North American Impact on Israel

by | Aug 16, 2012 | What’s Happening

Sunday, Sept. 9, 11 am

For the past year, Jenilee Bader-Ben Shimon regularly has visited the website of Nefesh B’Nefesh, the nonprofit agency that assists in the process of North Americans seeking to make aliyah (immigration to Israel).

Bader Ben-Shimon looked, learned, and spent countless hours trying to familiarize herself with the steps involved and the help that’s available in turning her dream of moving to Israel a reality.

When the 58-year-old Virginia Beach resident heard that Ari Schuchman, director of Overseas Programs for Nefesh B’Nefesh would be speaking at Congregation Beth Chaverim, she was elated.

“Nefesh B’Nefesh gives insight to that person who wants to go to Israel deep, deep down, but maybe is a little afraid,” the retired Navy Chief explains.

“Going on the website has made me feel comfortable with my decision. Nefesh B’Nefesh is like my personal support attachment was in the military, but I’m so excited to finally be able to speak with someone who’s not on a computer, but in person. And I may not be the only one who needs to speak to a real person—there may be other people in our community who are seriously considering doing this, too.”

Someone very close to Bader-Ben Shimon did make aliyah recently—her 28-year-old son David. A dancer with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, David told his mother of his decision in a phone conversation during which she was revealing her thoughts about moving.

“I told him, ‘I’m thinking of making Aliyah,’” Bader-Ben Shimon recalls, “and he told me, ‘I’m in the process, with this group called Nefesh B’Nefesh!’”

David Ben-Shimon, 28, became an Israeli in September. His mother says she feels a calmness in him that she’s never felt before, and when she visited him at the kibbutz in June, she said she felt like both he, and she were home. She’s moving to Israel not to retire from her job as a recreation specialist with the city of Virginia Beach she says, but to give back—in whatever ways she can.

Nefesh B’Nefesh is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The organization, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel, provides olim (immigrants to Israel) with the resources and support they’ll need to find jobs, housing and to become integrated into Israeli society.

A Times of Israel news story reported that 350 olim were welcomed at Ben Gurion Airport last week and that by the end of the year, more than 4,800 American, Canadian and British Jews are expected to make aliyah.

Ari Shuchman’s appearance is presented by the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater in partnership with Congregation Beth Chaverim.

RSVP by Sept. 5 to For questions about this program and other CRC initiatives, contact Robin Mancoll, CRC director at

by Laine M. Rutherford