Two olim centers planned

By year 2000, as many as 75,000 immigrants who were at one point committed to the Zionist ideal of aliya (immigration), later changed their minds and returned home.

November 1, 2016 01:03
2 minute read.
Nefesh B Nefesh

WATCH: Highlights of 221 Olim Landing on the July 2015 Charter Flight. (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)

Two guidance centers designed to help immigrants ease into their new lives will open in Karmiel and Tel Aviv next year, Nefesh B’Nefesh announced on Monday.

Acknowledging that getting on a plane is just the beginning of an often challenging journey, NBN strives to provide practical tools to help immigrants acclimatize themselves so they can successfully integrate into their new home.

The centers will provide a range of workshops, webinars and other events, adding to those already offered in the organization’s facilities in Jerusalem, Beersheba and at the NBN-FIDF Center for Lone Soldiers in Tel Aviv.

There are also deeper acknowledgments to be made about immigration. According to sociologist Yinon Cohen, large numbers of immigrants leave after a period of just a few years.

Cohen is a native-born Israeli who was educated at Hebrew University and now is professor of Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University, and author of the book, The Demographic Success of Zionism.

By some estimates, by year 2000, as many as 75,000 immigrants who were at one point committed to the Zionist ideal of aliya (immigration), later changed their minds and returned home, most often to the United States. Yet, Cohen notes that even with that, “only about eight percent of immigrants who came to Israel since 1989” had left by 2005.

The reasons for leaving are often simple: cost of living, the stress of learning a new language, the threat and reality of terrorism, and even just plain “homesickness.” NBN is attuned to these common difficulties of the disillusioned immigrant. While a friendly face can often do much to ameliorate that distress in the short-term, practical guidance is absolutely essential to long-term success.

“We are delighted to further expand on our current range of post-aliya programming to continue giving our new olim (immigrants) as much guidance and support with their aliya process as possible, something the organization has always been dedicated to,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh.

“We are not only proud to have brought over 50,000 Jews to Israel, but are devoted to providing each and every one of them with the tools needed to integrate into Israeli society, the workforce and continue having a significant influence on the successful development of the State of Israel.”

The centers will offer help on issues such as navigating Israeli healthcare, adapting to the educational system, finding suitable employment and understanding taxes and finances. They will also offer opportunities to travel throughout Israel and connect with other immigrants, as well as with Israelis.

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