With a JD from New York Law School, Bernie Mermelstein serves as the chief executive officer of MZ Berger & Co. in Long Island City, New York. Aside from his professional pursuits, Bernie Mermelstein frequently donates resources to various charities and he is a huge supporter of Nefesh B’Nefesh.
Established in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh works with the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency of Israel to ease the process of Aliyah (translated to mean ascent or rise) by reducing obstacles that may be related to finances, profession, and/or logistics.
According to the Law of Return, Aliyah refers to the act of moving to Israel and becoming a citizen. Jews of varying statuses, denominations, and ages make Aliyah for various reasons. While some do so for their beliefs, others want to strengthen their identity; still others treat Aliyah as a way of expressing practical Zionism.
The Aliyah process starts with completing the application with an option to apply for financial help. It continues with submitting pertinent documents that would determine a person’s eligibility and his or her status in the Jewish Agency. Once an interview with the agency’s local representative is done, the applicant waits for the result of his or her application. When the agency approves, Nefesh B’Nefesh makes the confirmation of the services along with the financial aid, if applicable. The next steps include obtaining an Aliyah visa, which may take up to two weeks and is valid for six months and finally, flying to Israel.