Last week, we opened the official registration for our June 2022 Mega Mission to Israel. Today, I flipped through pictures on my Google account from our last Mega Mission in 2012 when we brought 300 people, a record breaking mission from Pittsburgh. The photos brought back a rush of powerful memories including eating a gourmet dinner in a lit up valley at night at the base of Masada, participating in a powerful ceremony in Karmiel with our partners and friends, and Kabbalat Shabbat at the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount. I needed to be reminded of that visit while I celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). Perhaps some of the most meaningful pictures were those of my children experiencing Israel with my wife and me. Missions introduce us to the hidden beauty in Israel, they connect us to other community members and create lifelong friendships, and they touch us spiritually and can create everlasting family memories.
The Mega Mission allows each participant to shape key parts of the trip based on personal interests. If you want to taste incredible Israeli produced wines or participate in outdoor, physical activities, these and other options are available. I invite you to explore the details about the trip including some of the key itinerary highlights at jewishpgh.org/mega-mission.
Now, for some good news – you don’t have to be like Nachshon, an important character in the Torah. He was the first person to enter the water of the Sea of Reeds in an act of unbelievable faith. Unlike Nachshon, you won’t be the first to register. In fact, since we launched registration just last week, 130 of your fellow Pittsburgh community members have already signed up!!! Join me and hundreds more in Israel next year for a trip of a lifetime. What better way to celebrate Israel’s 73rd birthday this week than by committing to travel there next year.
Shabbat Shalom. Please keep wearing your masks!
P.S. I wrote the above on Thursday and on Friday I needed to add this note. Like you, I awoke this morning to the news of another mass shooting with 8 people reportedly killed. I heard about the family reunification center established in Indianapolis. I watched an interview of a family member whose loved one was found to be alive. These are very personal moments for us in Pittsburgh and I remind you that there are resources available for you through Jewish Family and Community Services and through the 10-27 Healing Partnership if you need support.