North American Olim Light Up Israel in Time for Chanukah

Seventy-six new Olim from North America are infusing Israel with the light of Zionism by celebrating the first night of Chanukah as new Israeli citizens.  The newcomers arrived on December 20 at Ben Gurion Airport on a Nefesh B’Nefesh group Aliyah flight organized in conjunction with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency.

More after the jump.


Upon making Aliyah, Eden, Mia and Hila proudly display their hand made menoras from their local Jewish day schools in the United States.
Right to left: Eden Barshishat – 4 years old from NY, Mia Barshishat – 2 years old from NY, Hila Lieber – 4.5 years old from NY.
Credit: Yonit Schiller courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh.

One man brought two special menorahs on Aliyah with him explaining that they “have been in my family for generations and I inherited them from my parents when they passed away. Each one of these menorahs, in a way, represents the light they still shine on me from above. Tonight I will have the privilege of lighting my first Chanukah candle as an Israeli citizen.”

According to Erez Halfon, Vice Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, “It is very special that these Olim are arriving just in time to celebrate Chanukah in Israel. We are confident that the spark and passion they bring with them will add to the light of Zionism and infuse the State of Israel with renewed idealism and positive energy.”

Minister of Immigrant Absorption, MK Sofa Landver added, “The arrival of new Olim is always a wonderful thing, especially during holiday season in general and during Chanukah in particular. In the spirit of this holiday, my office will do all he can to ensure that their arrival will be full of warmth and light and that they will have an optimal integration in Israel”.

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 29,000 newcomers, has ensured that 97% of its Olim have remained in Israel.

Olim’s new Israeli babies celebrate first Yom Haatzmaut in Israel


— by Renana Levine

Nefesh B’Nefesh held a unique Yom Haatzmaut party in Jerusalem in honor of the 250 new Israeli babies born this past year to NBN Olim, who will be celebrating their first Yom Haatzmaut.
Since its founding in 2002, over 2,100 ‘sabra’ babies have been born to the 27,000+ North American and British Olim that Nefesh B’Nefesh has assisted with their Aliyah, together with the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.
“There is no greater satisfaction than to see Israeli babies born to Olim who we helped make Aliyah,” said Erez Halfon, Vice Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “This year Nefesh B’Nefesh expects to bring over 4,800 Olim from North America, Canada and the UK and we look forward to celebrating Yom Haatzmaut next year with even more new ‘sabra’ babies.”

Four and a half month old Nitzan Skversky, son of Tamara and Aron who made Aliyah from the USA a few years ago, participated in the unique celebration. “Celebrating our first Yom Haatzmaut with our own truly Israeli baby is the realization of a dream for us,” said the excited mother. “This is our humble present to the State of Israel for its 63rd Birthday.”

Photos: Sasson Tiram