NEW YORK (Aug. 1)
One hundred and forty American Jews, from 12 states, the largest group to emigrate to Israel at one time since 1983, left last night from JFK Airport on an El Al flight.
Twenty-five families, including many small children, and 16 single young adults, jammed the third floor lounge of the El Al terminal to bid goodbye to families and friends and to be briefed on what to expect upon their arrival in Israel.
Chaim Shine, director of the Israel Aliya Center, told the new immigrants, “We at the Israel Aliya Center are so proud of all of you. Despite the economic crisis in Israel, you have chosen to make aliya now. And by your very numbers, you are an inspiration to others who may be considering the option of aliya. We know that you will succeed in Israel.”
Earlier, at the check-in area, as skycaps streamed into the terminal bearing carts piled high with suitcases and huge cartons, and young children scrambled about playing with balloons given them as they entered the terminal, some of their parents and others expressed strong sentiments concerning their impending aliya.
Michael Brand, a businessman from Queens, who is emigrating with his wife and three young sons, explained that the family is following a religious injunction in making aliya and that they are also doing so “for the children”.
Olga Sanders, who is emigrating with nine other family members, and had flown in during the afternoon from San Francisco, was observed dashing through the terminal to respond to a telephone page: “It was my best friend calling from California,” she reported. “It suddenly dawned on her that she won’t see me for a long time … she’ll have to come to Israel.”
David Miller, a journalist from Houston, said: “I hope to use my professional skills to counter anti-Israel attitudes in the media.”
In commenting on the evening’s events, Shine stated, “We at the Israel Aliya Center view the departure of such a large group of Olim as the beginning of a significant trend of increased aliya.”