NEW YORK, July 20 – Despite the war in Gaza, 228 new Olim (immigrants) from the United States and Canada will depart from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport tomorrow, July 21, on a Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight to Israel. Of these Olim, a remarkable 100 are children who are making Aliyah with their parents.
The children include 39 girls and 61 boys. Altogether, 29 families and 54 singles will be on this landmark flight, which is taking place in collaboration with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA.
Due to the complicated security situation in Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh is reaching out to the Olim, briefing them, and providing counseling and support. As they arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, each Oleh will receive a special booklet by Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption on security measures, such as what to do when a Code Red siren sounds warning of incoming rockets. The Olim will also be provided an English-language manual from Israel’s Home Front Command on how to talk to your children about the situation, translated by Nefesh B’Nefesh.
“Cancelling or postponing our trip was never an option. Even though we’re flying into a war zone, we’re just as excited as we always were,” said Sarah Bergman, 31 of Waterbury, Connecticut, who will be making Aliyah to Even Shmuel with her husband, Fred, 34 and children Eliyahu, 10, Zev, 8, Azriel, 6 and Elisheva, 2. “We are preparing our children by watching videos and talking about the situation. Our family is concerned, but this is where we’re going,” she added.
Dozens of these Olim are planning to live in Israel’s south and north, as part of a joint project to settle Olim in the Negev and the Galilee. Those who are planning to live in the south also received special briefings about the security situation, such as information about trauma counseling and support from English-speaking Olim living in the south.
A farewell ceremony for the Olim will take place at John F. Kennedy International Airport prior to the flight. The ceremony will take place Monday, July 21, at 11 a.m. ET, at Terminal 4, El Al check-in area, and is open to reporters and photographers.
About Nefesh B’Nefesh:
Founded in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with the Israeli government and The Jewish Agency for Israel, is dedicated to revitalizing Aliyah from North America and the UK by removing or minimizing the financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles of Aliyah. The support and comprehensive social services provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh to its almost 40,000 newcomers has ensured that over 90% of its Olim have remained in Israel. www.nbn.org.il