The mission statement of the organization has evolved. It used to be very specific: facilitating Aliyah. If we were able to move a family from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to a thriving life in Israel, we were successful. And then it shifted into national projects: how do we get that family or individual to fulfill a need of the nation, whether that be building the periphery or filling a medical shortage, while tending to their own needs.
Then we shifted recently not only to facilitate but to educate, advocate and celebrate – and they all network with one another to either increase Aliyah or increase the thriving elements of people to stay here and contribute more, but also raising modern-day Zionism to a different platform. Making sure that people are educated about what is really happening here in Israel, and the real relationship between Israel and the Diaspora; celebrate the accomplishments of Israel and the immigration body so that other people can also be enamoured by what’s happening here, and advocate for long-term solutions.
There is a need to create a holistic approach for the future and ask what is immigration going to look like 20 years from now, or what are the issues we’re going to face 10 years from now. There are millions of Jews in the Diaspora. How do we feel and feed the future?
This also involves tackling major issues, like the housing issue here in Israel. Housing is challenging, and we must be able to provide a future residence to the next generation that is affordable and allows them to achieve their goals, you are stunting growth, for those who are living here and for those who want to move to the country. We’re taking 20 years of aggregated data, partnership and know-how, and asking how we address long-term goals.
People laughed at us 20 years ago, but today we’re not scared to tackle major issues that require major funding – and I think we can meet those challenges. One thing we’ve discovered is that things are much more doable than perceived. People want to do good, and if you give them the tools, we can create solutions. But you can’t do it alone, and you have to leverage partners and have the sense of humility to know that you can’t do everything alone. That’s a recipe for success. If we can do that, it will be a blessing to us and to the Jewish people, we hope.