My name is Nechama Levy. I love Israel and always wanted to make Aliyah. But truth be told, it was not easy. And I had it better than most because I was married to an Israeli, who had a large family network, and I spoke some Hebrew. And yet I still found it difficult to leave everything in the US and start a new life. The culture is different. The mentality is different. The bureaucracy is different. I had to say goodbye to the conveniences and customer service of America.
I ultimately adjusted, but the challenges of Aliyah made me particularly sensitive to Olim, and fueled my need to help them. I became a walking Olim center, offering help and directing Olim to professionals. One Olah needed help placing her special needs daughter in the right school. Another wanted to know where to shop, or how to get a lawyer to look over a new lease.
Most of the people I assisted stayed in Israel. However, I witnessed many Olim give up, and move back to their countries of origin. This was a true loss for Israel and Jerusalem given that many Olim are highly educated professionals.
Over time, after helping so many, an unsettling reality dawned on me: Israel’s system for integrating new Olim is deeply flawed. I commissioned the first in-depth study on post-Aliya in Jerusalem to find out where the problems are. The result of the research shows that too many Olim feel they have no support when they arrive; many are unaware of the services available to them, and don’t know how to navigate the Israeli system.
That’s why I decided establish ALYNU. Every new immigrant deserves a helping hand and a fair chance to successfully establish a life in Israel. I’ve recruited passionate volunteers to mentor and provide guidance to each new immigrant. Our vision is to set up a state of the art Olim Center, starting with Jerusalem, to provide a “home” for every person trying to make their lives in Israel.
Making Aliyah with a child with special needs, and no Hebrew, is not for the faint of heart. Nechama helped us win the battle to have our daughter enrolled in a regular school, and get extra help for her. We firmly believe in the “inclusion” education model instead of segregating kids on the spectrum in separate schools. Nechama became my translator, navigator, and soldier, as we went from meeting to meeting in the Israeli educational system.
I also had dreams of bringing my successful organization, JIC, from NY to Israel. However, where do you start when you don’t speak the language, and you don’t know the system? Nechama helped me launch the Israeli branch, and we partnered on events that aimed to bring young Jews together. Nechama helped me with the language, with her vision, resources and knowledge of the bureaucracy. Without Nechama, I may have given up on Aliyah and returned to New York.
Made Aliya 2014
I have known Nechama for the past 6 years. During that time she has not only welcomed me to a new shul, where for the first time, I felt a sense of community, but [Nechama] also answered so many of my Aliyah questions. Nechama leads her Alynu team with an innate sense of compassion and tireless desire to reach out to Olim. Not only does Nechama have the ability to see what’s needed, she and her team make things happen.
Made Aliya 1998
I am convinced I would not have survived the challenges of making Aliya without the help of Nechama. She helped me establish my EFT practice in Jerusalem, informed me of resources I didn’t know existed for Olim, and introduced me to a new community in Jerusalem that welcomed me. Nechama was there for me every step of the way.
EFT Master Trainer
Made Aliya 2017
Nechama and the Alynu team were instrumental in helping me find my voice and confidence after I made Aliyah. They lent me a helping hand, and acted as a wonderful sounding board as I set my new career goals. Their support was unwavering and invaluable.
Made Aliya 2017
I am incredibly grateful to Nechama and Alynu for their help. From the minute I landed in Israel, I felt very vulnerable. Nechama and her team helped answer so many of my questions, making me feel safe. They played a critical role in helping me open my business, from setting up the financial aspects to connecting me with clients.
Made Aliya 2018
The advice and support that Nechama and Alynu gave my family at every stage of our Aliyah, from the pilot trip to a year afterward, was indispensable. She made us feel like living in Israel was not only possible but within reach; as if each issue we would encounter could be solved with some friendly support and creative thinking. She helped us sign our kids up for the right school by sending us directly to the appropriate person in the Ministry of Education. When it came to any health issues, Alynu provided guidance in finding great doctors. And most importantly, Alynu continues to introduce us to new people in our community, and inform us about regular events in the community, even during Covid-19 restrictions. All of this made us feel as a family; less like we’d landed in a foreign country, and more like we’d come home.
Made Aliya 2020
I was introduced to the most amazing people through Alynu, making my aliyah experience so much smoother than I expected. Alynu provided a support system and a family to guide me through various steps of the aliyah process.
Made Aliya 2018
I wouldn’t be where I am today without Nechama. I don’t just mean professionally, but also personally. She helped me jump start my career in Israel, and get the work experience I was lacking when I first arrived.
Nechama, in particular, took me in like family, introduced me to her social circle, and supported my family through very hard times when my young son was in the hospital for a month. Alynu is so successful because of Nechama’s personal example of dedication, caring, and unrelenting will to do what it takes to help Olim make a home here in Israel.
Made Aliya in 2014
We made Aliyah in August 2015 from the United Kingdom. Our knowledge of Hebrew was very limited, and although the Jewish agency was very helpful in arranging our initial papers and flight arrangements to Israel, once we arrived we were more or less left on our own. There were numerous things that we needed to do. For example: get our Israeli passports, registering for electricity, gas, arranging our telephones and WiFi service, driver’s license, medical insurance etc.
Luckily, we know Nechama Levy – the founder and director of Alynu. She speaks Hebrew fluently and guided us in arranging all of the above, including taking us to government agencies, and helping us fill out paperwork. We would not have managed without Nechama and Alynu.
Pam and Jerry Shatzkes
Made Aliya in 2015