There were so many amazing and awe-inspiring moments yesterday at the Nefesh B’Nefesh arrival ceremony. But the one that was the most inspirational for me was to watch my oldest son, Matan, with his Israeli friends. Matan arrived in Israel at the age of four.
|Here is Matan waiting to board the flight to Israel! (July 13, 2004)|
At our Nefesh B’Nefesh ceremony, he befriended a soldier and refused to get out of his arms. And I mean for hours. He stayed with the soldier, smiling, through the entire arrival ceremony. I have often thought about how fun it would be to find this soldier, and to tell him what a big impression he made on Matan (and how many years of laughs it has provided for us).
Yesterday, Matan came to the ceremony with friends to help in the process at the airport (moving the mountains of luggage and escorting new olim to their waiting cabs). Most of his friends didn’t even know what Nefesh B’Nefesh was. As we waited for the first van to arrive, bringing the Olim from the plane that had just landed, I turned around to find Matan and his friends dancing and singing imbued with the spirit of modern Zionism. Matan was high on another kid’s shoulders as they excitedly waited to greet the Olim and to share in the joy of Aliyah.
I thought to myself – that’s my little boy, the one who arrived here without a word of Hebrew. He never once complained during the entire year in four year old nursery school that he didn’t know what was going on. And today, that four year old is a 15 year old fully Israeli teenager, bringing his friends to the arrival ceremony and dancing and singing to welcome other new Olim to their home.
If you’ve ever wanted to imbue your kids with a true sense of Zionism, of the promises of the Jewish people being fulfilled in our time – bring them to a Nefesh B’Nefesh arrival ceremony. There is nothing like it in the world.
Where else in the world is the airport packed with people blowing shofars, yelling for their friends, and dancing in the aisles to meet and greet new immigrants? Where else are people throwing candy and delivering packages to kids as they arrive, while people dance the new arrivals through the doors to the airport? This is Zionism alive and well, with the help of Nefesh B’Nefesh, in our day.
Be part of it. It’s simply amazing.