We’re going to Israel this Purim! Want to come?

March 1–9, 2023

After a COVID-driven moratorium, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is re-igniting its Missions Program for next March. Led by mission chairs Laura and Fred Gross, the trip will include an exciting “Purim in Tel Aviv” experience.

Starting in Jerusalem, the group will have opportunities to visit several “partner sites”—places to see campaign dollars at work with vulnerable populations, including children, elderly, and new immigrants. The value of the services provided by UJFT’s partner agencies cannot be overstated – services such as extended school days for at-risk children and educational enrichment at all levels; Hebrew language classes, job skills training, and mental health counseling for new immigrants (especially those arriving from war-torn Ukraine); and supportive communities for the elderly. This mission will offer the chance to meet some of those benefiting from the services, as well as those delivering them.

Jerusalem will also include stops at the City of David archaeological site, Har Herzl Cemetery (Israel’s national military cemetery); Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum; the famous Machane Yehuda Market; the Kotel on Erev Shabbat; and more. Plus, the group will hear from myriad experts (including Israel’s very best tour guide, Zalman Spivak) all along the way.

From Jerusalem, the mission will head north to the Galilee and Golan Heights, stopping en route at Neve Michael Children’s Home to visit the kids and families UJFT helps as they heal from the trauma and neglect they’ve suffered in their homes before arriving at this safe and loving environment (which seeks not only to protect the kids, but to model for them what a functional family can look like and break the cycle of dysfunction in the lives of these young people).

In the North, the adventure continues with nature hikes and ATV rides to Israel’s borders, where the history and geo-politics of the region, as well as some of the risk factors unique to the Jewish state will be explored. Some of the rewards of the country, which, through its grit, determination, and brilliant innovation have made the North incredibly beautiful and fruitful (pun intended), will be experienced and enjoyed, including sampling some of those fruits at award-winning wineries and distilleries.

On departure from the North, the mission will head into the incredibly vibrant New-Old city of Tel Aviv with its modern skyscrapers, bustling financial district, fabulous arts scene, world-class restaurants, and fascinating history. Stops at the Palmach Museum, Nachlat Binyamin Craft Market, Museum of the Jewish People (ANU) and Sarona Market will go hand-in-hand with unique celebrations of Purim and a peek inside the Start-Up Nation.

Inspiring speakers. Luxurious accommodations. Brilliant site visits. Delicious food and wine. Spiritual connections. All with friends and fellow community members. The planning and logistics are taken care of. Simply come, learn, and enjoy this life changing experience—Community Mission to Israel.

Cost is $5,100 per person based on double occupancy. Does not include airfare. $500 per person early bird discounts are available until December 31. Call Amy Zelenka at 757-965-6139 for more details and visit www.jewishva.org/mission to learn more.

Amy Zelenka is United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s development director and Missions director.

Amy Zelenka