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August 21, 2013 9:28 am

New Olim Receive Identity Documents in Jerusalem

avatar by Maxine Dovere / JNS.org

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A group of 125 future Israelis at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, before they depart for their Nefesh B'Nefesh aliyah flight. Photo: Shahar Azran.

JNS.org – JERUSALEM – Some 40 hours after landing in Israel last week, many of the new olim who arrived on the 50th flight chartered by the Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah organization gathered in Jerusalem on Aug. 15 to claim the teudat zehut, their official Israel identity card.

Zev Gershinsky, director of government relations for Nefesh B’Nefesh, smiled widely as he helped complete the documentation for Adina Cherk’s teudat zehut. Cherk, a former Phoenix, Ariz., resident, told JNS.org she had come to Israel to attend a seminary program “to learn more to get closer to Judaism and to get closer to myself.” She described the experience of aliyah with enthusiasm, saying, “If you are going to make aliyah, do it with Nefesh B’Nefesh. They are biggest help in getting you through the whole process.“

Rabbi Arnold Fine and wife of 51 years, Debbie, came to Israel from Canada.

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“We just felt it was the right time. If not now when?” Debbie toldJNS.org.

Shmuel Grill—”Gimel-Reish-Yud-Lamed” he announced with pride, spelling his last name in Hebrew letter—was seen speaking with a representative of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The former Long Beach, NY, resident and future IDF soldier, asked why he had chosen to serve in the army, told JNS.org, “It’s my home, my country—because I am a Jew.”

Yale University graduate Jessie Oppenheimer’s smile was radiant as she received her teudat zehut. She is awaiting confirmation of her acceptance to a program combining medical school and army service. The 12-year contract includes a commitment of five years of national service. “Everybody tells me I’m crazy, but I’m so excited!” she told JNS.org.

The Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah flight was organized in cooperation with the Friends of the IDF (FIDF), Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, and Tzofim Garin Tzabar.

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