Nefesh B’Nefesh held a festive “Homecoming Barbecue,” in Englewood, N.J. on Monday, for olim (immigrants to Israel) from the tri-state area who will be making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) during the summer months.
The event was held in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and JNF-USA and in the presence of MK Ofir Sofer (Religious Zionism), Israel’s Minister of Aliyah and Integration; the office’s Director-General Avichai Kahana, Minister in the Ministry of Labor Rabbi Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas); and Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh Rabbi Yehoshua Fass.
Also attending the event were newlyweds Tzophia and Joey, who celebrated their wedding last Thursday and whose presence turned the barbecue into a celebration with "sheva brachot" and dancing.
The celebratory barbecue was attended by more than 400 individuals from across the tri-state area, including the soon-to-be olim and their extended families. Nefesh B’Nefesh staff were on hand at the venue to answer questions and offer aliyah guidance and assistance. Various food stations, entertainment, music, and kids’ activities provided a happy farewell to the olim who will be embarking on their aliyah journeys in the coming months.
“I was excited to greet the hundreds of new olim who will be immigrating to Israel this summer through Nefesh B'Nefesh at their event in New Jersey this week,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration MK Ofir Sofer. “The immigrants who choose to embark on these new paths have had to make difficult decisions, but I am sure aliyah has been their best one. As Israel's Minister of Aliyah and Integration, I see the task of absorbing new immigrants of the highest importance. Together with our Ministry's resources, we will ensure, with God's help, the best acclimation possible for all new immigrants."
Some 2000 olim are expected to make aliyah with the assistance of Nefesh B’Nefesh over the upcoming summer months. In addition to the annual charter flight, Nefesh B’Nefesh has organized nine group aliyah flights (with small groups of olim numbering between 30-60 individuals), as well as more than 40 individual aliyah flights which include olim opting to make aliyah in a small group or independently from the group flights. There are also hundreds more olim who will be making aliyah from within Israel through the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, accompanied by representatives from Nefesh B’Nefesh.
“It is heartwarming to celebrate with hundreds of soon-to-be-olim in their hometowns while witnessing the support and pride being expressed by their closest families in anticipation of their imminent move to Israel,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We are privileged to be a part of the aliyah story for thousands of olim as they embark on this journey, and look forward to hosting them very soon in their new homes in Israel.”
The special barbecue followed the annual Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City a day earlier, in which Nefesh B’Nefesh participated with a festive Aliyah float and marchers.