Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
As most of you know from my Shabbat message last week, I just returned from an incredible mission to Berlin and Budapest. I am still sifting through the many emotions that the trip elicited from me. I don’t use the term “life-changing” lightly, but so often for me, that’s exactly what these mission experiences are.
When visiting Israel or experiencing what Jewish life is like in 70 other countries, such as Berlin and Budapest, one is reminded of the power of the collective and its ability to impact Jewish lives throughout the world. Kol Yisrael aravim zeh, la zeh – Each Jew is responsible for the other. This is the incredible concept that binds all Jewish people. It is how such a small population has survived going on 4,000 years, longer than many other peoples and cultures!
What an amazing thing it is to see hundreds of Jewish children from more than 20 countries around the world experiencing Jewish overnight summer camp at Camp Sarvash in Hungary, where they are literally learning how to be Jewish. I have had that privilege twice now. The ruach (spirit) we witnessed in the camp dining room is unmatched by anything I have experienced anywhere else. And our Federation dollars make it possible by funding this and the other important work of our overseas partners, the JDC and JAFI.
This week’s Torah portion is Va’etchanan (And I Implored) in the book of Deuteronomy. It declares the fundamentals of the Jewish faith in the repetition of the 10 commandments. Our people are instructed to bind these words on our arms and heads and inscribe them in the mezuzot affixed on the door posts of our homes.
Whether one calls these experiences, missions, adventures, trips, Birthrights, or something else altogether, they allow us to take a deep breath, to remember who we are, where we come from and therefore guide us as Jewish individuals, families and communities as to where we need to go.
I hope you all have a chance to go on your first, 42nd like mine, or whatever number your mission count might be, for I am certain the experience will be as life-changing for you as it continues to be for me.
Federation assists our major donors in putting together very special family missions. The Kanefsky family recently returned from one such trip to Israel.
If you need assistance in putting together your trips to Israel or to see Jewish sights when you travel abroad, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Chief Executive Officer
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