Natan Sharansky Meets with 53 North American Olim as they Leave for Israel
Above: Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, center, congratulates Rabbi Simon (91) and Belle (84) Eckstein, parents of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, who are on their way to Israel among 53 OLIM (new immigrants), flying on the first of several group and charter flights this summer organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency.

May 24, 2011 / 20 Iyar 5771

Nefesh B'Nefesh-Jewish Agency flight carries 53 immigrants ranging in age from six months to 91 years old

Fifty-three North American immigrants (Olim) boarded a plane at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday on the final leg of their journey to becoming Israelis. They were met at the airport by Jewish Agency Chairman and former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who greeted and spoke to the Olim about their expectations from their new homeland.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky greets a group of OLIM
(new immigrants) at Newark International Airport who are making Aliyah to Israel.

The new Olim range in age from a six-month-old baby to the nonagenarian parents of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. It includes 11 families, 19 singles, a dog and a cat. The Olim hail from 10 American states and Canadian provinces and are destined to settle in almost as many Israeli towns and villages, including northern kibbutzim, Nahariya, Rehovot, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.

"It is profoundly inspiring to meet fellow Jews as they decide to make their lives in the land of Israel, where the Jewish people's history began and its future will be decided," said Sharansky. "These Olim demonstrate that it's never too late and never too early to close the 3,000-year circle and return home. You can do it at the age of six months and at the age of 91."

Rabbi Eckstein and his father with Natan Sharansky

In 2010, more than 20,000 Jews from around the world made Aliyah to Israel, among them, close to 4,000 from North America (the highest number of Olim since 1973). The Jewish Agency and Nefesh B'Nefesh work together in North America in providing support for the Olim throughout the Aliyah and absorption process. The flight to Israel is a benefit to the Olim provided by the Jewish Agency and organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh.


Press contacts:
Renana Levine
, 212-203-0071 /
Barry Spielman, 212-339-6069 /

Photo credit: David Karp



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24 May 2011 / 20 Iyar 5771 0