by Judy Alperin, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven
In 2003, I was leading a full and productive life in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I was busy with my made-to-order desserts business, Sweetiepies, which I operated out of my home. I was volunteering heavily at my synagogue and serving on the Women’s Division and Jewish Federation boards while managing to squeeze in some PTO stuff, coaching my daughter’s softball team and playing tennis. Life was good and I thought it was pretty much how it should be.
Out of the blue, the Jewish Federation director called me and let me know of the community mission departing for Israel just days from then. He told me that I had been specially selected to join the mission—paid for by a generous anonymous donor. I needed to make a split-second decision to leave my family, and I didn’t even have a current passport! How could I refuse such a golden opportunity?
I dropped everything. Made special arrangements. Ran to Philadelphia to expedite a same-day passport, and in a few days, I was off to the land of milk and honey where I hadn’t been since I was 16.
Little did I know that that trip would be transformational. Not only did I get to experience the power and impact of the Federation system up close in all its life-changing and life-saving capacity, but I firmly believe that the trip set me back on the path toward serving as a Jewish communal professional and is part of the reason why I am serving the Greater New Haven community today.
Missions are remarkable ways to connect with the Jewish people.
Our community is currently planning its next mission to Poland and Israel departing on Oct. 15, 2018. Jewish Federation president, Dr. Norman Ravski, an expert on the Shoah and the death camps having led numerous March of the Living trips, will be integral in the planning and leadership of the trip. After several days experiencing Poland, our group will journey on to Israel where we will experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of today’s Israel in all her splendor, after her first 70 years. The trip will culminate just as the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly gets underway, and we encourage all participants to add on several extra days to experience a conference like no other.
Since that fateful mission in 2003, I have had the good fortune to return to Israel many more times. In fact, I find that if I’m not there every 18-24 months, I suffer a bit of withdrawal. I don’t know if it’s the incredible Israeli breakfasts that I crave, walking on the actual stones that our forebearers walked upon or interacting with Israelis, but I know that each time I go, I feed my soul. I am looking forward to experiencing Israel with you, and I strongly encourage you to make the time for a very special experience.
Join the Greater New Haven Jewish community as we journey to the past and catapult into the future.
Poland & Israel
October 15 - 21, 2018
Stay with us for an even more interesting celebration of Israel @ 70 at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly: October 22 – 24, 2018.