Friends, this week I have asked Jay Gershman and Lee Pollock, Co-Chairs of our 2017 Men's Mission to Israel, to share a bit about our upcoming trip and what it means to our community. I look forward to joining them as we journey to Israel next week. Shabbat Shalom! - Howard
Over the last couple of weeks, Israel has been the topic of conversation in the American and international political arena. While many have been looking for ways to support Israel during uncertain times, we are privileged to be preparing to show our support in person. From January 11 through January 20, we'll be representing our Jewish community and meeting and learning from an array of policy makers, activists, and citizens on Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford's second annual Men's Mission to Israel.
After a life-changing experience on last year's mission, we are eager to return to Israel - five of us for the second time - and this time we are joined by fifteen men who will experience this tradition for the first time! The Federation has provided this trip as a way for us to connect to our land, our people, and each other. Last year, six fathers and sons on our mission formed an even closer bond by celebrating their Jewish heritage together - and we know that the families attending this year will experience the same deep connection.
Over the course of the trip, we will have the opportunity to hear from high level government officials, to visit historic and holy sites, and to explore the political and social issues facing Israel today.
We will also deepen our personal connections between Greater Hartford and our sister city, Afula-Gilboa. We look forward to reconnecting with old friends and having dinner in the homes of the parents of our Young Emissaries. For the last 15 years, our Young Emissaries have chosen to defer their Israeli army service after high school and serve in our communities as young ambassadors of Israel. The mission of the program is to strengthen the ties between the two regions by building living bridges between the Greater Hartford area and the Afula-Gilboa region.
Many of us are embarking on this trip as strangers, but we know we will return as brothers. As we journey to Israel together, we will form an extended family - and we will return to our local Jewish community more connected and engaged than ever.
Men's Mission Co-Chair
Men's Mission Co-Chair