North American aliyah in August breaks record despite COVID-19

With the arrival of 1,000 olim in August, Nefesh B’Nefesh is on pace for a record-breaking year.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

The arrival of 1,000 North American olim (immigrants) in August smashed Nefesh B’Nefesh’s record for most new arrivals in a month. And the numbers point to a record-breaking year.

According to Nefesh B’Nefesh, which facilitates immigration for North American Jews, 1,912 new olim arrived in Israel on 40 group flights during the summer months. The organization has so far brought more than 3,000 new immigrants to Israel in 2021.

Nefesh B’Nefesh expects to hit its goal of 4,500-5,000 olim by the end 2021. And that’s despite the difficulties posed by the COVID outbreak.

“Despite the many challenges surrounding the pandemic, the resilience of our Olim and dedication from our staff and partners, have enabled us to celebrate our largest Aliyah month ever,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, the organization’s co-founder and executive director.

This year’s olim range in age from four months to 96 years.

They include physicians, social workers, educators, lawyers, academics and young students planning to continue their studies in Israeli institutions. This year’s group of olim so far includes 362 families, 391 singles and 160 retirees.

Of the singles, 162 will become lone soldiers and 39 will become volunteers in sherut leumi (national service). Nefesh B’Nefesh expects 300 future soldiers by the end of the year.

Most of the organization’s olim come from New York, New Jersey, California, Florida and Maryland. They tend to settle down in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh, Modi’in and Ra’anana.

Founded in 2001, Nefesh B’Nefesh has helped more than 65,000 North American Jews make aliyah.

Overall, 18,520 olim from around the world immigrated to Israel.