Memphis native Mirel Samuels moved to Israel yesterday along with 232 Americans by way of a 6,000 mile chartered Nefesh B’Nefesh flight, an organization revitalizing immigration to Israel.
“Looking back in 2002 when [we] founded this organization, we couldn’t have imagined bringing 50,000 Jews from North America to Israel to fulfill their dreams and the dreams of the Jewish people," said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. "And we’re not stopping anytime soon.”
Citizens from 22 U.S. states and one Canadian province will now call Israel home. That includes 24 families, 78 children, 10 medical professionals, and 75 soldiers who will become Israeli citizens and volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces. The passengers' ages range from 3 and a half weeks old to 85 years old as well as 20-year-old Samuels.
Nefesh B’Nefesh was founded in 2002. The organization, in cooperation with Israeli government and The Jewish Agency, works to remove the financial, professional, logistical and social barriers of immigration to Israel. Since Nefesh B’Nefesh began, its efforts have been on renewing immigration from North America and the United Kingdom. About 90 percent of immigrants have remained in Israel.
“Every single family and individual we bring to Israel who decides to make Aliyah is such a special thing for us as an organization, but when you see so many brave young men and women from North America sacrifice so much and voluntarily leave their families because they feel a yearning desire to serve in the IDF and defend Israel, that’s powerful,” Fass said.