Despite the tense security situation in Israel, 228 new Olim from the United States and Canada arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday, July 22, on a Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah charter flight to Israel. Of these Olim, a remarkable 100 are children who made Aliyah with their parents.
The children include 39 girls and 61 boys. Altogether, 29 families and 54 singles will be on this landmark flight, which took place in collaboration with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA.
Due to the complicated security situation in Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh is reaching out to the Olim, briefing them, and providing counseling and support. As they arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, each Oleh received a special booklet by the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption on security measures, such as what to do when a Code Red siren sounds warning of incoming rockets. The Olim were also provided with an English-language manual from the Home Front Command on how to talk to your children about the situation, translated by Nefesh B’Nefesh.
“Cancelling or postponing our trip was never an option. Even though we’re flying into a war zone, we’re just as excited as we always were,” said Sarah Bergman, 31 of Waterbury, Connecticut, who will be making Aliyah to Even Shmuel with her husband, Fred, 34 and children Eliyahu, 10, Zev, 8, Azriel, 6 and Elisheva, 2. “We are preparing our children by watching videos and talking about the situation. Our family is concerned, but this is where we’re going,” she added.
Dozens of these Olim are planning to live in Israel’s south and north, as part of a joint project to settle Olim in the Negev and the Galilee. Those who are planning to live in the south also received special briefings about the security situation, such as information about trauma counseling and support from English-speaking Olim living in the south.