The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, September 08, 2008
Scenes From JFK Prior to Nefesh B'Nefesh Charter
There was no Jbloggers convention at JFK yesterday, but there were 235 North American Jews (and at least four dogs) about to make aliyah.
Many years ago in The Jerusalem Report, writer Stuart Schoffman recalled that when he arrived in Israel upon making aliyah, the passport control agent exclaimed, "oleh chadash!?" - in shock that an American would do something so strange as voluntarily move to Israel.
That's what Nefesh B'Nefesh has changed. It used to be that you had to be a real die-hard Zionist to move to Israel. Zionism still helps, a lot. But now American aliyah is mainstream and lots of red tape has been removed from the process.
And that's how it felt at JFK yesterday. If not quite like a typical pre-flight (family members don't usually come to the airport for routine flights), watching 235 people move to Israel was almost ordinary. Not ordinary in a negative way - it is inspiring to see Jews returning to their land. But ordinary in the sense that this is now a normal decision, not really different from moving to a different part of the country.
Take-off was scheduled for 2 p.m. A few minutes before 1, with the new olim and their families lingering near the security metal detectors, Nefesh B'Nefesh announced that it was time for everyone to say goodbye.
And so the olim went their way to the start of their new lives in Israel, and those that remained rushed to the parking lot so as not to miss the start of their new NFL season.