It’s all in the ‘family’ for Thanksgiving

With events scheduled for Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheba, NBN is casting a wide net so olim across the country can be included.

Olim gather at an Thanksgiving event hosted by NBN last year. (photo credit: YONIT SCHILLER)
Olim gather at an Thanksgiving event hosted by NBN last year.
(photo credit: YONIT SCHILLER)
When new immigrants begin their aliyah journey, most leave their close family behind. This can be a difficult experience on any day, but surrounding Thanksgiving, homesickness can set in for these newcomers.
As such, Nefesh B’Nefesh is hosting Thanksgiving events throughout the country to make new immigrants feel like they’re part of one big extended family.
“On Thanksgiving, we try help fill that void. Many olim (new immigrants) don’t have their families in Israel and this is a time where they really miss that,” Benji Davis, Israel program manager at NBN, said. “Through our Thanksgiving programming, we strive to replicate that warm family feeling for olim, by surrounding them with reasons to feel thankful for their new lives in Israel. Together we have created a new family here.”
With events scheduled for Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheba, NBN is casting a wide net so olim across the country can be included.
In the spirit of being thankful, two olim-run establishments have decided to work with NBN and give back to their community for the holiday. In Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market, Beer Bazaar and Crave will host an event for young professionals on Thursday night and lone soldiers and b’not sherut on Friday, respectively.
And because no Thanksgiving meal is complete without stuffing one food item into something else – turducken, anyone? – those at Beer Bazaar will be able to try some stuffin (a muffin stuffed with pieces of turkey).
In Tel Aviv, at an event in the organization’s hub on Rothschild Boulevard, an over-40 crowd will replicate the at-home Thanksgiving experience by hearing live country music while watching football on the big screen.
And in the South, where residents have been on high alert last week due to the most recent flare up in Gaza, olim will celebrate a Friends-giving in Beersheba. At the event, which is coordinated through the organization’s Go Beyond initiative, which encourages olim to move to the North and South, meeting new members of a community in a relaxed atmosphere will be a moment of respite for those who ran in and out of shelters a mere week ago.
“Growing up, Thanksgiving was huge for my family where we spent quality time with people we care about,” said Menucha Schwartz, a Florida native who moved to Beersheba. “We don’t have family in Israel, but friends have become family. With Nefesh B’Nefesh, these gatherings enable more people to come together on a larger scale. That’s really special.”

For more information on the NBN events, visit: https://events.nbn.org.il/SearchEvents.aspx?country=Israel
This article was written in cooperation with Nefesh B’Nefesh.