A Call to Imagine Greater

BY AVI LEVINE

Where does change begin?

A realization; a shifting paradigm.

The recognition that there are other ways to accomplish our goals.

Other paths to reach our destination.

Or other destinations that may have more to offer.

It all begins with our ability to imagine things differently, to challenge the immutability of the status quo. And then to build a plan for success.

It is this very mindset that guided Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass when founding Nefesh B’Nefesh in 2002. They asked themselves (and others), why are so few North Americans making Aliyah?  What is holding people back? How can Aliyah be done differently? What would a wave of increased Aliyah look like? Can the process be improved? Can the information potential Olim need be provided better? And if it can, will Aliyah increase?

Will answering these questions encourage more people to make the move?

15 years and 50,000 Olim later, the answer is clear.

This thought process is ongoing. It is the underlying principle that guides our services, helps us identify where to improve, what resources to make available and the obstacles to help alleviate.

But this is only half the story.

It is our community of Olim who, on a very personal level, are asking themselves the same questions.

The individuals and families who are choosing to imagine greater possibilities, seeing greater potential, a greater future… and are choosing a different path from the overwhelming majority of their peers, families and communities.

And what are they finding?

Aside from the basics, they are finding warm communities, great jobs, and holistic Jewish living. They are tapping into something bigger – there is a tangible feeling of being part of Israel’s next chapter, of not just taking a back seat watching Jewish history unfold, but taking an active role in its future. Olim are finding unique opportunities for themselves and their families in all realms.

Around our office we speak of Israel being the ‘greatest project of the Jewish people’.

Sound bombastic?

Let’s break it down: in Israel, no matter your age, religious outlook, profession, family status, gender, orientation or political leaning, you can find your place. And by doing so, you are taking a proactive, vital part in Jewish living.

That’s just by making the move.

What often comes next is surprising to Olim.

Soon after arriving and settling in, many Olim start to imagine even greater, seeing opportunities to grow and contribute at every turn. It then becomes, more than ‘what does Israel have to offer me’, shifting to ‘what do I have to offer Israel.’

When we imagine greater possibilities, we actualize greater realities.

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing stories of Olim who’ve dared to imagine greater, professionally and personally, and are making an impact in Israel and, in many cases, throughout the world.

At our upcoming Mega Event and Aliyah Fairs our staff and guest speakers will be on hand to not only share the practical knowledge and guidance to help you explore and plan your Aliyah dream, they will also help share a glimpse of greater horizons, and possibilities you can find in Israel.

NYC Israel Mega Event
Sunday, February 26, 2017
John Jay College

Montreal Aliyah Fair
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Gelber Conference Centre

Toronto Aliyah Fair
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Holiday Inn Yorkdale

Los Angeles Aliyah Fair
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Shalhevet High School

We look forward to seeing you there!

Avi Levine is a long-time Nefesh B’Nefesh staff member. He made Aliyah in 2002 and lives in Neve Daniel with his wife and six children (3 sabras).