Jerusalem, Israel - Nov. 16, 2021 — Nefesh B’Nefesh officially opened the doors to its new, state-of-the-art Aliyah campus in Jerusalem on Monday night with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in the presence of President of Israel Isaac Herzog, Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata, Israel Chief Rabbi David Lau and his father Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Natan Sharansky, Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart, as well as additional dignitaries and friends of the organization and Fass family members.
Twenty years since its founding, Nefesh B’Nefesh celebrated the inauguration of its state-of-the-art Aliyah Campus opposite the Supreme Court in the Government Quarter of Jerusalem next to the Jerusalem Cinema City. Aside from the office floor, the building has multiple outdoor and indoor spaces for a host of Aliyah-related event programming. Additionally, the Campus includes a conference hall, meeting rooms, and a multimedia presentation center with useable outdoor spaces.
In his address, President Herzog shared: “I believe that the growth of this organization is vital for the story of Aliyah from all over the world and the story of Aliyah from the United States. Aliyah nowadays requires something else. In many ways, you need a custom-made Aliyah.
“We can reach 100,000 Olim a year if only we want to and if we move ahead with a grand plan, whereby we can bring half a million Olim to Israel within five years and change the State of Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish People, in a very dramatic way.” the President added.
"The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration has special partners, such as Nefesh B’Nefesh, with who we work together to encourage immigration to Israel. I congratulate Nefesh B’Nefesh on the move to their new headquarters in Jerusalem,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata. “We will continue our fruitful cooperation that has led to a significant increase in the processing of immigration files and the number of Olim who have arrived in Israel in recent years.”
“We are truly grateful to all those who were involved in making our new campus a reality. Our permanent home in Jerusalem opens endless possibilities of expanding our Aliyah services and initiating new projects,” said Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. “Nefesh B’Nefesh has strived for the past 20 years to make Olim feel welcome in Israel and help them become an integral part of the Jewish State. Our Aliyah campus is yet another resource that will aid us in making these Aliyah dreams come true.”
At the end of the program before singing Hatikvah, Rabbi Fass presented his partner and new Oleh Tony Gelbert with his Israeli document.
The central motif of the structure’s design is the desire to highlight the significance of modern Zionism and Aliyah while serving as a welcoming environment for all those being hosted in the building. Upon entering, new Olim (immigrants), visitors, and staff encounter an office space and Aliyah Center that is a combination of enhanced technological systems and warm surroundings. The grounds for the campus were generously allocated by the Jerusalem Municipality.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennet and Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion sent remarks by video. Lion said in his message: “I am so pleased to welcome Nefesh B'Nefesh to their new permanent campus. We have worked together in recent years to find the most suitable home for this all-important organization. Nefesh B'Nefesh works all year round on behalf of Israel and Jerusalem and does a wonderful job with the young people of the Diaspora, serving as a link connecting the city to its Olim. I believe and hope that in the coming years more and more Olim will choose to establish their place of residence here in the capital of Israel.”
Green passes were required to invited guests. The food was served outside, but seated in the large hall for the official program masks were requested and worn by most participants.
The impressive gift boxes to take home were filled with food products from five Israeli companies of Olim.