By: A7 Staff
Fifty-one olim (new immigrants) landed at Ben Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning as part of a Nefesh B’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA.
Tuesday’s flight follows a record-breaking month in Aliyah, with May 2020 showing a 100% increase in North American interest in Aliyah in comparison to numbers from May 2019. While April showed a 50% increase in Olim who applied for Aliyah from April 2019, May 2020 is the highest recorded month of Aliyah application that Nefesh B’Nefesh has experienced in the past 18 years since its founding.
In May, nearly 800 families and singles submitted online applications, out of a total of 1,007 Aliyah applications which were downloaded and started since the beginning of the month. In comparison, only 424 Aliyah applications were submitted in May 2019. The average age of May’s applicants was 28, and about two-thirds of the submitted applications were for an expected Aliyah date within 2020.
“With the recent dramatic events across the world, exploring the option of Aliyah has become more of a consideration,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh.
“For many Jews who have been contemplating Aliyah, being home with their individual families has given them an opportunity to focus on individual dreams and priorities. People have been able to stay close to family members without being in the same physical space, they have felt part of a wider community without stepping foot in a synagogue or community center, and many have been able to adapt to working remotely without compromising on productivity. We are seeing how these changes, while fundamentally challenging, are allowing more and more people to consider Aliyah today.”
“It is my privilege to welcome the new Olim who arrived in Israel this morning. Even now, during the pandemic, Israel’s gates are open to Diaspora Jews, as much as possible, while keeping everyone safe and healthy,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Pnina Tamano-Shata.
“We anticipate an incredible and welcome increase in Olim before the end of this period, and even larger numbers in the next few years. As such, we are preparing a comprehensive national program to encourage Aliyah and effectively integrate Olim as best as we can. It is important to note, our work doesn’t end with our Oleh brothers and sisters stepping off the plane, but rather continues throughout their Aliyah, every step of the way.”
Today’s group flight carried some of the first Olim out of the thousands who are expected to make Aliyah this summer. The Olim on the group flight were comprised of 51 individuals, the oldest of whom is 87 years old and the youngest being a one-year-old.
These Olim hail from New York, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina. They will be moving to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ra’anana, Bat Yam, Petach Tikva, Be’er Sheva, Ramat Hasharon, Bnei Brak, Yavne, Karmiel, Katzrin, Kiryat Haim, Mazkeret Batya, Meitar, Netanya, Netivot and Pardes Hanna.
“The past few months have been challenging at times, with everything going on in the world,” said Esti Brookhim, one of this morning’s new Olim. “I am so happy to finally be on the plane, and I am excited to start my new life in Israel!”