Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) is launching a new series of aliyah (immigration to Israel) fairs in New York, Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale, Montreal and Toronto to help Jews learn about the process of coming home to Israel and navigating the major transition.
At the fair, advisers and Israeli government representatives will help give advice in planning the steps of aliyah, giving many the information they need to turn their dreams of moving to the Holy Land into a reality.
"It was great being around like-minded people and having all the resources in one space,” said Yehuda Block, an oleh (immigrant) from Teaneck who moved to Modi’in in 2012. "It made me think about aliyah in a realistic way and it grounded my expectations."
Block said advice on careers and communities was particularly important, noting "it solidified that Modi’in was the best community for us. And that I needed to switch careers." He recommended one-on-one meetings with NBN to follow up, but termed the fair as "the first stop for anyone considering aliyah."
Aviva Douglen-Goldberg was also inspired by the NBN fairs, saying "my confidence was bolstered and I felt so proud just being at the mega event. Being there with so many people who have put Israel first - I felt empowered.”
"For many, the Aliyah Fair is a way to float some of the big questions they have been thinking about, to begin to confront the myths and obstacles that might be holding them back from making this exciting move," explained Marc Rosenberg, Director of the Pre-Aliyah Department at NBN.
He noted that "this event is an opportunity to take a pause from your routine, engage with your bigger life goals, and make the dream of living in Israel that much closer.”
The event contains large amounts of practical advice, according to Yael Warman who attended an event in Miami before taking the plunge and moving to Israel.
"It really allowed us to get an idea of what we needed to research and focus on during our pilot trip. At the event we got information about shippers, accountants, and other vendors that were really important for our move," she noted.
The information on the housing market was particularly help, said Warman, adding "we also attended a workshop on real estate in Israel, which we soon discovered had a whole different set of rules than in the US, so having met a real estate attorney proved to be incredibly useful."
Speaking about the overall experience of the fair, Warman said "the event helped us realize that aliyah was truly happening. Seeing so many people from different ages, professions, family status and levels of religiousness was truly inspiring.”
Being able to meet so many vendors and service providers in one place made the move that much easier, said Andrea Aronofsky-Pernikoff.
"It helped my husband narrow down which movers he wanted to contact and what questions he should ask,” she explained, adding that she “learned about college in Israel and how to choose a community to live in."
To register for an Aliyah fair near you, visit nbn.org.il/mega