Has there ever been a more important time to be in Israel?

Solidarity Trip to Israel: June 18 – 22

United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is now accepting deposits and applications for a Solidarity Trip to Israel. The four-day trip will visit sites in the south of the country to witness the destruction, meet the people, and hear the stories of what they experienced on October 7 and the days, weeks, and months following that devastating day. The trip will end in Jerusalem after Shabbat.

The group will visit:

  • Otef Gaza (the Gaza Envelop), starting out at Kibbutz Be’eri, the October 7 images of which have been seen on television and the internet, and whose future hangs in the balance. On the morning of October 7, the Kibbutz was attacked by more than 100 Hamas terrorists who decimated the town, killing more than 90 members and kidnapping over 20 members to Gaza.
  • En route to the site of the Nova Music Fest, more than 1,200 burned out and bullet-ridden vehicles, abandoned along the road, as people sought an escape from the terrorists, will be visible. At the site of the music festival – the rave that turned into a massacre – stories of those who managed to escape will be shared.
  • IDF soldiers who are on short breaks from their fighting in Gaza (if the IDF permits it).
  • UJFT-funded Jewish Agency Program – Youth Futures – in Sderot, to learn how the families involved in the program are coping with the trauma and new reality of their lives.
  • UJFT-funded ORT students and faculty at the Kfar Silver campus to see how they are faring in these days following October 7.
  • In Jerusalem, with Stephanie Hallet, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Israel, for an update on what’s happening in front and behind the scenes.
  • The new Library of Israel and Yad Vashem (Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust) and engage in discussions about “Never Again.”
  • The Kotel to welcome the “Sabbath Queen” as a community in a Kabbalat Shabbat service and have a Shabbat dinner with special guests.

Shabbat programming options will include services at various synagogues; a guided walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem; special activities with “Evacuees,” a pre-Havdalah discussion with Professor Gil Troy on Why, Once Again, Israel Will Survive, and Havdalah services. A Farewell Dinner will mark the end of the trip and those returning to the states will head for the airport, while those extending, will head back to the hotel.

The trip promises to be unlike previous Federation Missions and is uniquely designed to gain a better understanding of all that took place on October 7 and the events which have taken place since. Hands-on volunteer opportunities will be inserted into the trip wherever and whenever possible – whether picking or packing fruits and vegetables, assembling care boxes for soldiers, or any other useful task. Those will be determined in June.

This four-day trip is designed to pack a punch for those with limited time. But it’s also an amazing opportunity to weave high-quality, authentic experiential programming into a longer family trip for those coming to Israel this summer. It is not designed for children, as some of the sites and stories are sure to be graphic and scary for those under the age of 18.
The per person price of the trip will vary depending on the number of participants. See JewishVA.org/IsraelMission for pricing information

To learn more about the UJFT Solidarity Trip to Israel, contact Amy Zelenka, UJFT chief development officer at 757-965-6139 or azelenka@ujft.org.