From month-old infants to someone arriving just in time to celebrate his 89th birthday with his Israeli-born great grandchildren, families, couples and singles from all over North America gathered at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on July 21st. 228 children and their families said farewells to America and loved ones before boarding their Aliyah flight in fulfillment of the timeless dream of returning to live in The Jewish homeland.
Of these Olim, a remarkable 100 are children who are making Aliyah with their parents. The children include 39 girls and 61 boys. Altogether, 29 families and 54 singles will be on this landmark flight, which is taking place in collaboration with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA. Due to the complicated security situation in Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh is reaching out to the Olim, briefing them, and providing counseling and support.
Hailing from dozens of Jewish (and sometimes not-as-Jewish) communities in North America and heading for as many different destinations in Israel, these families and individuals are making Aliyah en masse; each in an individualized, well-planned comprehensive way with the assistance of Nefesh
B'Nefesh the "sent-from-heaven" organization than not only assists, encourages and facilitates Aliyah, but manages the process with a level of creativity and professionalism that begins with scrupulous planning and continues through robust long-term follow-up in the land of Israel in ways people had never before even anticipated.
Now- they make themselves available with unprecedented organizational skills and with routine follow-up by regional staff to help people, even in some more far-flung parts of Israel, to navigate the variety of obstacles that newcomers face.
Dozens of families ... A hundred children, and as Nathan Sharansky told the Jewish Voice: "not a single cancellation ... Not even a postponement."
The flight touched down in Jerusalem on July 22nd, despite the tense security situation in Israel, 228 new Olim from the United States and Canada arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport today as new citizens, on a Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah charter flight, in collaboration with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA.
The children included 39 girls and 61 boys. Altogether, 29 families and 54 singles joined the landmark flight, which included Olim planning to live in Israel’s south and north, as part of a joint project to settle Olim in the Negev and the Galilee. Those who are planning to live in the south also received special briefings about the security situation, such as information about trauma counseling and support from English-speaking Olim living in the area.
A number of Israeli dignitaries greeted the new Olim as they touched down in Israel as new citizens, among them Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver; MK Rabbi Dov Lipman; Chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky; Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Yisrael Meir Lau and Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass who escorted the flight.
“Today's Aliyah flight demonstrates the great resilience of the Jewish people and its determination to build the State of Israel,” said Nefesh B’Nefesh Co-Founder and Executive Director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. “These Olim, who are choosing to move to Israel in these difficult times are instilling hope, optimism and strength throughout Israel and the Jewish nation. The outpouring number of requests we received to join the flight out of solidarity for the citizens of Israel is inspiring.”