The daughter of former US senator Joe Lieberman was among 232 new North American immigrants to arrive in Israel on Wednesday on a flight chartered by aliyah organization Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN).
Lieberman’s daughter Hana Lowenstein immigrated to Israel together with her husband Daniel and their four children who range between the ages of two and seven.
“We’ll be visiting there a lot,” Lieberman told The Jerusalem Post
on Tuesday morning at JFK Airport where he had come to send off his family. His eldest granddaughter already lives in Israel “so it’s a movement in our family,” Lieberman remarked.
“I’m excited. I’m proud of them. It’s the Jewish future, Jewish destiny. We miss them of course but thank God we have WhatsApp and Facetime and Skype. I’m very grateful that we live in a time – for the first time in two millennia – that there is a Jewish State of Israel that Jews around the world can go to by choice and not just because they need a sanctuary.”
“It’s a great time for Israel inside, and for US-Israel relations outside,” he added.
Daniel Lowenstein, 32, is a rabbi and psychiatrist. Hana Lowenstein works for the Orthodox Union. “We’ve been planning this for a long time,” she said, explaining that the time was right now for them to move from Baltimore because Daniel has completed his residency.
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“We have a strong sense of being a link in the chain of Jewish history, and we feel so privileged to live in a time when we can live in Israel.”
The Lowenstein children are four of the 127 children who were on the flight, comprising more than half of the new immigrants whose aliyah was facilitated by NBN in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA.
The immigrants range from 6 months to 80 years old, and include 34 families, 18 singles, three sets of twins, six future IDF soldiers and 15 medical professionals.
62 of the olim will be moving to Israel’s periphery, 35 of those to the South, under the joint Nefesh B’Nefesh-KKL “Go Beyond” initiative which supports olim (new immigrants) moving to those areas, as well as Jerusalem.
The new olim hail from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, as well as from the Canadian province of Quebec.
“Each day that brings new olim to Israel is a joyous occasion, especially when there are 130 children on a single aliyah flight. This is the future unfolding before us,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration Sofa Landver, who attended a festive welcoming ceremony held for the new immigrants at Ben-Gurion Airport. “These newcomers, together with the country’s veteran olim, are strengthening Israel’s resilience, economic development and society as a whole. I am so pleased that many of today’s olim are joining our Negev-Galilee project which will help strengthen Israel’s periphery.”
“As an organization that has existed for almost 120 years, we see great importance in bringing Diaspora Jews to Israel,” said world chairman of KKLJNF, Danny Atar. “As Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel works to reduce the gaps between people living in the center and the periphery of Israel, we see the new olim moving North and South as a huge national asset.
Even after 70 years of independence the work is still continuing on, and the building of the Jewish home has not yet ended.”
“We are inspired to see so many children making aliyah today with their families. As Israel recently celebrated its 70th birthday, the country is now looking ahead to its future – an era that will be shaped by the ingenuity and passion of courageous and pioneering olim who are starting their lives anew in the Jewish state,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “The group of young olim arriving today will have the tremendous opportunity to grow and develop in Israel, and be part of the modern- day miracle of the Jewish people returning to the Jewish homeland.”
The new olim arrived on the first of two Nefesh B’Nefesh charter aliyah flights of the year, which, along with eight group aliyah flights and olim arriving independently on a daily basis, bringing the total to more than 2,000 people immigrating through Nefesh B’Nefesh this summer from North America.
Since 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh, together with its partners, has brought more than 57,000 olim to Israel from the US, Canada and the UK.