Nefesh B'Nefesh Opens New Offices on Both YU Campuses
There has been a close, long-standing relationship between Nefesh B’Nefesh and YU. In September 2016, NBN and YU joined forces, appointing a new Young Professionals Advisor on the Wilf Campus.
Recognizing the need for more face-to-face, personalized support for students and young professionals who are considering Aliyah, Nefesh B’Nefesh hired Ezra Kapetansky, a recent Sy Syms graduate for the position, who is on the path to making Aliyah himself. Recently, Nefesh B'Nefesh opened offices on both campuses to facilitate Aliyah planning. The new offices were created in response to the increase in Aliyah in the 18-25 age bracket, especially among YU alumni. In fact, YU boasts a high number of alumni making Aliyah – over 1200 since NBN’s founding in 2002. The new offices are located in Furst Hall, Room 422 on the Wilf campus, in the Center for the Jewish Future and on the 5th floor of the 215 Lexington Avenue building, in the Beren Campus Career Center. Mr. Kapetansky is the only NBN advisor based solely in New York City.
"Throughout my years in YU, I held a passion to make Aliyah, a passion I saw among many of my peers," said Mr. Kapetansky. "I believe I can identify with the challenges that students face here in creating a strategy for Aliyah, as I myself have experienced them and can therefore assist in building their own successful plan."
Mr. Kapetansky, the Young Professionals Advisor, meets one-on-one with students and young professionals to begin designing their Aliyah process and works with the Nefesh B'Nefesh overseas programming team to organize events on college campuses and young communities. He provides counsel and resources to those planning Aliyah in the very near future as well as those who are looking for guidance to map out a long-term Aliyah plan.
Eitan Lipsky, a second-year student at YU, said "although I feel it is premature in my college career to make Aliyah now, I do hope to make Aliyah later, and look forward to taking advantage of the guidance offered at the new Nefesh B'Nefesh offices."
Mr. Kapetansky said, “it’s never too early to start a dialogue about Aliyah. My goal isn’t to get everyone to make Aliyah. My goal is to get people thinking to themselves, ‘Hey, at one point or another I’ve thought about the idea of living in Israel; let me do some research to see if Israel is a viable future for me.’ We live in an age of Aliyah by choice, and in order to experience the choice, you have to understand the options.”
Mr. Kapetansky recently formed an online group forum on Facebook called “Aliyah Young Professionals Network” where Aliyah-minded individuals can connect and share information and ideas. There, he hosts a Facebook Live web series where Israeli-American young professionals across industries share their Aliyah stories and offer advice about entering their respective job markets.
Jacob Pesachov, a recent YU graduate who made Aliyah and is now studying medicine at the Technion University, regretted not having the opportunity of a Nefesh B'Nefesh office on campus. "Given that I spent my gap year in central Israel, like many other students at YU, it would have been greatly beneficial to learn about Oleh and Israeli life outside of the central hub." Mr. Pesachov continued: "there is a world of opportunities that exists outside central Israel, such as Haifa, where I now attend school, and I wish I could have known more about the social and religious environment in Haifa.
“Having an available office at YU would've supplied me with answers not just about educational or professional opportunities throughout Israel, but also religious and social aspects of Israeli life outside of the popular central hub,” he said.
Yeshiva University already features a prominent Israel Club, which promotes Israel and educates students about Israeli politics, culture, and social environment. The Israel Club has co-sponsored many events with Nefesh B'Nefesh and may now be able to work even closer with them. Tamar Shiller, a Stern College senior and a President of the Israel Club, said "The Nefesh B'Nefesh office only enhances what the Israel Club does on campus and helps us increase our impact on the greater YU community. I see Nefesh B'Nefesh as a true ally and I think that by working together we can make a long lasting impression here at YU."
Image credit: Ezra Kapetansky's Linkedin