We sat down and spoke with Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Benji Davis about Aliyah and the amazing resources available for new Olim.
NBN: Tell us about yourself
BD: My name is Benji Davis and I’m from Los Angeles, CA. I made Aliyah in October, 2009 after finishing my BA in the States. After serving in the army, where I helped Olim and Lone Soldiers with their enlistment, I began working at Nefesh B’Nefesh. Now I’m the Israel Program Manager, where I develop, implement and manage our Post Aliyah and Employment programming in the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas.
NBN: Most people know what NBN does to help people before Aliyah, but can you tell us a little about how NBN helps Olim after they’ve arrived in Israel?
BD: Our goal is to help Olim acclimate, integrate and thrive in Israel. We have a team of advisors here to help you navigate life in Israel, whether it be through guidance, government advocacy, one-on-one meetings, social events, employment workshops, or practical life in Israel seminars. We have a wealth of information and resources. We regularly reach out to new Olim to check on their progress and to help them through the critical first year (really to make sure nothing and nobody falls through the cracks!) but Olim, any Olim, are encouraged to reach out to us and be in touch so we can help every Oleh maximize their potential in Israel.
NBN: The main Nefesh B’Nefesh office is in Jerusalem, does everyone have to travel there for services and guidance?
BD: The short answer is a definitive NO, but the Jerusalem office is always busy and plays host to many meetings and events.
We recently opened an amazing office on Rothschild in the heart of Tel Aviv which, in addition to meetings and events, is an active hub and co-working space for Olim. Our hub members are entrepreneurs, job seekers, students and independent consultants.
Additionally, we have offices in Karmiel in the North, and in Be’er Sheva in the South, so that Olim across the country have access to quality programming and Aliyah guidance.
NBN: What are your pro tips for successful acclimation and integration to Israel?
BD: Patience and persistence!!
NBN:You make it sound so easy! You think you can tell us some of the main challenges Olim face and how you advise them to meet these challenges?
BD: For many people language is a major challenge. If your Hebrew isn’t strong, you should start as early as possible to familiarize yourself with the Hebrew you think you’ll need to succeed. This could be academic, professional or social. Speaking the language definitely gives you a boost. We also tell people to leverage their personal skills and network to see social and professional growth, even if they haven’t mastered the language.
Another challenge Olim face is waiting until they arrive in Israel to begin planning their career moves. There are loads of opportunities for Olim here and our dedicated team of employment experts encourage Olim to reach out before making Aliyah to start laying the groundwork for a successful career transition. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Israel is a land of opportunity and there are truly no limits to where you can go!
WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP TO BUILD A STRONGER ISRAEL THROUGH ALIYAH
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