In 2021, 1322 Olim from North America arrived in Jerusalem
In 2021, 1322 Olim from North America arrived in JerusalemNetanel Cohen

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion; co-founder and CEO of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass; and Director of Immigration and Absorption at the Municipal Administration, Pini Glinkewitz, arrived at the home of new immigrants who settled in Jerusalem and gave the family a mishloach manot (a Purim basket).

The mishloach manot consisted entirely of products sold by businesses owned by other olim (immigrants) to Jerusalem.

The olim visited were Leslie (59) and Michael (61) Windman, who immigrated to Israel last December from Florida, directly to Jerusalem.

They reunited there with their daughter, Rochelle, who immigrated alone from Maryland in 2015 and enlisted to the IDF as a lone soldier on the Nefesh B’Nefesh and FIDF (Friends of the IDF) lone soldiers program. Rochelle served as a combat engineering instructor.

During her military service, Rochelle met Jonathan, an Israeli by birth. The two fell in love, got married, and about a month ago their first daughter was born, and named Claire Shoshana.

The Purim basket received by the Windmans included a beer package from BeerBazaar, the well-known brand of beers and bars owned by Avi Moskowitz, who made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from the United States.

Also included were hamantashen from Tzomet HaCupcake (Cupcake Junction), a boutique confectionery owned by Ro Oranim, who made aliyah from the United States.

There was also a package of ground coffee from Power Coffeeworks, a roasting house owned by Brandon and Stephanie Trigger, who made aliyah from South Africa.

The products were served on a ceramic clay bowl from “Hadara’s Studio,” owned by Hadara Rabinowitz, who made aliyah from the United States.

Even the balloons received by the family came from “Jerusalem Balloons,” a balloon arrangement and events caterer opened by Kate Selznick, who made aliyah from England.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said: “I was happy to meet the Jerusalem couple, Leslie and Michael Windman, who quickly acclimated to Jerusalem thanks to the human warmth that envelops them in love. It was an exciting spectacle for me, to see three generations of a Zionist family who immigrated to Israel and settled in Jerusalem.”

“Last year, 1,322 people made aliyah to Israel and settled in Jerusalem, and for that, I would like to congratulate all parties involved in encouraging aliyah to Israel. I sincerely hope that by the end of the year we will see even greater aliyah, in every way.”

Co-founder and CEO of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, said: “When [the month of] Adar arrives we increase our joy, and there is no greater joy than meeting three generations of olim and their children who made it to Israel and made their homes in Jerusalem, with the help of our friend and partner, Mr. Moshe Lion.”

“Each new immigrant who has established their home here contributes daily to the economy, to the medical system, to the IDF, to the society, and especially to the resilience of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, and we wish everyone a Happy Purim!”

The Windmans shared the following words: “It is a great honor to host and meet in person our Mayor and Rabbi Fass, and we are grateful to both of them for the exciting surprise.”

They added: “We have always been Zionists, and Judaism has been strong in our home. When we first visited Israel in 2006, our daughter fell in love with the country and knew she wanted to live here. Only after her service as a lone soldier and our many visits over the years, were we inspired to also live in the capital city.”

“After our application for aliyah was submitted, we found out she was pregnant. The timing was perfect and now we feel so blessed to live down the road from our first granddaughter, here in Jerusalem.”

The Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, which works in collaboration with the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption, the Jewish Agency, the JNF, and the JNF-USA, reports that in 2021, 1,322 new immigrants from the United States and Canada chose to settle specifically in Jerusalem, making Jerusalem the number one destination for new immigrants from North America.

The leading professions of those new immigrants who settled in Jerusalem have been medicine, education, law, sales, and social work.

These figures represent the highest North American aliyah to Jerusalem in the last 5 years. In 2019, 877 settled in Jerusalem, and in 2020, 885 new immigrants from North America settled in Jerusalem.