(photo credit: peter halmgi \ Nefesh Benefesh)
The Nefesh B'Nefesh is slated to hold an aliya “mega event” in Times Square in Manhattan on Sunday, kicking off a week of such expositions promoting immigration in Toronto, Montreal, Florida, Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Immigrant and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver (Likud Beytenu) is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech.
Organizers say that the event will allow potential immigrants to meet with professionals from the Jewish Agency, universities, job placement organizations and business development programs aimed at new olim. Mayors of several cities will also be present to promote their cities as potential destinations.
Seminars will be held to familiarize potential immigrants with “Careers in Israel,” “Financial Planning,” “Taxes & Budgeting,” “The Israeli Healthcare System,” “Introduction to the Aliya Process” and “Aliya Rights and Benefits,” NBN said.
NBN said that it will use the event to promote its Go North and Go South programs, which provide financial and other incentives for those interested in moving to the periphery.
The organization has largely taken over North American aliya from the Jewish Agency, whose aliya department was shuttered following a 2009 reorganization by chairman Natan Sharansky, who has shifted the agency's focus from promoting mass aliya to bolstering Jewish identity in the Diaspora.
Immigration from the developed world is largely steady and while Nefesh B'Nefesh succeeded in simplifying and streamlining the aliya process, making a once daunting process much more user friendly, it remains to be seen just how much the organization can do to boost aliya numbers.
“Currently the overwhelming majority of Jews live in developed democratic countries.
Under the present distribution of global development and democracy, no major migration waves can be expected.
Periodical economic crises, like the financial downfall of 2008-2009, only had minor consequences for Jewish migration,” according to Hebrew University demographer Sergio Dellapergola.
“Of course nobody can predict the collapse of empires. See the break-down of the USSR and the subsequent wave of emigration. If something similar happens to the European Union or to the USA, there will be major consequences for Jewish migration. But it is difficult to rely on such occurrences.
Emigration from Israel too, currently quite low, might increase if the circumstances were to become extremely hard,” he said.
NBN to date “has assisted over 38,000 Olim,” a spokesman said. “More than 50,000 North American and British Jews have attended Nefesh B'Nefesh pre-aliya informational seminars throughout the US, Canada and UK.”
A total of 3,504 immigrants came from the US and Canada in 2013.