Josh Rosenbloom lands in Israel 1st Nefesh B'Nefesh Aliyah flight of the summer
Josh Rosenbloom lands in Israel 1st Nefesh B'Nefesh Aliyah flight of the summer Tomer Malichi

Nefesh B’Nefesh, in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and JNF-USA, is gearing up for a major wave of Aliyah, with over 2,000 individuals from 20 U.S. states and Canadian provinces expected to arrive in Israel during the summer months alone.

The organization’s flagship charter Aliyah flight will resume after a multi-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, and plans are underway to welcome and assist thousands of new Olim (immigrants to Israel) who will arrive via 10 group Aliyah flights as well as individual arrivals.

The first group Aliyah flight of the summer landed last week, bringing 40 new Olim to Israel. The Olim arrived from seven states across the U.S. and ranged in ages from one to eighty-eight years old.

Israel’s Minister of Aliyah and Integration, Pnina Tamano-Shata, said, “Nefesh B’Nefesh is an important and central partner of the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration in encouraging Aliyah from North America.

As a result of this successful partnership, over 2,000 new Olim will arrive in Israel this summer, hundreds of whom I met on my last trip to New York.

In the last two decades, we have welcomed more than 70,000 Olim, and this number continues to grow. The Olim have proven invaluable to the country and have contributed to every facet of Israeli society. We will continue to welcome them with open arms and do everything we can to make them feel at home.”

The summer of 2022 also marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of Nefesh B’Nefesh by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart. Since 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh has transformed the North American Aliyah process, assisting nearly 75,000 new Olim to Israel.

“We are extremely excited to resume our charter Aliyah flight once again and are looking forward to welcoming thousands more Olim to Israel this coming summer as we celebrate our 20th anniversary of operation,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We are humbled by the strength and resilience of all the Olim who continue to make Aliyah on an ongoing basis and remain committed to assisting them at every stage of the process as they settle into their new homes in Israel.”

Josh Rosenblum, a new Oleh who arrived from Newport Beach, CA, on the first group Aliyah flight of the summer, said: “My sister made Aliyah a few years back as a professional basketball player and played for the Israeli women’s national team. I’m a collegiate volleyball player and decided to follow in her footsteps by starting a new chapter in my life by practicing with the Israeli volleyball national team. I wish to contribute my abilities as an athlete and ultimately dream of representing Israel on the national team."

The expected upcoming wave of Aliyah follows a busy season of Nefesh B’Nefesh events and initiatives which have drawn thousands of participants who are both planning and contemplating Aliyah.

Last month, the organization hosted a celebratory “Homecoming BBQ” for Olim from the Tri-State area who are making Aliyah during the summer, which was attended by hundreds of individuals and dignitaries, including Minister Tamano-Shata, Mayor of Beit Shemesh Aliza Bloch, the soon-to-be Olim and their extended families.

The month of May also saw a successful virtual “Mega” event and job fair, which drew over 1,600 registrants and encompassed a variety of Aliyah topics for prospective Olim from more than 45 states and provinces across North America, as well as from two-dozen countries around the world.

Nefesh B’Nefesh also held a two-day “MedEx” event in New Jersey, in cooperation with Israel’s Health Ministry, providing an array of resources and personal meetings, as well as expedited licensing and support for more than 300 medical professionals and 125 physicians who are planning their moves to Israel.

"Aliyah to Israel is the cornerstone in realizing the Zionist dream and in our continued return to the land of our forefathers. Despite the many challenges faced by newcomers, the State of Israel is the national home for each and every Jew,” said Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel. “I congratulate Nefesh B'Nefesh for working tirelessly for the immigration and integration of new Olim and call on the entire Israeli nation to unite around these new Olim and assist them in their acclimation and absorption into Israeli society."