Tag: Nefesh B’ Nefesh

Philadelphia man celebrates 6th year of being “just about to make Aliyah”

Philadelphia man celebrates 6th year of "just about to make Aliyah" Daily FreierBy Mark Levy and Aaron Pomerantz

Last Updated 4/28/2017 at 3:30 PM

Bucks County, Pennsylvania: With Yom Haatzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) right around the corner, Israelis are celebrating another milestone: the 6th Anniversary of Philadelphia-area resident Jeremy S. being “just about to make Aliyah“. Jeremy, a 29-year-old technical writer and musician, has been “like almost ready” to make the return to Zion since attending a Matisyahu concert in April of 2011 “that like really changed the way I look at life“. The Daily Freier spoke with Jeremy about his on-again/off-again longing for Eretz Yisrael.

“So I’m still like super-stoked to do this.” Jeremy explained, as he ate lunch at a hummus place near Cherry Hill. “But at first it was like, Wait. The Army??? I don’t want to peel potatoes for three years. Maybe if I was promised Intelligence or something. But then there’s my Hebrew. And Ulpan just seems super hard and not really like focused on my needs, you know? Like my friend says it’s full of the French and Ukrainians. So maybe when a lot of Americans start to make Aliyah it will be better for me? I would even do a class with some Canadians.

Jeremy is already on his 3rd Aliyah Counselor, with his first Aliyah counselor rapidly approaching mandatory retirement age. Additionally, half of the people in his original planned Aliyah group have already integrated into society and become so Israeli that in the Spring of 2015 they moved to Berlin for economic reasons.

Jeremy’s Rabbi in suburban Philly has so far written six letters to the Israeli Government attesting to Jeremy’s membership in the Covenant of Abraham. Rabbi Stanley Green, of Congregation Agudath Israel, has become so exasperated with the process that for the latest request he simply took a sheet of Synagogue letterhead and scrawled with a pen “Not again! He’s still Jewish!

Jeremy’s gutsy almost-decision has affected his family as well. His mom Linda joined us via Skype after we helped explain “what all of the buttons on the computer do” and shared her concerns. “As a parent, you never stop worrying about your kids.” Linda explained. “So with the crazy situation over there in the Middle East, and Jeremy almost sort of moving there, well you can imagine my almost sort of anxiety. I’m just concerned that if Matisyahu’s band or those nice girls in A-WA tour the East Coast again this Summer, that Jeremy might take the next step and schedule another Aliyah appointment in Manhattan with Nefesh B’Nefesh. But I’m pretty sure Nefesh started screening his calls some time in 2014.”

Reaction to Jeremy’s slow-motion-Aliyah within the Greater Tel Aviv Community have been rather mixed. North Tel Aviv resident Mark S. explained. “So he subletted my apartment in July 2015 because he was ‘this close‘ to moving here for good.  And at the end he asked if he could leave a bag in my apartment because he was ‘like definitely making Aliyah after the High Holidays.‘ I guess the joke is on me because he didn’t specify the exact year of the High Holidays after which he would make Aliyah. Also I checked the bag last week and it contains parts of a tent, a tea set, a pair of drawstring linen trousers, some old vitamins, and spices from the Shuk.”

While Jeremy remains on the fence in terms of Aliyah, he has not allowed his cold feet to limit his social activism on behalf of the Almost Maybe Possible Future Olim Community. He started a Facebook group called “Keep Almost Olim Almost in Israel” dedicated to the unique needs and issues facing Almost Olim, to include the lack of support provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh for those who have been about to make Aliyah since Obama’s first term. Jeremy is also contemplating going onto Secret Tel Aviv and asking for future free stuff for when he becomes a Lone Soldier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fake passport ring busted after “American Oleh” brought no Ziploc bags back through Ben Gurion Airport

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

By Chava Ewa

Last Updated 3/1/2017 at 9:30 AM

Ben Gurion Airport: A passport counterfeiting ring based out of the city of Lod was taken down when a supposed recent immigrant (“Oleh Chadash”) exhibited suspicious behavior as he entered Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport after a trip to the United States. Israeli Customs Officer Yael Z. alerted security officials when she noticed something suspicious about a passenger who arrived at her window.His passport said he was an American Oleh” she said. “So I made my customary joke about having nothing to declare except deodorant and Ziplocs. He didn’t laugh. In fact, he looked confused…it’s like he didn’t know what Ziplocs were.  Also, he never complained that Nefesh B’Nefesh wasn’t helping him enough.

A search of the man’s bags revealed no deodorant, no Ziplocs and documents which identified him as Rami K., a 26-year-old Israeli man born and raised in Lod. Rami explained that the passport he had used was a counterfeit, bought from his brother’s friend Shuki. “My passport expired and I needed to travel to New York for my cousin’s wedding. Well…my cousin’s wedding and to get the new iPhone 7.” Rami explained. “Misrad Hapnim wanted 280 shekels for a passport but I knew that Shuki sells them for 160. Or 150 on Fridays just before Shabbat.

Shuki was arrested and his counterfeit passport operation was shut down. Rami served 14 days in jail for passport fraud and is still confused about the whole Ziploc thing. “The customs lady was kidding, right??” he asked. “I mean, it’s just freezer bags… people don’t bring those things from America, do they? That’s just ridiculous.”

Nefesh B’Nefesh brings first plane of post-election whiny Trustafarians to Israel

(TRIGGER WARNING! This article will hurt your feelings.)

By Yuval Weiss

Last Updated 12/6/2016 at 3:30 PM

Ben Gurion Airport, Israel: With the crushing news that in a nation of 300 Million people there is a chance that other people have different ideas than you, America’s progressive Jewish voices have been crying out. The Daily Freier sent its intrepid reporters to the finest Fair-Trade Food Co-Ops in Brooklyn to find out what the deal is.

This isn’t fair! I just can’t believe how racist Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio are! ” complained Aviva C. as she sifted through gluten-free pretzels. When the Daily Freier noted that each of these states voted for Barack Obama just 4 years ago, she countered “Well maybe it’s like adult-onset racism?

That’s it. I’m moving to Israel.” complained Danielle B. “I refuse to live in a country that would let a bombastic womanizing demagogue hold public office.

Others were more circumspect. “Like part of me wanted to stay and like Resist and stuff but I’m kinda scared.” explained Jesse T. as he set up chairs for tonight’s “#NotMyPresident” poetry slam benefit. “There’s just so much scary stuff. It’s almost as if  we need an Amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee each citizen the right to self-defense or something.

So with things heating up at home, and moving to Canada inexplicably not as easy as cancelling a gym membership, some in today’s Progressive Jewish Community are deciding to move to a country that they aren’t totally keen on but which is legally obligated to take in their tuchuses. So Nefesh B’Nefesh has been a bit busy, and triumphantly announced the arrival of the first plane in what is quickly being dubbed “The Trustafarian Aliyah”. Our intrepid reported Yuval managed to hitch a ride home on the flight, and boy does he have some stories to tell.

The flight almost did not take off after several Olim set off the metal detectors at JFK Airport because of all the safety pins they were wearing to show “that they were allies”. But the flight took off, and once they celiac/vegan/gluten issues with the meals got sorted out, the flight actually went quite smoothly.

But once everyone arrived at Ben Gurion, things really got good.  As the newest Israelis worked their way through their in-processing, the lady from the Jewish Agency who prints ‘Teudat Zeut’ National ID Cards reported that her computer had crashed from trying to process all of the hyphenated names and “Native American Spirit Animals” that the Olim insisted be added to their Cards. Additionally, the demand that the ID Cards list preferred pronouns and peanut allergies bogged down the process for several hours. Meanwhile, as the American Olim were being in-processed, a flight of Olim from the Ukraine arrived. Ben K., an actor and artisan beekeeper took the time to explain to a Ukrainian named Sasha that he was also fleeing violence and oppression. Sasha stared at him for a minute without speaking and then wandered off.

The Daily Freier decided to let our newest Israelis get situated, then checked back with the group a few days later. The Madrichim (Counselors) assigned to the team admitted that it was slow-going, but that they had made some progress in explaining that the public bomb shelters and fortified rooms in each building could actually be referred to as “Safe Spaces”. Then we reunited with Jesse from the Food Co-Op, who vented some of his feelings. “So things are alright I guess. But like what’s with all the military stuff? I mean, all these guns everywhere left me feeling… triggered.

Ulpan Hebrew language classes started yesterday as well. And Danielle from the Food Co-Op is totally not having it. “So what’s with the masculine and feminine nouns? I mean, would you like some hummus with your misogyny? Can’t we changed the Hebrew language?” (EDITOR’S NOTE: We wrote this as a joke…. then we read the Washington Post yesterday.) “And Don’t get me started on the Hebrew word for husband. This is NOT. OK.” When asked if she had a message for her new country, Danielle replied “I just want people here to know that I’m offended by everything.

On the bright side, things are looking up for Haaretz.

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“But I hooked up with a Golani!” American gentile woman pleads case for Aliyah

But I hooked up with a Golani(Sort of Based on a True Story, so we sort of changed the names! DM us for the real ones!)

By Emily Goldstein and Yuval Weiss

Last Updated 11/22/2016 at 8:00 PM

Tel Aviv, Savidor: Sincere fan of Israel and Israeli life “Alison” is bound and determined to make Aliyah, but as a Gentile in semi-good standing, she faces a very uphill fight. Yet Alison has never let small details get in the way of her goals. In fact, Alison is now on her way to the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’ Nefesh in Jerusalem to plead this case under her very unique reading of the Law of Return, specifically the “hands-on support” she provided to a certain lucky dude in the Israel Defense Force’s Golani Brigade off and on for most of last year.  The Daily Freier caught up with Alison at Savidor Bus Terminal as she prepared to take a bus to Jerusalem to present her case.

I honestly don’t know what the big deal is. I mean I love it here.  I really like Passover Seders. I love love love Purim. And besides, Nefesh B’Nefesh already decided to accept your Catholic friend from back home who everyone always thought was kinda Jewish anyway. So there’s like precedent and stuff. Also, I can’t wait to start an Aliyah Blog. Nobody ever does that. It will be unique!”

When the Daily Freier challenged Alison that Aliyah is a difficult task even for Jews and must be supported with documentation, she quickly looked us in the eye and cut us off mid-sentence. “Oh, I’ve earned this. Believe me….. I’ve earned this.

Meanwhile, the Golani soldier at the center of this case who we’ll call “Yonatan”, could not be reached as he was currently on hardship duty, chaperoning a Birthright trip through the Negev. Yet this case has already had dramatic repercussions beyond Golani to units throughout the IDF. Upon hearing of our heroine Alison’s travails, a spokesperson from the Paratroopers indicated that they have extended Liberty next weekend and will be around Tel Aviv by Thursday….plus they have better boots.

UPDATE: In an unexpected bit of good news, the clerk at the Jewish Agency who received Alison’s application also served in Golani so he fast-tracked her Aliyah package……And Oh by the Way, sent her a very…. personal photo…. via fax.

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American Oleh trapped in Ulpan Gordon for 7 Years

Jeff Schwartz 2By Yekutiel Bornstein and Aaron Pomerantz

Last Updated 9/27/2016 at 5:45 PM

Tel Aviv, LaSalle: Today the Daily Freier shares a story of setbacks, the Triumph of the Human Spirit, and an inability to memorize basic verb forms. Now entering his 8th year in Kita Bet, Oleh Not-So-Hadash Jeff S. is still unable to pass the end of course exam, and is thus trapped inside of the Ulpan Gordon Language School in Tel Aviv.  The Daily Freier spoke with Jeff during his 10 AM break.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong” wondered Jeff.  “It just feels like I’m in some sort of rut. I mean, my Hebrew hasn’t really improved since Obama’s first Term, but then again my conversational Russian and French are really getting good!”

Despite Jeff’s failings as a student, the dedicated faculty have not given up on him. When he finally mastered Past Tense Verbs last year, the teachers threw him a party. “It was kind of like a Bar Mitzvah.” explained Ulpan Gordon’s Principal, wiping away tears. “And when he made the Bracha on the wine, he was just as illiterate as he was back in 2009.

Unable to graduate and thus depart the premises, Jeff survives from day-to-day on the snack bar, occasional birthday cake, and emergency rations from the U.S. Embassy Citizens’ Services Section. Various Birthright tours passing through drop off messages from his family, as well as Hebrew flashcards.

The years of isolation have taken their toll on Jeff. He currently makes cultural reference from the 2000’s Decade, to include “Friendster“, “You’re Fired“, and “The OC“. He is currently unaware of Post-First Generation iPhones. His “Arrested Development” quotes are still funny though.

Jeff has become somewhat of an institution at Ulpan Gordon. His current teacher, Shirli, is in fact the daughter of his first teacher in 2009, Nava.  “B’zrat HaShem, some day my granddaughter or grandson will teach him.” mused Nava. Shirli also shared her mother’s affection for Jeff.  “He gets along really well with my family. My five-year old Uri adores him. But lately, Uri’s been expanding his vocabulary and finds their conversations somewhat limited and a bit boring.”

In addition to Jeff’s friendships with the faculty, he has managed to maintain somewhat of a social life as well. In 2010, Jeff dated, married, and got divorced from a French Olah in his class. Nava explained the situation to us. “We held the reception in the auditorium. We had soda, cake, and a slide show. It was actually quite tasteful.” In order to get all sides of the story, the Daily Freier contacted Joane, Jeff’s ex. “I really enjoyed class with Jeff. But he was never there for me to help around the house.”  explained Joane.

Many people wonder just how this tragedy has been allowed to go on so long. The Daily Freier contacted the Misrad HaKlitah (Ministry of Absorbtion) to find out. “Normally, recent immigrants are only granted 5 months of free Hebrew lessons.” explained Uzi, from the Front Desk. “But we really just want to see where this ends up. So every 5 months we extend his benefits.  We actually have a bit of a betting pool going.” Uzi then lowered his voice to a whisper and leaned in closer to us. “By the way, just curious, but when you saw him, was he able to name all of the Hebrew Vowels yet?”

The Daily Freier then contacted Nefesh B’Nefesh to demand answers on how they allowed this situation to continue.  A Dati Leumi woman from their Jerusalem Office named BatSheva or Elisheva or JustSheva answered our phone call. “Whenever an Oleh from North America stays here more than six months without moving back, we consider this a win.  So he’s really good for our statistics.”

UPDATE: The IDF mounted a clandestine operation this evening to rescue Jeff from Ulpan Gordon, as they have a Squad Leader position in their Olah Hadashah Code Talker Unit that needs to be filled.

 

 

 

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Canadian Olah curious about this “Alan” guy everyone mentions

anadian Olah curious about this mysterious "Alan" guy Daily Freier

By Mia Deych

Last Updated 6/29/2016 at 7:00 AM

Tel Aviv: Let’s be objective – Hebrew isn’t the easiest language to learn. For some reason, “table”(shul’chan) is a boy and “chair” (kisey) is a girl. Kind of sexist, don’t you think so? At the same time, “head” (rosh) is also a boy, but “stomach” (beten) is a girl. And then it’s time to conjugate….

However, the most captivating (and promising) word for new Canadian Olah Emily S. was “Alan”. In fact, Emily thought that Alan was a mysterious, powerful (and hopefully single!) Jew who owns all the bars and falafel kiosks in Tel Aviv.

No matter where you go, everyone’s greeting is ‘Alan’ which sounds more like ‘Ahla’, but maybe that’s just the accent. Who is that guy? Where can I find him?” wondered Emily, as she kept on wandering from one bar on Dizengoff street to another, until she decided to finally “ask for a friend” on Secret Tel Aviv.

After receiving 27 unrelated questions about a bus schedule on Shabbat, 56 friend requests and 116 messages offering to “Netflix and Chill” in Kfar Saba, she found out that “Ahalan” is just a greeting, meaning “Ugh, another customer is going to eat my brains, what the heck do you want from me?” (Mandatory Spoiler Alert: It actually  derives from the word for “Welcome” in Arabic. So entries in the comments section explaining our ignorance are unnecessary…..but still welcome!)

This newfound knowledge definitely didn’t make Emily’s Aliyah struggles any better and she has even started thinking of moving back to Canada. Keep Olim, Nefesh B’Neshesh and some random strangers from Allenby street have decided to help Emily, but they don’t know how. Therefore, we count on your wisdom, dear readers, to help Emily solve her dilemma.

Omar Barghouti asks Nefesh B’Nefesh for help with Residency Permit

Omar Barghouti

Buster Bluth

Loose Seal

By Yuval Weiss

Last Updated 5/14/2016 at 11:30 PM

Ramat Aviv: Qatari Boycott Divest and Sanctions mascot Omar Barghouti is in a bit of a conundrum lately, as the country he is trying to take down through lawfare apparently is not being terribly helpful with his travel permits. Barghouti, who is a PhD Candidate at Tel Aviv University when he is not trying to destroy the country that funds his education, has lately turned to Nefesh B’Nefesh to help straighten things out.  The Daily Freier got a copy of Barghouti’s letter to Nefesh B’Nefesh by pestering their receptionist for 30 minutes until she gave it to us if we would just go away.

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Greetings Facilitators of the Ongoing Illegal Occupation of the 1948 Territories,

I hope this letter finds you well.  I am writing your Entity because I hear that you know how to “grease the wheels” of the bureaucracy for Semites who wish to live here. So Please help. You’re a Semite. And I am also a Semite…. who dislikes certain other Semites. But that is neither here nor there. The Bottom Line is that my Inalienable Right to attend overseas conferences and be feted as the awesome guy that I am is being jeopardized.  Besides, Max Blumenthal owes me 30 Bucks and if I can catch up with him at the Berkeley Confab I am pretty sure I can collect. Anyhoo, hook me up. Because if I am not allowed to travel overseas it would be a total disaster. Or, you know, a Naqba.

Cordially,

Omar

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Reaction to Mr. Barghouti’s letter has been mixed, with some very strong opinions. Alert Local Ronit S. described her reaction. “Wow. The idea that a PhD Candidate at Tel Aviv University would seek to destroy the very State that is providing his education is a complete shock…. to anyone who has never been to Tel Aviv University.

Word on the street is that if Mr. Barghouti’s current plan doesn’t work, he will sneak in and out of the country on Birthright Tours.

American Woman Feared Missing After Failing to Start Blog Within 72 Hours of Aliyah

December_Charter_Flight(Photo Credit: Nefesh B’Nefesh)

By Mark Levy

Last Updated 3/31/2016 at 1:00 PM

Tel Aviv, Derech HaYarkon: The concerned family of an American Olah Hadashah flew to Israel early this morning after receiving no indication that their daughter Sarah had started a Blog about her life in Israel since arriving on Monday. Sarah, a recent graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, arrived on a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight and has yet to create an online platform to describe her interactions with the juice guy on the corner, how to buy fruit in the Shuk, or how silly the ‘newbies’ on the Birthright tour look.  Her parents, Leah and David P. of Lexington, Massachusetts, met with Consular Officials  before holding a joint press conference at the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv.

We’re just looking for a sign that she’s OK, like maybe a really, really, really long story about the kindly Russian-speaking grandmother who stopped to help her when she was lost and crying in Shuk HaCarmel before Shabbat.” said a despondent Leah P. “I’m not saying I would actually read it, but it would still be a relief.

I just wish she would do an “Only in Israel” entry like her Cousin Melissa always does on that Blog she writes.” stated her father. When The Daily Freier pressed David for details that would indicate such an entry, he admitted that he had never actually “read” any of Melissa’s entries, but rather subcontracted the task to Dylan, his 12 year old son. Dylan, who would read the entries and provide his father a typed “Cliff’s Notes” version suitable for feigning familiarity with the blog when Melissa Skyped them, was currently charging his dad $10 per Blog post or $15 in credit for Minecraft upgrades.

Dylan, who described his cousin Melissa’s Blog as “Lame“, “Stupid“, and “Eat, Pray, Love only whiter” vowed that if his sister was OK and started blogging, he would charge his dad “Like 20 Bucks or something” to read any of Sarah’s future entries.  Dylan smiled and turned to his father on the conference room podium.  “And every time she posts an entry that saysOMG breakfast in Israel is A-MA-ZING’ I’m charging an extra 5 Bucks….. 10 if she also Instagrams the food.”

UPDATE: A U.S. Embassy spokesperson happily announced that Sarah is alive and well and “hanging out at Mike’s Place”. The spokesperson went on to explain that Sarah failed to start a Blog because she was busy creating a new Facebook page dedicated to Israel Advocacy and pictures of her new life here to include documenting the coffee hafuch she purchased from Aroma yesterday, a guy on a bicycle walking 12 dogs on Ben Yehuda Street, and a matkot game on Metzitzim Beach.  Her relieved parents promised they would check it out.  But they were lying.

Oleh Hadash Realizes Every Item He Owns Was Found on the Sidewalk

IMG_3384

By Aaron Pomerantz

Last Updated 2/20/2016 at 12:20 PM

Tel Aviv, Kikar Rabin: Recent American immigrant Doron D. has just had an epiphany: every single piece of clothing, furniture, and kitchenware that he owns was found on the curb or the sidewalk, with the exception of his Yoga Mat, which he got for free off of Secret Tel Aviv.

As an Oleh Hadash, Doron feels as if his actions are in fact honoring his ancestors who lived off the land he walks today. When the Daily Freier asked him for an example, Doron described how he found his mattress. “So I was walking down Ibn Gavriol, and, there it was. Kinda used, but I’ve seen worse.  Usually I would be grossed out by the smell of pee. But then I thought about where I am and what I’m doing with my life, and I realized that this is the Jewish state and the Jewish people didn’t survive for three thousand years by turning up free crap they found on the street.

Despite his good fortune, Doron explained that his thrift has its drawbacks.  “So I had a girl over the other night for dinner and she saw the Osem cardboard display cases that I use as shelves in my living room. She asked me where I got them and I told her that I found them behind the Super Yuda store …..Then she took a cab home because she was tired and had to work in the morning.”

Sometimes Doron’s survival strategy works out in such a way as to create a public Mitzvah. “Somebody on Janglo was giving away a free guitar. So this other girl wanted the guitar because she is going off to study Hebrew at a Kibbutz up North, but I snagged it first.  She’s kinda upset, but I’ve heard her play.  Like EVERYONE on that Kibbutz should thank me. I mean EVERYBODY.

We had a bunch of other questions for Doron, but as we were walking he saw somebody across the street  putting an old denim jean jacket on a park bench and he left without saying goodbye.

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Olah Hadasha Offended that Mossad Agent Using Her UK Passport Wears Sidebangs with Frosted Tips

untitled2-1(Photo Credit: Our friends at the Dubai Police Department)

By Emily Goldstein, with Manu H.

Last Updated 1/24/2016 at 12:30 PM

Ramat Aviv- Recent immigrant Hannah G. is not happy. With the public disclosure that Mossad agents have been using the identities and altered passports of new arrivals from Western European nations, Hannah has learned that her United Kingdom passport has reportedly been used during an operation in a Gulf State. And to make matters worse, the alleged Mossad agent took certain fashion liberties in her passport photo that have left Hannah feeling violated and offended. “So in her passport photo, she somehow manages to wear a hairstyle that combines sidebangs AND frosted tips. Oh and her roots are showing.  I bet she chews her gum like REALLY REALLY loud. This is a nightmare. It’s as If I’ve had my identity stolen. By an Essex girl.

Hannah continued to vent about the ensemble that the un-named agent wore in a leaked hotel surveillance video. “And what she was wearing on the security video??? That blouse is a Hate Crime.”  When the Daily Freier asked Hannah if she also worried about the wider political fallout for ex-pats whose identity had been compromised, Hannah snapped back “I think we are all ignoring the real crime here. She looks ridiculous in that scarf. and SHES USING MY NAME!!!

While the last several days have been personally difficult for Hannah, there has been a silver lining. “On the up-side, I got pulled over for speeding on Ayalon Highway yesterday and the policemen looked at my ID, looked at me, looked at the ID again, gave a discreet salute, and walked off. No ticket! Yay!!

When asked if she had a message for the Mossad Agent who stole her identity, Hannah was adamant. “Hey! Y2K called and it wants its hairstyle back. And oh yeah. I’m judging you right now…..Literally!”