MAY 10, 2018 – A community benefits in countless ways when it travels to Israel together: new friendships are formed, while bonds with Israel are undoubtedly strengthened; Jewish communal leaders are re-inspired and energized, and everyone’s passion for Israel is ignited.
Since 2006, Lappin Foundation has organized 25 exciting trips to Israel for the North Shore community, including Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I), Women to Israel, Teachers to Israel, Discover Israel for Active Adults, and a special trip for Jews-by-Choice. According to Deborah Coltin, Lappin Foundation’s executive director, the Israel experience fits with the Foundation’s mission of enhancing Jewish identity across generations. “Having an Israel experience is the most effective and powerful way to build strong and lasting bonds between Diaspora Jewry and Israel and imbue individuals with love for Israel and for the Jewish People,” said Coltin.
Aside from the Foundation’s Youth to Israel Adventure, which sends rising Jewish high school juniors and seniors to Israel on a fully subsidized, two-week Israel experience every July, 2018 Discover Israel was the largest community trip for adults the Foundation has organized. Its success was due to a partnership with the JCCNS. “Having been on the trip, I can say first-hand that it was a life-changing experience for all of our participants and I was very happy that we had so many community members with us,” said Marty Schneer, executive director of the JCCNS. “Being there for Yom Hazikaron and attending a memorial service in a small community was so personal and emotional, and being there for Yom Ha’atzmeut was inspiring and reminded us all what a true miracle our homeland is.”
The very first emotional moment for Izzi Abrams, long-time JCCNS member and incoming board president, was when, upon arrival to Ben-Gurion airport, the group was greeted by the owner of their tour company with the words “Welcome home.”
“We all knew we were home and were about to experience something incredible together. And indeed, we did,” Abrams said.
Another moment of awe came when visiting Mount Herzl and seeing the graves of the greatest Israeli leaders and then turning around and seeing the graves of some of the most recently deceased Israeli soldiers. “It was incredible to stand in one area and see proof of so many generations that have given their lives to defend Israel’s future in so many different ways,” said Abrams.
2018 Discover Israel was Lappin Foundation’s third community trip for active adults, which turned out to be a remarkable transgenerational experience, with participants ranging in age from 30s to early 90s.
Wendy and Michael Dubinsky of Marblehead were two of the 63 participants on the trip. “We saw so much, but more importantly, we learned so much,” Wendy said. Meeting the grandmother of a fallen soldier at a Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) ceremony in Petah Tikva was the most moving part for Wendy. “I hugged her, she hugged me back, and the connection was so strong, I wept,” said Wendy.
Lappin Foundation’s next Discover Israel trip for active adults is tentatively scheduled for April 19-30, 2020.