Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN), is the primary agency, other than the Jewish Agency, for North Americans wanting to make Aliyah. In fact, Nefesh B’Nefesh has had discussions with the government of Israel to be allowed to handle the actual immigration paper work for North America, a job only the Jewish Agency can do at the current time.
Nefesh B’Nefesh is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in Aliyah to Israel, whether serious or just curious. This agency provides help and information on: financial matters including giving financial assistance to those who qualify; group Aliyah flights; pre-Aliyah help in planning, pilot trips, and navigating the application process with the government of Israel; employment information and help; answers to questions on absorption – klitah; guidance and community resources; and a vast amount of online resources.
The place to start with NBN is their website at http://www.nbn.org.il/. From there, the range of services and information offered is staggering. The first stop you might want to make is the application page at http://www.nbn.org.il/application/application_choices.htm. From there you can download applications for the USA, Canada, and the UK. You will also find dates for when applications are due. Download you application and begin working on it right away, as it will take quite awhile to gather everything you need. While you are working on your application you can then spend time gaining information by browsing through the rest of the NBN site.
The first part of the application covers personal information such as who you are, parent’s names, children’s information, and your medical history/current information. Section 2 is Financial Planning. For this section you will need financial records, bank statements, loan statements, W2s and recent statement of income, and anything else that affects your finances. These will be taken to your accountant or CPA who must sign a financial affidavit. The planning part of this section is helpful in that it causes you to really look at what your expenses will be in moving and living.
Section 3 is a big one. This is you personal profile which is different than personal information in section 1. This section has questions about your: Jewishness; previous Israel experience; education; employment history and post aliyah employment plans; and requires you to answer a number of questions. These questions are: How long have you been considering making Aliyah? What (if any) family do you have in Israel? What (if any) other family members are considering Aliyah? List the four main reasons for your interest in making Aliyah. What do you see as your three biggest challenges once living in Israel? How would you address those challenges? What do you consider to be your strengths? List any stressful events you have experienced over the past two years.
Section 4 is the financial affidavit that goes with section 2. Section 5 asks for references; two local references and two Israeli references. Section 6 is a supporting essay. The instruction for that are: “Instructions: on a separate piece of paper, please provide any pertinent information that you believe will enhance your candidacy. Please describe yourself and be sure to highlight your reasons for making Aliyah as well as your post-Aliyah plans.” Section is the signature page and a disclaimer you will have to sign.
There are a number of documents that you will need to supply as well. Besides the completed application there are many other things to include. These are listed here:
1. Financial Affidavit (incl. your printed name, your
signature & the signature of your accountant).
2. Photo of each Oleh or one of entire family.
3. Application Fee ($36 USD or $50 CAD).
4. One original and one copy of application,
including all supplementary documentation.
5. Three identical, official passport photos of
each Oleh over 16. Please write name of
Oleh on back of each photo.
6. One photocopy of each Oleh's passport.
7. Copy of certificate of civil marriage, divorce,
or death, as applicable.
8. Copy of each Oleh's birth certificate.
9. Copy of a letter from your rabbi, or
conversion certificate and letter from
applicant, as applicable.
10. One letter of recommendation.
11. Supporting Statement.
As you can see, the NBN application process isn’t something you can do in an hour or two. It takes time and thought. Besides the completed application there is one other things that is required. That is a pilot trip to Israel for both husband and wife, or just yourself if you are single. NBN has information and people who can help you plan your pilot trip to get the most out of it.
NBN is in the business of encouraging successful aliyah and not failure. Even though their application process is lengthy with a lot of requirements, their success rate of helping make a successful aliyah is close to 100%. The application process is in itself a journey that helps prepare you for immigration to your new home.