Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization that facilitates aliyah from North America, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA, is celebrating a record-breaking summer in aliyah, with August 2021 surpassing any previous aliyah month in the organization’s history.
According to the aliyah organization, 1,912 new olim made aliyah from North America during the summer months on 40 group aliyah flights. Among the new olim were 362 families, 391 singles and 160 retirees. The end of the summer brings the total number of olim this year to more than 3,000, with the organization well on its way to hit its expected target of 4,500-5,000 olim for 2021.
“I am pleased to wish a Shana Tova to all the new olim from the USA and Canada that arrived in Israel thus far,” said Pnina Tamano-Shata, minister of aliyah and integration. “Since the beginning of the year, 18,520 olim from around the world have made aliyah, which is a very impressive and encouraging number. Among them, about 3,000 are from North America alone, despite the challenging period the world has been experiencing.
“We will continue accompanying the olim and doing everything in our capacity to provide the holistic support to the new olim in order for them to feel at home in Israel from the moment they arrive, in cooperation with the aliyah organizations, among them The Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh.”
“The summer is always the highlight of our year at Nefesh B’Nefesh, with the peak in Aliyah culminating during these months,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Despite the many challenges surrounding the pandemic, the resilience of our olim and dedication from our staff and partners have enabled us to celebrate our largest aliyah month ever. Each one of these olim is a new chapter in Israel’s history, ready to make their mark and contribute to the State, while fulfilling their Zionist dreams of building their new lives in Israel.”
The majority of olim hailed from New York, New Jersey, California, Florida and Maryland, with Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ra’anana and Modiin as the top destinations for starting their new lives in Israel. Close to 650 of the olim chose Israel’s periphery and Jerusalem as home as part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Go Beyond innovative.
“Through its Go Beyond initiative, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and Nefesh B’Nefesh, have been partnering for over a decade to assist new immigrants to move to northern and southern Israel as well as Jerusalem,” said Ronnie Vinnikov, CDO of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael. “Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael is celebrating its 120th anniversary and has been working for decades to promote immigration. Even in this challenging period of the corona crisis, we see the importance of the new immigrants who empower the State of Israel and contribute greatly to the strengthening of the Galilee, the Negev and Jerusalem.”
“Behind the impressive number of immigrants are the employees of the World Zionist Organization, The Jewish Agency, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Nefesh B’Nefesh and the various organizations involved in encouraging aliyah,” said Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and acting chairman of The Jewish Agency. “We will do everything we can to double the number of new olim next year. I am proud of you and thank you for your aspiration to make aliyah. Welcome home to the State of Israel!”
The oldest olah this summer was a 96-year-old woman and the youngest was a 4-month-old girl. 46% of the olim are men and 54% are women. The top professions among the olim were lawyers, educators and academics, physicians and social workers, as well as many young students who plan to benefit from the many top tertiary educational institutions around the country. In addition, 162 future lone soldiers and 39 national service volunteers made aliyah and will join the Nefesh B’Nefesh-Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Lone Soldier Program and the Ori program for National Service volunteers run by Nefesh B’Nefesh.
With the summer’s end comes the beginning of the Israeli school year. Between the olim who arrived during the summer were 464 school-age children. 503 new Olim will be starting school in Israel for the first time on September 1st, with 75 joining the first grade. 69% of the children are aged 6-11, 23% are 12-15 and 8% are 16-18.