Thousands of Jewish people around the world are fulfilling End Times prophesy by making “Aliyah” – the Hebrew word meaning “going” up, or immigrating to Israel.
On an annual basis, thousands of Jewish people from every corner of the Earth are resettling in Israel – even though the transition is often difficult, but they are often the recipients of assistance along the way.
The Bible indicates that in the Last Days, the Jewish people will return in droves to unite in their homeland after being dispersed around the world for two millennia.
Answering the call to go home
Neal Brinn, a Jewish American, made Aliyah with his family back to Israel after serving 20 years with the United States Navy.
"The highest position I had was the commanding officer of the U.S. warship, the USS Carter Hall, which was an amphibious ship about 200 meters long," Brinn told CBN News.
Today, the 20-year veteran lives in a religious neighborhood in Jerusalem with his wife, Shoshanna, and their four children. Even though many believe that Brinn and his family made a great sacrifice to move from the comforts in the West to live in the war-torn Middle East, the young family insists that they are now truly home.
Leaving the luxury of living in America, Brinn found himself living a quite different lifestyle in Israel. Without a car, Brinn spent the entire summer accompanying his four-year-old twins on a bus to public school.
"We do have a car," Brin mused. "It's got four wheels; it's got one seat. Only one person can sit in it and that's Yudi, who's five months old. The propulsion system is human legs attached to arms. It's a stroller. That's our car. It holds everything we need. If we need to go shopping, we can take it everywhere, even up the steps."
Less than a decade ago, Brinn began taking his Jewish heritage more seriously.
“About eight years ago, Brinn's life took on major changes,” CBN News’ Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl – who work out of the Christian organization’s Jerusalem bureau – reported. “He became more religious, met Shoshanna and married. They knew they would come to Israel at some point; they just didn't know when.”
While in the Navy, Brinn went back-and-forth as to whether he would stay 20 or 30 years … keeping in mind that an additional 10 years would prove to be more financially rewarding – but a decade would make the transition more difficult for his children.
"For staying 30 years, I'd make 2.4 more times retirement pay every month, which is a tremendous difference," the Jewish American-turned Israeli Jew pointed out.
Brinn and his wife finally came to the conclusion that Israel was their true home, spurring the Naval officer to retire and move immediately.
"This is where we feel every Jew needs to be," Brinn asserted. "And our children will learn the language so much better at the ages of between five months, three-and-a-half, and our twins who are four, than if it was 10 years later."
Brinn and his family had to make some major adjustments in their transition to Jerusalem, where they were amazed at the amount of litter people left around his neighborhood – a practice that seemed to be tolerated by most. Not as tolerant as his neighbors, the ex-Navy officer used an idea he had from being the executive officer of a ship and orchestrated a weekly cleaning campaign he dubbed the “Hour of Power.”
"We're hoping this will be a habit and stays and can really clean this space up,” Brinn shared. “We go from just picking up litter to be actually cleaning. I mean, these stone stairs could look like clean stone – as opposed to stones with weeds here and dirt here."
The motivation behind it all
When asked why he decided to make the transition from a luxurious lifestyle in America to a lower standard of living in Israel, Brinn said his Jewish heritage – and what it means to be a Jew – made the decision easy.
"I can't tell you why some people would move, but I can tell you why a Jew would," Brinn offered. "We have a national anthem called HaTikva -- which means 'the hope’ – and it says in HaTikva that as long as the heart of the Jew beats -- I'm not quoting it exactly, but – as long as the heart of the Jew beats, this 2,000-year dream is just finally being realized."
Help along the way
Helping Brinn make the difficult transition, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass’ organization, Nefesh B’Nefesh, made the move from America to Israel possible.
"We have this modern-day miracle of the state of Israel that is just unfathomable -- it's fantasy stuff,” Fass explained. “For 2,000 years of wandering and dreaming … and all of a sudden, you get on a plane and change your status and become a citizen of this country – it's incredible."
Brinn and his family were just six of tens of thousands who the Jewish organization helped make the move to Israel a reality.
“Two hundred twenty-three North American immigrants arrived on a flight just weeks after the Brinns, including 75 young people who came to join the Israeli Defense Force – the IDF,” Mitchell and Stahl informed. “One of them was Nefesh B'Nefesh's immigrant No. 50,000, Rebekkah Glanzer, from Brooklyn, New York.”
Each of the immigrants seem to have an innate sense of belonging once they arrive in the Holy Land.
"There's a feeling of belonging here that you really don't have anywhere else, and I just couldn't see myself spending the rest of my life any other place – so I'm here," Glanzer expressed. "IDF service is part of what makes Israel such a united country. It makes everyone feel like it's really their own. So, I didn't feel I could make Aliyah without contributing or participating in that way."
Ally Strauss also made Aliyah and shared that she could not support Israel from afar as well as she could as an Israeli citizen.
"It's something I've dreamed about doing since [I was] seven years old," Strauss shared. "I think Israel has a right to be a country, and I want to do what I can to make sure it stays a country as long as possible."
Zachary Olstein was even more compelled to make Aliyah and join the IDF after witnessing the remnants of the Holocaust in Europe.
"I went to Poland … I saw the concentration camps … I saw the ghettos,” Olstein recalled. “It became so much more real. My purpose for coming to the army, I think, is that I want to help protect the one place that I know – God forbid it ever happens – the place that's safe for the Jewish people."
Two Jewish Americans from Washington, D.C., Tammy and Gene Berman, decided to make Aliyah after their retirement in order to fill a void that would exist until they went home.
"It's our destiny – we're Jewish,” Tammy Berman insisted. “America's a wonderful, fantastic country; I love it. My parents were immigrants to America, but we're visitors there. We belong here."