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"Mission to Israel" Philanthropic Travel Blog

"Mission to Israel" Philanthropic Travel Blog

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Published by Gabriana Marks
San Francisco Jewish Community Federation Women’s Mission to Israel (March 2007)
San Francisco Jewish Community Federation Women’s Mission to Israel (March 2007)

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Published by: Gabriana Marks on Jan 17, 2011
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01/17/2011

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about jcf > groups > women's alliance > 2007 mission to israel
 
ABOUT JCFWAYS TO GIVEHOW WE HELPCALENDARRESOURCESISRAEL & THE WORLD
Women's Alliance 2007 Mission to Israel
What does one experience on the spiritual journey of a lifetime?
It's been said that the world was created in six days and together, in six days, we will experience anhistoric journey to our homeland. Take the adventure with us. Check out our site for daily updates andphotos. This transformative journey will touch the hearts, minds and souls of each and every one of us.Hear impressions from pilgrimage participants and see first-hand how your gift supports the mostvulnerable members of our extended community and helps them rebuild and revitalize their homes andeconomy in the North. Celebrate Shabbat at the Western Wall and experience Tel Aviv’s night life with thewomen of the Federation.Meet the 25 women on the journey See more photos 
Many of the women are on their first trip to Israel
Eve Cohen, Women’s Alliance President 
This is my 11th trip to Israel, and I have seen and done just abouteverything that a visitor to Israel does. But what is new and differentand magical this time is the experience of bringing women who havenever been to Israel before; and watching them open their eyes andhearts and souls to the miracle that is this state. I have seen them laughand seen them cry; I have seen them support and encourage eachother; and I have seen the seeds of service to the Jewish people takeroot and grow before my eyes. Their Israel is my Israel — a place whereour brothers and sisters nurture the future leaders of our children andour children’s children — and I know now after the week that we doindeed have a brilliant future to look forward to.
Left: Group picture
Friday, March 16, 2007Yad Vashem and memorial service
The journey through this museum began with pre-war Jewish life inEurope and then continued on the downward spiral with photos andvideo clips, artifacts, and survivor stories. “The museum was a powerfulevocation of our feelings. It reminded us of our purpose as Jews toreplace those who were lost, and the equally important mission toreplace their progeny and their descendents,” said Alyssa TaubmanRothman, daughter of Lola Goldstein Taubman, Holocaust survivor fromSvalova (Soyra), Czechoslovakia. The women then held a memorialservice in the outdoor monument commemorating communitiesdestroyed in the Holocaust.
Left: Group at Yad Vashem
 
Women explore Machane Yehuda and a neighborhoodadventure
The participants explored the crowded market Machane Yehuda as thecity was preparing for Shabbat. The smell of freshly baked challah andrugellach filled the air. Overflowing baskets of dried fruits, candies andspices line the narrow marketplace. After lunch, the women embarkedon a competitive neighborhood adventure. The teams followed intricatedirections and answered questions. Susan Guthart, who was on thewinning team of five, says winning felt really good, “We all jumped upand down. My favorite part of the scavenger hunt was counting as manyJewish stars as we could find all along the route.” 
Left: Baskets at Machane Yehuda
Thursday, March 15, 2007History comes alive on spiritual journey
History came to life Thursday as the women of the Federation took awalking tour of the Old City. Guide Muki Jankelowitz explained variousarcheological sites and related them to current times and issues. “Walking through Jerusalem and seeing the history that surprises youaround every corner, we’re lucky to be able to walk through it,” saidMarilyn Dobbs Higuera, Women’s Alliance Campaign chair.
Left: Historical tour
Women pray at the Kotel
The walking tour ended with a spiritual visit to the Kotel, the WesternWall, where the women put prayers in the wall from the children atBrandeis Hillel Day School. “Time folded in on itself and I connected withthe memories and the people who had been there before,” explainedDeborah Stadtner, who has never before been to Israel. “It was a veryspiritual and moving experience and an even deeper spiritual experiencein the rain.” 
Left: Kotel in the Rain
Snow and hail in Jerusalem
Despite beautiful temperatures in the Bay Area, the 25 women woke upto snow in Jerusalem. The group persevered through rain, sleet, hail andsnow to pray at the Wailing Wall. Following lunch overlooking the OldCity, the women explored the Israel Museum. The highlight for manywas seeing and learning about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the model of the Old City. “It was an amazing collection. The clarity of the writing wasremarkable,” said Carol Weitz, currently on her third trip to Israel.
Left: Snow in Jerusalem
 
80-year old Orthodox feminist Amuta member educateswomen
Israel Amuta member and Orthodox feminist professor Alice Shalvispoke to the participants about the importance of women in Israeligovernment and society. “If only women were more involved,particularly in the negotiations (for peace), I think we would see adifferent picture,” said Shalvi. Currently, 14 percent of the Knesset(Israeli government) is made up of women. Shalvi outlined variouswomen’s political groups and encouraged the separation of religion andstate. “It took me a long time to learn that sometimes evolution is betterthan revolution.” 
Left: Alice Shlavi
Women party until early morning at Ehud Banai concert
Thursday night the women experienced a night out Jerusalem style at aconcert featuring Ehud Banai. The popular Israeli singer crooned in thestyle of an Israeli Dave Matthews Band until 1:30 a.m. “It was wonderfulto be in a room full of Jewish youth appreciating one of their folk heroessinging in Hebrew. The audience was electrified and singing along,” saidJamie Myers who is returning to Israel after 36 years.
Left: Ehud Banai in concert
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
 
Children dance and drum with Federation women
On Thursday the women traveled to Ha-Megenim Elementary School inKiryat Shmona, funded by JCF. The children put on a dance performanceand drum circle in the bomb shelters where people took shelter duringthe war. “I want to thank you very much for your longstandingpartnership. Together with you this school is going to make a bigdifference,” said one of the teachers. The women and children alsoplanted a garden together and ended the work with a blessing.
Left: Ha-Megenim children drumming
 
Manhigut Esre teens tell about their wartime experiences
The women met with the Israeli teens in the Manhigut Esre Leadershipprogram, a parallel group to the Diller Teen Fellows. The teens toldabout their experiences during the war and their volunteer work plantingtrees in cooperation with the Federation. The two groups then watched adocumentary about a young local Israeli soldier killed during the war.There was not a dry eye among the teens or the women.
Left: Manhigut teens and SF women at lunch
Tuesday, March 13, 2007Working toward a better Israel
JCF Israel Director Gila Noam spoke to the Mission group Tuesdaymorning. “Israel is in the midst of the worst social crisis the country hasever known. One in every three Jews and every second Arab child aregrowing up in poverty.” And secular Jews have lost touch with theirJewish identity. “Fortunately, Federation is bringing us that much closerto realizing the dream behind the State of Israel” through programspromoting democracy, pluralism and economic opportunity for allcitizens. “Federation is setting a great example for Israeli philanthropy.” 
Left: JCF Israel Director Gila Noam
 
JCF helps poor Bedouin families in the Negev
Participants heard Bedouin mothers’ gratitude for JCF’s Echad program,which is enabling them for the first time ever to meet as a group of women, speak about their feelings, and learn from each other and asocial worker about parenting, child development and nutrition. Onemother thanked JCF: “You have taught us how to listen to our childrenand realize our role as their teachers.” Echad trains preschool andkindergarten teachers to detect and address the high rate of growth anddevelopmental deficiencies among Bedouin children.
Left: Group meets with Lakiya women from Echad Project
 
Monday, March 12, 2007Israeli defense correspondent outlines threats to Israel
Day two began with an overview of the political situation and securityissues with Alon Ben David, senior defense correspondent for IsraeliChannel 10. Despite the war over the summer, “the country feels muchsafer today. That is our major achievement in the last six years,” saidBen David. He also expressed that Iran is the greatest threat to Israel’ssecurity.
Left: Speaker Alon Ben David
 
Women walk into history in Neve Zedek
The participants traveled to Independence Hall, located in the home of Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv. Here David Ben Gurion,Israel’s first prime minister, announced the Declaration of Independenceon May 14, 1948. Many women were visibly moved while listening to therecording of “Hatikva” sung for the first time as the national anthem.
Left: Women at Independence Hall
 
80-year-old feminist artist lunches with Lions
Following a walking tour of the Neve Zedek neighborhood, six IsraeliLions of Judah gathered at the Rokach House museum. The womenenjoyed a lively luncheon with 80-year-old Lea Majaro-Mintz, one of 

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