The 34 sets of parents and 18 single adults aboard a flight last week from New York’s JFK Airport to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel had few qualms about making aliyah. For many, including former Baltimorean Hana Lowenstein who made aliyah with her husband and their four boys, it’s been a long time coming. Lowentstein, the daughter of former Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, has been dreaming of aliyah since childhood.
As Mid-Atlantic Media Senior Editorial Director Joshua Runyan reports in this week’s cover story on the latest Nefesh B’Nefesh cohort to relocate to the Jewish state, Lieberman remembers his daughter asking boys on their first date if they would be willing to make aliyah one day.
Shahar Bezherano, who just graduated from Walker Johnson High School in Bethesda and has left her family behind to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, shares Lowentstein’s lifelong interest in aliyah. She said it felt right, adding that the increased threat of violence from Gaza only made her want to go to Israel more. “I can’t stand on the sides,” she told the JT.
Nefesh B’Nefesh cofounder and Executive Director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass noted that more than 1,200 single adults are making aliyah through his organization this year, a change from the family-oriented demographics of the past. He thinks it’s the result of strengthened identity, whether reinforced on Birthright trips or bolstered by the challenges Jewish students often face on campus. Check out the cover story for more on this shift.
Back in the U.S., a cohort of Baltimore-area athletes and artists are prepping for the 36th Maccabi Games, which will be held at the Merage JCC in Irvine, California, and the Maccabi ArtsFest, which will be held at the Alpert JCC in Long Beach. As you’ll read in this week’s story about the games by Susan C. Ingram, the competition connects participants with Jews of different levels of observance and new friends from around the world. In Baltimore, teens also take part in two community service projects ahead of the games, a requirement of their participation.
Speaking of giving back, 98-year-old Julian Hyman is hoping to inspire others with his new book “U Can Save Our World.” A world traveler, Hyman used his global perspective to write about what he thinks people can do for a better future, as you’ll read in a story by Erica Rimlinger. He’ll be signing his book in Hunt Valley on Saturday.
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