It has been my pleasure to help plan missions to Israel, Poland and Ukraine over the past several years.
Some were worker training missions for volunteers, some were tied to our Partnership Community of Hadera, Israel, and some were designed to help first timers get acquainted with Israel and bring others back to Israel for a second or third time.
Our most recent mission from Oct. 26 - Nov. 4 – the JCFR Sherry Rose Food and Wine Mission – blended important meetings about the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Jewish Agency for Israel programs with touring and, of course, food and wine. We were pleased to have 21 members on our mission group. Our mission chairs were Mark and Melanie Binshtok, and their expertise on Israel was invaluable. We had a great visit.
The following are some excerpts from the trip blogs we sent back:
After a wonderful opening dinner we met with Professor Rueben Hazzan, head of the political science department of Hebrew University. We discussed both the American and Israeli political systems. Eventually we focused on the American elections.
The next day we started in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda, the open air food market. The sights, sounds and smells were magnificent.
Then we headed to a an organic farm Kibbutz in the Jordan Valley for a tour and to meet some of the residents. While there, we picked our own vegetables, we cut them up and prepared our own lunches - farm to table.
By the way, the mood in Israel was tranquil and peaceful and people were very upbeat.
Later, we met new immigrants from Ethiopia and went to a JAFI absorption center.
At dinner we met with an Israeli pediatrician from Zeev hospital (in Tzfat) which has treated over a thousand victims of the war in Syria.
At night we began our tour of Tzfat by meeting with an artist who creates paintings with Kabbalistic themes.
The next day we met with Aluf Benn, editor of “Ha Aretz” newspaper, who gave us a great overview of politics in Israel and Israeli reactions to the American elections.
Highlights from our last days included a tour of Jaffa and the Neve Zedek neighborhood. We also were able to visit amazing falafel and shawarma restaurants.
Eventually we went to the Sharona neighborhood in Tel Aviv, before we went to our closing dinner.
To see more photos courtesy of Michele Asher from this mission, visit goo.gl/t7Rqp1.
We are planning another Sherry Rose Food and Wine tour of Israel in the fall of 2017. Please call me if you would like to join the trip.
Next year in Jerusalem.
As always, contact me at (804) 545-8622 to get involved or visit our website www.jewishrichmond.org.