I’m writing this from the EL AL lounge as the new olim are saying their last, tear-filled goodbyes to family on the third charter flight organized by Nefesh b’Nefesh this summer leaving JFK international airport in New York. This year marked the first direct flight from LA. Over 3,000 olim from the USA, Canada, and the UK have made aliyah so far with Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Two hundred and thirty nine people are on this flight. Of those 108 are under 18 years-old, 58 are singles and 41 are families. The oldest oleh is 82, the youngest is seven weeks old. Four dogs and and one cat are also on board
The Zionism here is palpable and also visual—people are broadcasting their love for Israel through an array of creative T-shirts. There’s definitely an industry in pro-aliyah T-shirts. Here’s a photo essay of those who wear their hearts on their chests (and you’ll also be able to tell those NOT making aliyah, at least not yet. They’re seeing family off).