More than 1,500 Jews attended the Manhattan ‘Mega Aliyah’ fair hosted by Nefesh B’ Nefesh on Sunday, 350 of whom were from medical and high-tech backgrounds.
While the event—which was attended by a record number of Jews—was protected by heavy security, the so-called ‘Trump effect’ or surge in anti-Semitic incidents which have swept across the US since his election, appear to have had no bearing on the increased enthusiasm for moving to Israel.
Organizers of the event say that over the last few years, the number of people choosing to make the move from North America has gradually increased.
“This is a long-standing dream,” Leah and Avi Feinberg from Los Angeles told Ynet. The two have five children, two of whom already live in Israel, which is one of the primary reasons for their desire to make Aliyah.
“When my oldest four-year-old granddaughter wants to know what time her grandfather will arrive to pick her up from kindergarten, it has an impact. I want to be a part of her life.”
The event, which attracted record numbers, took place at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and took up 7 floors, spreading across 35 rooms in which representatives from 11 hospitals and HMOs, 13 cities and local councils, including the mayors of Modi’in, Omer, Ofakim) universities and real estate companies, offered assistance to the browsing participants in their potential journey.
Present in the rooms were also financial advisors, employment and tax advisers.
Dr. Charles Manovla (27) from Brooklyn dreams of drafting into the IDF to put his expertise to use as a military doctor. His parents, he said, don’t know about his participation in the event. “My mom may not be too enthusiastic about the fact that I am about to go far away but she won’t be surprised.”
“It is heartwarming,” Professor Jonathan Halevi told Ynet, a manager at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Already by the first part of the event, Halevi had interviewed 13 doctors who expressed their desire to join the medical center and many more before its conclusion.
“To see the people interested in making Aliyah, it is unbelievable,” he said. “There is a massive turnout here of doctors who want to move to Israel for ideological reasons and the thing that touches my heart the most are those who want to make Aliyah because they have children in Israel.”
Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver was also present at the event and addressed the participants. “Aliyah is exciting but full of concerns,” she told the prospective immigrants. “That is why we are here, to direct, to advise and to explain so that the Aliyah process can start here and be quick, easy, efficient and comfortable for you.”