Aliyah Assistance Expands to UK and France

Aliyah-assistance organizations are opening up in France and the UK - modeled after the North American Nefesh B'Nefesh.

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Ezra HaLevi, | updated: 09:59

The Nefesh b'Nefesh organization, which until now has assisted Jews from North America in making Aliyah, has expanded its services to the United Kingdom. A French version has also been launched.

Nefesh b'Nefesh (NbN) says that the expansion of its services to the UK is the result of "an overwhelming number of requests by British Jews for NbN assistance in moving to Israel."

NbN's headquarters remains in Jerusalem, but working together with the Jewish Agency, the organization will provide on-site informational support throughout the UK.

The first planeload of British olim (immigrants to Israel) will arrive this summer.

As in the United States and Canada, NbN will provide specially trained Aliyah professionals to the Jewish communities of the UK to provide informational seminars to address employment, housing, governmental and numerous other Aliyah oriented issues.

"England is the most natural expansion for Nefesh b'Nefesh's services, especially as a result of the high interest that has been expressed from the wonderful Jewish community there," said NbN Co-Founder and Executive Director, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. "The Israeli government, [UK] Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and additional key British figures have given us their blessings and together we hope to achieve great success there as well."

NbN assists new immigrants by providing services to minimize financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles facing the new arrivals. It offers informational seminars, pre- and post-Aliyah social events, employment placement services, assistance centers and Aliyah advocacy. In addition, the organization prides itself on working with the government to successfully remove much of the 'red tape' bureaucracy facing immigrants before and after their Aliyah.

According to Nefesh B'Nefesh, 99% of the 7,000 olim it has assisted have remained in Israel and over 94% of those seeking employment are gainfully employed. Over 250 "Sabras" (native born Israelis) have been born to, and 63 weddings have been celebrated by, NbN olim, including three couples who actually met each other on NBN chartered flights.

In addition to expanding into Europe, the NbN phenomenon has inspired the formation of similar initiatives, including an effort named AMI, in France.

AMI, which stands for Alya et Meilleure Integration, was launched in March 2005, and has already aided 1,000 French Jews in moving to the Jewish state. AMI offers job networking and apartment financing in Israel as well as scholarships for students. 3,005 French Jews moved to Israel in 2005 – 25% more than in 2004.






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