The slogan of Nefesh B’Nefesh is “Live the Dream” because its mission is to remove the major obstacles that make aliyah a difficult reality for so many North Americans (from cutting through red tape, finding a community, and affording it, to enrolling kids in school, setting up a bank account, and buying a phone.)
But they also help another very small segment of the Jewish population to live another dream, if not of moving to Israel, then at least of visiting. Every summer they invite journalists form major Jewish publications worldwide to join the charter flights leaving from New York to Israel to document the process of aliyah of those in the communities they cover.
It’s been two years since I left Israel for LA after making aliyah in 1999, and I didn’t know if and when I would come back to visit. As a member of in-flight press for the second year in a row, I’m wondering if Nefesh B’Nefesh is staging a conspiracy to entice me back to the land….(I’m all for it!) Read about the take-off of the third and final charter flight of summer 2010 here, and stay tuned on Bloggish for profiles of some of those on the flight.
Last year, I wrote about my emotional and meaningful return to the Jewish homeland in a column entitled “A Zionist Love Story”, in which I compared Israel to a husband I had left. I compared the arrival ceremonyof Nefesh B’Nefesh to “An Aliyah Wedding” between Israel and lovers of Zion. Being a part of it for a second time, it’s like I’m renewing my vows.
I’ve created a montage using footage from both of my arrival ceremonies, so that you, like me, can vicariously live the dream of receiving such a warm, moving welcome to Zion. The next time I enjoy the arrival ceremony, who knows? maybe it’ll be not as a journalist, but as a participant, which means, as an Israeli, I’d only qualify for the charter flight if I marry a non-citizen. Now, if only Nefesh B’Nefesh can hook me up with a husband.
Every year, Nefesh B’Nefesh invites Israeli dignitaries and politicians of all political and religious stripes to give a heartwarming welcome message to the new olim. Last year, I heard Opposition Leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) speak, and this year I heard MK Silvan Shalom (Likud). Who said it better? Kadima or Likud? You decide.