Speaking with Steve Linde, Jerusalem Report editor at the Jerusalem Post’s virtual conference, ‘COVID-19 and the Jews: Challenges and Opportunities, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, said that interest in Aliyah has reached “staggering” numbers. “The numbers show a spike in aliyah interest that the State of Israel has not seen since its establishment, and we hope to reap the benefits of this interest next year in 2021,” said Fass.
PNINA + ALIYA
Last year in the first three weeks of June, Fass noted, 5,000 households reached out to contact the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah hotline. This year, nearly 25,000 families contacted the organization in that same time period. “Most of it,” he said, “is because the outcome of Corona has recalibrated the compass of many individuals who always thought and dreamt of coming to Israel.”
Rabbi Fass says that providing assistance with aliyah at this time can be challenging, because much of the American and Israeli infrastructure is operating under the wave of Corona, which has led to slower processing of documents. He advised those who are planning aliyah to download the aliyah application from the Nefesh B’Nefesh website, collect all the necessary data in order to expedite the process as best as possible.
“Through Corona,” Fass added, “we have learned many things. Israel is not a given. For the last 70 years, we could always get on a plane and come here. Over last three to four months, with the travel ban in effect, we have recalibrated our compass, prioritized, taken time to pause, to assess and evaluate what where we are in our trajectory of growth and our visceral connection to our homeland. If you are thinking about aliyah and Israel as your future and your destiny – not just a destination – we are here to help you and support you at every step of the way.”