The Nefesh B'Nefesh aliyah organization threw a birthday party late last week for 250 “sabra” babies born to North American olim in the past year and who will be celebrating their first Yom HaAtzmaut – Independence Day – in Israel Monday night and Tuesday.
The Hebrew word ”sabra” is a fruit that has a tough and thorny skin but is soft inside, symbolizing the character of native Israelis.
Nearly 27,000 North Americans have “made aliyah” [immigration to Israel] through Nefesh B’Nefesh since the group was founded in 2002. The olim [immigrants] have given birth to 2,100 new Israelis.
“There is no greater satisfaction for us than seeing new Israeli babies born to olim who have immigrated to Israel,” said Erez Halfon, deputy director of Nefesh B’Nefesh.
The aliyah group expects 4,800 new immigrants to Israel this year from the United States, Canada and Britain. “We are sure that we will celebrate with even a larger number of new babies next year,” Halfon added.
One of the new babies is 4 1/2-month-old Nitzan Sakbreski, son of Tamara and Aharon Sakbreski, who immigrated from the United States several years ago. “Celebrating Independence Day for the first time with a sabra baby fulfills a dream,” said Tamara. ”This is our modest gift to the State of Israel in honor of its 63rd birthday."