I know I haven’t written in several weeks. My lack of authoring this weekly piece is not a reflection on the quantity and quality of work being done by our Federation.
During the last few weeks, I was in Israel as part of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Assembly and Board meeting. The Jewish Agency is one of the largest recipients of the Federation movement’s support. Those in attendance learned about the work being done right now in preparing and enabling immigrants to make their way to Israel from Ukraine and France. We learned about the work of the Jewish Agency, on our behalf, to strengthen the sense of unity among the Jewish people as it works on issues such as conversion in Israel. We were told about the work of the Jewish Agency to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement around the world especially through the use of Shlichim (Israel emissaries).
While in Israel, I experienced two fantastic moments that demonstrated the power of our Federation’s reach through the Jewish Agency. The first took place in Tel Aviv where I met with our community’s Onward Israel participants. These college students are spending their summers doing internships in Israel with added programs on Judaism and Israel. We help subsidize every participant, but our impact is even greater than that. I asked the group how many of them were on Birthright Israel. Almost every individual raised their hand. We make Birthright possible through our support. And then, for those from our Pittsburgh campuses (some of the participants are Pittsburgh born, but in college elsewhere) we asked how they heard about Onward. Nearly everyone mentioned the Israel Engagement Coordinator of the Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center, a position funded by our Federation. Take a moment to watch a video we produced showing the impact that Onward Israel has had on someone from Pittsburgh. Click here to see it.
Then, I made my way “home” to Karmiel and Misgav for a celebration of all that Partnership2Gether (P2G) has accomplished. Those accomplishments are many and wonderful, but for me, the true highlight was seeing my friends from the region. Hugs, kisses and handshakes were “flying” the whole evening for people who have invested so much of their own energy to make our Partnership one of the best in the world. In a speech I gave that night, I commented that during a single month period this summer, over 100 people from the Pittsburgh region would be making their way to Karmiel and Misgav (Onward Israel, Birthright, the EKC CIT group, etc). This partnership makes an impact on this region in Israel, and we get equally as much return right here in Pittsburgh.
I encourage you to consider seeing, witnessing and experiencing all of this and even more on the Federation’s Outdoor Adventure Mission taking place from March 27, 2016-April 4, 2016. For more information, click here.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom.
P.S. No message next week!