Thanksgiving dinner at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah campus
Thanksgiving dinner at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah campus Yonit Schiller

Nefesh B’Nefesh hosted hundreds of Olim around Israel this week for a series of traditional Thanksgiving dinners. The various events included a pre-Thanksgiving gathering in Be’er Sheva, a Thanksgiving dinner at the NBN Tel Aviv Hub, a Shabbat dinner at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah campus for the Jerusalem-Olim community, and a joint-event co-hosted by the Haifa Municipality, where Einat Kalisch-Rotem, Mayor of Haifa, was present to greet the Olim.

he largest of the events was held at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah campus, with over 300 lone soldiers and lone national service volunteers in attendance. The holiday celebration, which was organized in coordination with the FIDF-Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program, the Nefesh B’Nefesh “Ori” program for Lone B’not Sherut, and the Michael Levin Base, included traditional Thanksgiving dishes, a performance by singer-songwriter Mayer Malik, and a live broadcast of the customary football game occurring in the United States.

“As is the name of the holiday, the purpose of our Thanksgiving gatherings was to give thanks to all the inspiring families and individuals who left their familiar surroundings in order to make Aliyah and, in turn, either serve in the IDF, volunteer in national service, or contribute to Israel’s success,” said Noya Govrin, Director of the FIDF - Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program. “It is an enormous privilege for us to gather everyone together and provide a taste of their old home.”

“As we enter our third year, it's a tremendous achievement for us to be able to co-host with NBN hundreds of lone soldiers and lone B'not Sherut this Thanksgiving,” said Bonnie Rosenbaum Co -Director of The Michael Levin Base. “We are thrilled that so many can benefit from The Michael Levin Base, proving how much The Base is an essential resource for this community. We would like to thank NBN for this opportunity to collaborate and support together our lone soldiers and lone Bnot Sherut.”

“This year marks my first Thanksgiving as an Israeli citizen, and while I know I’ll miss my old family traditions, I’m excited to build new ones with the friends I have made here who have now become family,” said Erica Weintraub, a new Olah and future lone soldier from New York. “With only a month away until I draft to Michve Alon, I couldn’t think of a better way to reflect on all the things I’m grateful for before stepping into this new chapter!”