The Pelta family gathers together at New York’s JFK Airport shortly before making Aliyah to Israel with Nefesh B’Nefesh. PHOTO / Shahar Azran

The Pelta family gathers together at New York’s JFK Airport shortly before making Aliyah to Israel with Nefesh B’Nefesh. PHOTO / Shahar Azran

SPECIAL FOR THE AJT

It was a first and Jews from Atlanta were part of the experience. Earlier this month, Nefesh B’Nefesh’s first-ever “Children’s Aliyah Flight” took off for Israel with 231 North American Olim (new immigrants), including 41 families and 106 children – a record.

“The USA is where I was born, but it is not home,” said Arie Pelta of Atlanta. “We have been trying to get home all of these centuries. I can proudly say the Pelta’s are finally going home to Israel with 7 children (Ayelet, Moshe, Shalom, Rachel, Yehuda, Elisheva and Avigayil. Oh, their mom, Alyssa Pelta, will also be along for the trip. “Instead of a tailor, I am bringing my skills as a specialized surgeon to help care for my fellow people in Israel.”

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This year, nearly 1,000 youngsters from the U.S. and Canada are expected to make Aliyah to Israel with Nefesh B’Nefesh. This is an increase of 20 percent compared to 2012, when 822 children made Aliyah.

This summer’s flight got off the ground with the cooperation of Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Kayemeth L’Israel and JNF.

In addition to the Pelta family, other metro Atlantans making Aliyah include: Michael Pierce, 56, from Centerville, who is moving to Tel Aviv; Oti Ribak, 17 from Alpharetta; Shlomo Pinkus, 29 and his wife Elisheva, 28, from Atlanta, along with their children Yaakov, 1, Baruch, 3, Aliza 4, Tehilla, 6, who are moving to Karmiel; and Arie Pelta,39 and his wife Alyssa, 35 from Atlanta, along with their children Ayelet, infant, Moshe, 1, Shalom, 3, Rachel, 5, Yehuda, 9, Elisheva, 10 and Avigayil, 11, who will be moving to Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Nefesh B’Nefesh is celebrating its 11th anniversary this summer, marking over a decade since its inaugural charter Aliyah flight in 2002.

“As we welcome our 35,000th Oleh, it is exciting to see so many children among the Zionistic modern day pioneers who are helping to build and secure the future of the State of Israel”, said Co-Founder and Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Tony Gelbart. “This new generation is joining young adults volunteering for the IDF and Olim moving to Israel’s North and South to help strengthen the periphery, to infuse the country with renewed passion and idealism.”

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