism to describe Israelis.

The Garin Tzabar program is in charge of bringing these lone soldiers to a kibbutz or Israeli city, providing them with an adopted family, a Garin community that supports them throughout their army service and Hebrew classes to assist their immersion into the IDF.  Several months from now the new recruits will begin to serve in the Israeli Army.  The Garin Tzabar  ensures lone soldiers receive support and attention on their birthdays, during holidays, Shabbat, and their days off .

The State of Israel officially welcomed this year’s Garin Tzabar participants during a special ceremony held at Tel Aviv University. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  gave a video greeting praising these young Jewish men and women and  numerous other government officials attended the event.

MK Sofa Landver, who addressed the group, stated, “We are here to receive the immigrants and the soldiers in our country, the most wonderful country in the world. It’s you who have come to serve and defend Israel. You will change the world.” A representative of Nefesh B’Nefesh added, “It’s not just a plane ride, it’s the destination and that’s Israel. Enjoy your new life.”

Netta Gelb, a new Garin Tzabar participant, was born in the Israeli city of Netanya and has spent the past 15 years growing up in Canada. Although she has Israeli relatives,  she is leaving behind her parents and siblings.  Gelb expressed the excitement many Garin members felt when she said, “I have been really looking forward to this for a long time.”

Michael Kosky, another Garin Tzabar participant, added, “We have come here to play our chapter in Jewish history. I am part of this program. Good luck to every one here.”  A lone soldier already serving in the IDF named Ariella, who hails from an Argentine family and grew up in both America and Israel told the audience that she holds dear the “values of loyalty to the state, its people, and the Tzabar members” and said to the new recruits “If you live together, you will learn a lot.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

Visit United with Israel.

Israel to Welcome Young Immigrants Joining the IDF

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

This week, 125 young men and women from North America will board a Nefesh B’Nefesh group flight to Israel, where they will live their dream by joining the Israel Defense Forces.  According to Yael Katsman, director of marketing and communications at Nefesh B’Nefesh, almost all of these young Jewish men and women are “lone soldiers,” without familial support in Israel, who will join the already 2,800 others like them in the IDF.

Nefesh B’Nefesh  helps Lone Soldiers through “streamlining the drafting process, sending lone soldiers care packages, providing adoptive families for whenever a soldier is off-duty, giving financial assistance, or calling lone soldiers” to check up on them, said Katsman. She explained, “The most difficult thing [for lone soldiers] is the lack of network and family support. That is a big obstacle, as well as the language barrier.” For this reason Nefesh B’Nefesh  gives lone soldiers extra assistance, becoming their family away from home.

According to Nefesh B’Nefesh, “For these idealistic soldiers, the draft process is an intense experience that often involves challenges of adapting to military service and to an independent life-style in Israel. The Lone Soldier Program provides a comprehensive solution that offers guidance, support, and care for all olim (new immigrant) soldiers at all stages of the process: prior to Aliyah, the pre-draft, throughout military service and after release from the IDF, when adjusting to civilian life in Israel.”

Additionally, 34 of these 125 Lone Soldiers are  moving to kibbutzim in peripheral areas of the country in order to strengthen Israel’s security. One such lone soldier, 18-year-old Michaela Yaakobovitch,  is moving Kibbutz Beit Zera in Northern Israel.

According to Yaakobovitch, “I am looking forward to it. It’s really beautiful there. This is something that I decided I wanted to do. Most of my friends went to college, yet I wanted to make a difference by joining the army. I’m really excited to start something new. I went to Israel every summer, yet now I am going to be part of Israeli society. I will have a new family on my program and meet new people and have new adventures. I’m going to miss my family and friends, yet they will visit.” Katsman feels a “strong sense of pride to see these young men and women volunteering. It shows how strong the State of Israel is. There are young idealists who are coming over to Israel out of choice, trying to make the country a better place. It’s very inspirational.”

Despite the difficulties associated with life as a Lone Soldier, Katsman emphasizes that these 125 young men and women are “very excited, very Zionistic, and very pumped. The energy they bring to the flight is incredible. They are very confident. They decided this path on their own over the last few years.” For many of these olim, the thrill of boarding a Nefesh B’Nefesh group flight en route to their IDF service is a moving experience that will last a lifetime.

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

Visit United with Israel.

Gavi’s Aliyah is a Success – with Help from eTeacherHebrew

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Gavi Hanssen (45) made Aliya with his wife (42) and four children (12, 10, 8, and 4) from Denver Colorado in July 2012. When he met his wife, she told him that she wanted to make Aliya and he was open to the idea. Gavi said, “I don’t necessarily believe that all Jews should live in Israel, but we wanted to be part of Israel, part of the history of Jews coming back to their land after 2000 years in the Diaspora. You live only once, and I wanted to experience it in my life.”

When Gavi’s wife’s job ended 18 months ago, they decided to take the opportunity to start something new in Israel. After the decision was made, everything fell into place:Gavi, his wife and the two older children started studying Hebrew with eTeacher; a house was found in a small community in the Galilee– exactly what the family was looking for.

Nefesh B’Nefesh helped them in their preparation by providing accurate information to create a realistic view of what was awaiting them in the Promised Land. After arriving in Israel,Nefesh B’Nefesh “offered more help than we could even take advantage of,” Gavi said with a smile.

Employment

In the States, Gavi was a consultant with non-profit organizations and his wife worked as a teacher. In Israel, his wife easily found a job as an English teacher and Gavi started looking for a job only two months ago after helping the kids settle in. He goes for regular interviews and feels confident that he will find a job soon.

Children’s education

Gavi said that a major motivator for moving to Israel was the children’s education. It was important for him and his wife to give their children a good Jewish education, so they enrolled them in an expensive Jewish day school in Denver. In Israel, they feel, their children get a good Jewish education almost for free.

Housing

Gavi feels happy with choosing Eshchar as their new home in Israel. Though they had never visited the house or neighborhood before making Aliya, as they took their first steps into their new home, neighbors were welcoming them with food and help, and children from the neighborhood came to play with their children. Although they are not a religious family, the Hanssens feel very comfortable in a mixed place where religious families live next to secular ones, where mixed couples (religious and secular) are accepted and where nobody judges you for the way you live your life.

Hebrew

Gavi’s wife spent a year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem during her college years, so her Hebrew was already very good; and she only needed some high-level Hebrew lessons with eTeacher to sharpen up her language before arrival. Gavi also studied Hebrew before and took online classes before and after making Aliya. He felt that his online teacher, Nili Gross, helped him not only with the language, but also with Israeli culture and perspective. Although Olim Chadashim are entitled to a free Ulpan (intensive Hebrew courses), Gavi decided instead to continue his studies online with his outstanding teacher, Nili. The most important thing, beyond the lessons, is speaking Hebrew everywhere: at the bank, the store, at his children’s school, in the street – not feeling embarrassed about mistakes, simply speaking Hebrew.

Children’s adjustment

Gavi has found that the adjustment is easier for his kids the younger they are. His four-year-old daughter already speaks Hebrew that she acquired in her preschool. His older boys have friends and participate in lots of after-school activities. They seem to be happy and well adjusted. Sometimes they do dream about their familiar environment back in Denver and sometimes they miss skiing, but overall, they don’t have many problems.

Gavi says that he sometimes experiences unique communication problems with his children when he tries to help them with homework. The children learn new terms in school in Hebrew and when he tries to help them, he finds that he lacks the words in Hebrew, while the kids lack the words in English.

Revelation

When asked about his greatest revelation about living in Israel, Gavi thought for a moment and said, “It’s a normal life in here. People think that living in the Holy land, surrounded by Jewish people is very special, but people here go around their business and have the same concerns that people all over the world have – mortgage, job, etc. I don’t worry about bombs here, but about rent, education, about normal things.”

Overall experience

Although it was probably easier to stay in their familiar environment in the USA, Gavi and his wife feel that their Aliya gave the family “opportunity for huge emotional and spiritual growth.”

Gavi sees Aliya from English-speaking counties as unique because their choice to live in Israel did not come from a need the way it does for others who may not be able to live freely as Jews in their countries of origin.

“I look from the back of my house at the Mediterranean Sea and I feel that I am part of history, I am part of Israel, and I am happy to be here. We are committed and we’re gonna make it!”

So come visit Israel and learn Hebrew online with eTeacherHebrew! Join Now!

Live: Watch Your Friends and Family Arrive in Israel

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

On Monday, July 22, 2013 at 7 AM Israel Time (12 PM NY Time), you can watch the latest Nefesh B’Nefesh landing ceremony on JewishPress.com.

Welcome home!

Southern Israel New Frontier for Jewish Immigrants

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Ravit Greenberg, the program director of the Go South Program, recently told U.W.I. that Southern Israel is the new frontier for Jewish immigrants making Aliyah to Israel.

Photo credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh

Photo credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh

Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that assists Jews immigrating to Israel from North America, is promoting Aliyah to Southern Israel via the Go South program. Go South Program director Ravit Greenberg recently told United With Israel, “The mission of the Go South Program is to raise awareness among potential olim (new immigrants) before they make Aliyah. We are also doing the same for people that already made Aliyah yet are living in the center or Jerusalem and assist olim living in Southern Israel to integrate into Israeli society.” The Nefesh B’Nefesh Go South program hosts employment search workshops, social events for both singles and families, and holiday activities for English speaking immigrants in Southern Israel.

Greenberg said housing is significantly less expensive in Southern Israel than it is in the central part of the country and Jerusalem. She said the average cost of living for a family of five in Modiin a city in central Israel, is $5,000, while in Southern Israel’s Be’ersheva, it is only $3,890.

In terms of employment, she said, “It is a region full of opportunities; there is a lot of development. There is the opportunity to make an impact; to start a community; and to dedicate yourself to the community. The South is Israel’s new frontier.” She mentioned the new technology park at Ben Gurion Universty, as well as the Israel Defense Forces, as possible employers for residents in Southern Israel. Greenberg also said that due to the existence of the fast train to Tel Aviv and the Route 6 Highway to Jerusalem, commuting into work in those areas is not as difficult as it used to be.

Greenberg said that although many Israelis are not interested in having a one hour commute to work and don’t want to live far away from their families, Jews from western countries don’t share this worldview: “It is more of a cultural norm in the US that you need to travel to work, to see your family. Yet it should not be an option only for pioneers; you are living in an affordable place for your convenience.”

Greenberg reported that the Go South program has been very successful, “We started in 2012 and I came on board in 2013. Through marketing campaigns, we gathered the interest of 800 families in moving to the south over the last few months and we are engaging with these families. I have had 250 people ask for more information through our website.” She emphasized, “People are shocked by the difference in the cost of living, when you show them a comparative budget. I think that olim who don’t know the geography didn’t know it was so close to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. People are shocked how much Be’ersheva has grown. There are a lot of surprises and unraveling of myths. People have concepts of what it is and we are shattering misconceptions.”

Photo credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh

Photo credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh

Visit United with Israel.

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