On Tuesday this week, 49 North Americans immigrated to Israel from the U.S. and Canada on a group aliyah flight sponsored by Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL), and JNF-USA.
The flight landed at Ben-Gurion Airport with a diverse group of new olim arriving through Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization responsible for facilitating aliyah (immigration) of over 50,000 North American and British Jews to Israel in over a decade.
The new olim come from 13 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, working in a range of professions, and will reside in communities throughout Israel. From engineers and physicians to future soldiers, aspiring actors, and Bar Ilan’s first official student in 1955, the flight sees a diverse group set to begin their new lives in Israel.
The flight landed a few days ahead of Yom HaAliyah–Friday, October 27–a national holiday in Israel that acknowledges aliyah (immigration; lit. “ascent”) as a core value of the country and celebrates the contributions of olim to Israeli society. Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) began as a community movement in 2012, and in 2016 the Knesset, in a rare moment of cooperation across political parties in the Israeli parliament, turned the initiative into law by officially adding it to the national calendar.
“Yom HaAliyah recognizes the incredible contributions that olim have made towards shaping Israeli culture and society,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “It is particularly inspiring to welcome today’s group flight as the country recognizes the influence all olim have on our country.”
Founded in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh (www.nbn.org.il), in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and JNF-USA, is dedicated to revitalizing aliyah from North America and the UK by removing or minimizing the financial, professional, logistical, and social obstacles of aliyah. The support and comprehensive social services provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh to its over 50,000 newcomers has ensured that 90% of its olim have remained in Israel.Â