Nefesh B'Nefesh

Nefesh B'Nefesh

Nefesh B'Nefesh (Hebrew: נפש בנפש) is an organization that encourages immigration by Jewish people to Israel from North America and the United Kingdom. The organization was founded in 2002 by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart, and works in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government.



Nefesh B'Nefesh is a Jerusalem-based non profit organization that promotes, encourages and facilitates Aliyah from the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. The organization aims to remove or minimize the financial, professional, logistical, and social obstacles that potential Olim face. Nefesh B'Nefesh works in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency, the Government of Israel and major Jewish organizations across all denominations and assists people of all ages in the Pre and Post-Aliyah process, offering resources such as financial aid, employment guidance and networking, assistance navigating the Israeli system, social guidance and counseling.


Nefesh B'Nefesh was originally conceived by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass after a family member was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel. Realizing that there were many people who wanted to immigrate to Israel but were concerned about certain obstacles, Rabbi Fass and Florida businessman and philanthropist Tony Gelbart decided to create an organization which would try to make it easier for people to make Aliyah.

In the summer of 2002, Nefesh B'Nefesh organized its first chartered Aliyah flight. In the following years, growing demand saw an increasing number of Aliyah flights from North America to Israel, and by the end of 2007, Nefesh B'Nefesh organized more than 30 Aliyah flights.

In May 2006, in response to numerous requests from British Jewry interested in Aliyah, Nefesh B'Nefesh expanded its services to also include the United Kingdom.

Partnership with the Government of Israel

In November 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon authorized government funding for Nefesh B’Nefesh on a trial basis.

In September 2008, the Israeli government officially recognized Nefesh B’Nefesh in a decision designed to enhance Aliyah from Western countries. A unanimous cabinet decision gave the authority to the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption to permanently fund one third of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s annual Aliyah-servicing budget. In February 2010, the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and Ministry of Development of the Negev and the Galilee agreed to intensify their partnerships with Nefesh B’Nefesh.

In May 2008, with the help of Nefesh B’Nefesh, a Knesset lobby was established to encourage Aliyah from western countries. The lobby aims to raise awareness of the unique needs of western Olim and further remove obstacles that they may face during the initial stages of their acclimation.

Cooperative Venture with the Jewish Agency

In September 2008, Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel reached an agreement which produced a collaborative venture for North American Aliyah.

The most significant implication of the new agreement is that North American Aliyah will now be processed through one application overseen by Nefesh B’Nefesh. Whereas in the past, new Olim had to open an Aliyah file with the Jewish Agency and then apply separately with Nefesh B’Nefesh for Aliyah services, the streamlined process provides a “one-stop shop” making it more time efficient and convenient for Olim.


In December 2006, Nefesh B'Nefesh brought its 10,000th Oleh to Israel on its 23rd Aliyah flight.

In December 2007, Nefesh B'Nefesh welcomed its 30th chartered flight to Israel.

In January 2008, Nefesh B'Nefesh, in conjunction with the Legacy Foundation, announced provision of significant fellowship grants for physicians making Aliyah in order to help counteract a projected shortage of physicians in Israel.

In August 2008, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and Nefesh B'Nefesh created a “one-stop Aliyah shop” designed to streamline the Aliyah process and make it easier for Olim. Under the new “Collaborative Venture” Nefesh B'Nefesh are the primary source responsible for marketing and promoting the concept of Aliyah to Jews in North America. JAFI is responsible for the Aliyah eligibility process with the appropriate authorities in Israel.

In the summer of 2008, Nefesh B'Nefesh announced the arrival of its 16,000th oleh.[5]. Nefesh B'Nefesh charters its aliyah flights with EL AL Airlines, Israel's official airline.

In September, 2009, Erez Halfon became Vice Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh. Prior to joining Nefesh B’Nefesh, Halfon served as Director General of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption from 2006 to 2008.

In December 2010, Nefesh B’Nefesh celebrated assisting its 25,000th Oleh.

By the end of summer 2011, Nefesh B'Nefesh will have brought over 30,000 Olim from the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Aliyah Support Services Provided by Nefesh B'Nefesh

Financial Aid

Nefesh B’Nefesh provides financial aid to eligible Aliyah candidates in order to help defray some of the relocation costs.

Group Aliyah Flights

Nefesh B'Nefesh provides chartered and group Aliyah flights.

Government Advocacy Services

Nefesh B'Nefesh provides assistance with Israeli bureaucratic procedures and helps Olim overcome language and cultural gaps. The Government Advocacy Department works with governmental and institutional bodies, such as the Ministries of Interior and Immigrant Absorption. The Government Advocacy Department provides information for Olim, such as guides for dealing with government offices and agencies, and information regarding benefits.

Employment Services

Nefesh B’Nefesh assists Olim in searching for jobs. It provides pre- and post- Aliyah employment counseling sessions and matches Olim with professionals in their field, assists in tailoring resumes to the Israeli market, provides information about job retraining, and offers guidance in starting businesses. In addition, the Employment Department lobbies on behalf of various professions which require official licensing.

Social Services

Nefesh B’Nefesh maintains regular contact with Olim prior to Aliyah and after arrival in Israel. The organization conducts ongoing seminars and workshops, helps families identify suitable communities, and assists students in finding appropriate educational tracks. It also provides a supportive network for singles and retirees.

Social Services staff help to address the personal concerns of each Oleh prior to Aliyah and for some time afterwards.

Special Programs

Nefesh B'Nefesh runs several special programs: Soldier Aliyah Fund, Go North Program and Physician Aliyah Fellowship Program.

Overseas Programming

Nefesh B’Nefesh conducts pre-Aliyah informational seminars throughout North America and the UK, throughout the year. The seminars cover the technical aspects of making Aliyah and finding employment in Israel as well as the emotional implications of the move.

Call Center

Nefesh B’Nefesh has an in-house call center, which operates as a resource for technical information about Aliyah. You can reach the call center by phoning (in the U.S.) 1-866-4-ALIYAH or 0800-075-7200 (in the U.K.).

Business Directory

Nefesh B'Nefesh operates an online business directory to assist the English speaking community in Israel. Over 2,000 businesses have joined the directory. See:

Nefesh B’Nefesh's logo, which depicts a picture of a family holding hands, reflects Nefesh B'Nefesh's goal to assist North American Jews to return to Israel by helping them through the process. [1]. Some believe that the logo reflects Nefesh B'Nefesh's initial focus on assisting families who immigrate to Israel.[2] More recently, Nefesh B'Nefesh has worked to improve its services to other demographics, including students and singles.[3]

Hanukkah Flash Mob

In 2009 Nefesh B'Nefesh produced a Hanukkah Flash Mob viral video that became a major success, registering over 1 million views on YouTube.[4] The mob assembled on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street and was choreographed by new immigrant Marvin Casey [5] to a Chanukah song by JibJab.[6] The mob danced to “Hanukkah Hey Ya,” Schwartz’s Chanukah spoof of a chart-topping 2003 OutKast song, “Hey Ya!.” The song was made into a popular e-card in 2004.[7] See it here. [8]

Nefesh B'Nefesh Website

The Nefesh B'Nefesh website includes an online application for Nefesh B'Nefesh assistance and Jewish Agency Aliyah approval. It also includes the Aliyahpedia, which is a comprehensive collection of articles about Aliyah, helping readers learn about Israeli communities, schools, employment, financial planning and Aliyah rights. The website offers additional resources such as an online calendar of events and a library of taped seminars.


  1. ^ Nefesh B'Nefesh's mission statement
  2. ^ article on orthodox union website emphasizing Nefesh B'Nefesh's Family focus
  3. ^ Nefesh B'Nefesh offers services directed to students and singles
  4. ^
  5. ^ Feeling the beat, By YAEL BRYGEL, Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2009 [1]
  6. ^ December 1, 2009, Smooth-E’s Jewtronic Music-Making, By Ryan Torok, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, [2]
  7. ^ December 1, 2009 Smooth-E’s Jewtronic Music-Making, By Ryan Torok, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, [3]
  8. ^ [4]

External links

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