Photo Credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh
This little oleh arrived on a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight, June 23, 2022.

Nefesh B’Nefesh is gearing up for a major wave of Aliyah, with more than 2,000 individuals from 20 US states and Canadian provinces expected to arrive in Israel during the summer months alone.

The exciting endeavor is being run in partnership with the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and JNF-USA.

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The expected upcoming wave of Aliyah follows a busy season of Nefesh B’Nefesh events and initiatives which have drawn thousands of participants who are both planning and contemplating Aliyah. Last month, the organization hosted a celebratory “Homecoming BBQ” for Olim from the Tri-State area who are making Aliyah during the summer, which was attended by hundreds of individuals and dignitaries, including Minister Tamano-Shata, Mayor of Beit Shemesh Aliza Bloch, the soon-to-be Olim and their extended families. The month of May also saw a successful virtual “Mega” event and job fair, which drew over 1,600 registrants and encompassed a variety of Aliyah topics for prospective Olim from more than 45 states and provinces across North America, as well as from two-dozen countries around the world. Nefesh B’Nefesh also held a two-day “MedEx” event in New Jersey, in cooperation with Israel’s Health Ministry, providing an array of resources and personal meetings, as well as expedited licensing and support for more than 300 medical professionals and 125 physicians who are planning their moves to Israel.

The Nefesh B’Nefesh flagship charter Aliyah flight is resuming after a long hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, and plans are underway to welcome and assist thousands of new Olim who will arrive on 10 group Aliyah flights, as well as individual arrivals. The first group Aliyah flight of the summer landed last week, bringing 40 new Olim to Israel. The Olim arrived from seven US states, with ages ranging from one to eighty-eight.

Minister of Aliyah and Absorption Pnina Tamano-Shata said: “Nefesh B’Nefesh is an important and central partner of the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption in encouraging Aliyah from North America. As a result of this successful partnership, more than 2,000 new Olim will arrive in Israel this summer, hundreds of whom I’ve met on my last trip to New York. In the past two decades, we have welcomed more than 70,000 Olim (from North America — JP), and this number continues to grow. The Olim have proven invaluable to the country and have contributed to every facet of Israeli society. We will continue to welcome them with open arms and do everything we can to make them feel at home.”

The summer of 2022 also marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of Nefesh B’Nefesh by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart. Since 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh has transformed the North American Aliyah process, assisting nearly 75,000 new Olim to Israel.

“We are extremely excited to resume our charter Aliyah flight once again and are looking forward to welcoming thousands more Olim to Israel this coming summer as we celebrate our 20th anniversary of operation,” said Rabbi Fass, adding, “We are humbled by the strength and resilience of all the Olim who continue to make Aliyah on an ongoing basis and remain committed to assisting them at every stage of the process as they settle into their new homes in Israel.”

Josh Rosenblum, a new Oleh who arrived from Newport Beach, CA on the first group Aliyah flight of the summer, said: “My sister made Aliyah a few years back as a professional basketball player and played for the Israeli women’s national team. I’m a collegiate volleyball player and decided to follow in her footsteps by starting a new chapter in my life, practicing with the Israeli volleyball national team. I wish to contribute my abilities as an athlete and ultimately dream of representing Israel on the national team.”

“Aliyah to Israel is the cornerstone in realizing the Zionist dream and in our continued return to the land of our forefathers,” said Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel. “Despite the many challenges faced by newcomers, the State of Israel is the national home for each and every Jew. I congratulate Nefesh B’Nefesh for working tirelessly for the immigration and integration of new Olim and call on the entire Israeli nation to unite around these new Olim and assist them in their acclimation and absorption into Israeli society.”

Nefesh B’Nefesh Olim continue to contribute significantly to the social, economic, and demographic welfare of Israeli society by boosting economic growth, growing Israel’s cities and its periphery, and infusing the country with idealistic enthusiasm and optimism. As a result, the organization has established various programs to foster the lives and activities of all Olim. These include the FIDF-Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program, and Ori, for Lone Bnot Sherut, both of which offer assistance and guidance to the young men and women who choose to volunteer in the IDF or national service.

And projects like the Initiative for Zionist Innovation (IZI) and the Zionist Educational Initiative (ZEI) have been implemented to support the Olim community in Israel as well as to strengthen the connection between Olim and Diaspora Jewry.

Finally, as a joint initiative with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, Go Beyond was created to grow Israel’s periphery by encouraging Olim to settle down in the country’s northern and southern communities.

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