Despite tensions surrounding the war in Gaza, 338 new immigrants from the United States and Canada departed John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Aug. 4 on an aliyah charter flight to Israel. The special Nefesh B’Nefesh flight was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, JNF-USA and Tzofim Garin Tzabar.
Included in the group of olim were 108 young men and women who will be serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
The large group included 37 families with 107 children. The passenger list also included 65 immigrants moving to Israel’s periphery as part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh and Keren Kayemeth L’Israel Go North and Go South programs. Altogether, the group will be settling in every part of Israel, from Ma’alot in the north to Eilat in the south.
They hail from 27 states and three Canadian provinces and range in age from a 6-week-old baby to a 93-year-old great-grandparent in a family of four generations making aliyah together.
“I find it profoundly inspiring that we have a 747 jumbo jet filled to capacity with people from the North American Jewish community making aliyah, especially at such a challenging time,” said Nefesh B’Nefesh co-founder and executive director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. “To see that Jews everywhere, young and old, religious and secular, are determined to fulfill the dream of helping to build the Jewish state is truly amazing.”