This winter flight was the final 2007 aliyah fight chartered by Nefesh B’nefesh, an organization dedicated to revitalizing aliyah to Israel from North America and the UK, and it certainly sported a unique—and diverse—group of new Israelis.
New Israelis. Photo: Sasson Tiram
Among the new olim were 82 singles (hear that Jewish mothers?), a former Ballerina from the Zurich Ballet, 30 future IDF soldiers, and one very special 96-year-old olah, Berta Lovinger, who joined her daughter and son-in-law, Holocaust survivors who made Aliyah with Nefesh B'Nefesh this past summer– reuniting three generations of olim.
The new arrivals to Israel received a passionate, enthusiastic and quintessentially Israeli welcome at Ben Gurion Airport. They were greeted by family, friends and a myriad of dignitaries including Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, MK Izhak Ziv; Head of the Israeli Human Resources Directorate Major General Elazar Stern; Director General of the Ministry of Absorption Erez Halfon; Former Israeli Ambassador to the USA and Co-Chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh Danny Ayalon; and Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.
More nice Jewish boys (and girls). (Photo: Sasson Tiram)
This winter flight capped-off 2007 for Nefesh B’Nefesh, bringing the total amount of people who made aliyah through the organization this year to over 3,000. The organization has brought over 13,000 new immigrants to Israel since being established in 2002.
Although aliyah numbers are in general bleak, the organization nevertheless managed to increase overall aliyah numbers in the areas where it operates this year.
This, predominately because the organization provides a tremendous amount of support and social services to new olim, from the planning stages onward. As a result 99% of its immigrants end up not only making aliyah but also remaining in Israel.
“Despite the discouraging total aliyah figures, Nefesh B'Nefesh is celebrating our sixth year of consistent growth in the amount of olim we bring to Israel," said Nefesh B'Nefesh Co-Chairman and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon.
"In truth, we could have brought many more people to Israel if we had more funds available to assist the growing number of westerners making aliyah.”