DATE: AUGUST 29, 2019

Ben-Gurion Airport’s Terminal 1 was packed with well-wishers and warmth on the morning of August 15 to greet Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 60th chartered El Al flight from New York, this one bringing 242 olim (immigrants) from the US and Canada.

NBN says it has now flown 60,000 immigrants to Israel since it was founded as an NGO in 2001 by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart. Altogether, 2,282 immigrants are due to come from the US and Canada this summer alone.

“As we celebrate our 60,000th immigrant today, we reflect upon how Nefesh B’Nefesh as an institution has been privileged not only to help tens of thousands of Jews fulfill their aliyah dreams, but has also contributed to building and developing the State of Israel through these olim,” Fass said.

Of course, NBN does not do it all alone, but in coordination with the Aliyah and Integration Ministry, The Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, and JNF-USA, and the latest flight was sponsored by Colorado-based philanthropist Heidi Rothberg.

NBN communities fair. (photo credit: TOMER MALICHI)

Future lone soldiers on the NBN flight take a selfie with Sara Netanyahu. (photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN)

Still, there is no doubt that the NGO has revolutionized aliyah over the past 18 years. Gone are the days when immigrants had to fend for themselves. NBN provides them with assistance in just about every facet of their future life in Israel, from housing and employment to being placed in good schools and even the IDF.