Creating Meaningful Jewish Experiences through Missions


If you’ve ever wanted to learn about the Jewish community, in Greater Philadelphia, Israel or around the world, there is no better way to learn than participating in a Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia mission.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn about the Jewish community, in Greater Philadelphia, Israel or around the world, there is no better way to learn than participating in a Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia mission.
Through its Missions Program, the Jewish Federation offers a wide variety of exciting and meaningful adventures locally, in Israel and other countries of Jewish interest. Missions “provide an opportunity for powerful, inspirational and spiritual travel, an opportunity for individuals to connect with their Judaism and a unique opportunity for participants to see through first-hand experiences the powerful work of Jewish Federation,” says Robin Zappin, Co-Chair of Jewish Federation’s new Missions Committee. “Missions provide an ‘on the ground view’ or ‘live view’ of the work that is done for Jews in our community and worldwide that is supported by the dollars raised through Jewish Federation.”
Because of its unique position, Jewish Federation is able to provide mission participants with exclusive access to political figures, historians, area experts, community leaders and local residents.
These missions aren’t limited to traveling to Israel. Jewish Federation also takes community members to many countries around the world. In December 2014, 43 members of Women’s Philanthropy traveled to Cuba to learn about its Jewish community and Jewish history and provide support to the country’s at-risk Jewish population. The women traveled with over 40 suitcases filled with medicine, medical supplies, clothing, personal hygiene items and children’s toys, which they delivered to elderly and home-bound residents, as well as families in need.
In addition, some missions don’t involve leaving our community. This past June, over 50 community members attended a local mission to Federation Housing, Inc. and KleinLife in Northeast Philadelphia to learn about their Jewish Federation-funded programs as well as Jewish Federation’s Choice Food Program. Participants had the opportunity to meet with residents and recipients who shared how these programs have changed their lives.
Individuals and families who are looking to create their own trip often reach out to Pam Pearlmutter, Jewish Federation’s Philadelphia Israel Experience Manager, who works with them to tailor their itinerary to meet their needs and interests while helping to arrange their travel accommodations and scheduling visits to Jewish Federation programs. Pearlmutter also works with community members to connect them with other programs such as study abroad programs, volunteer opportunities and community missions based on their interests.
“Missions are a critical and strategic component of community building. At their best, they create meaningful experiences that instill in the participant a lifelong passion to become more engaged, philanthropic and connected to our local and worldwide Jewish community,” says Scott Isdaner, Co-Chair of the Missions Committee.
“Missions provide a unique opportunity for individuals to grow in their own Jewish journey,” adds Zappin.
The Missions Committee was recently created “in recognition of the important role that missions play in achieving the overall strategic goals of Jewish Federation. The Committee has been charged with recommending and monitoring the overall mission policies of Jewish Federation and insuring that all missions comply and are consistent with the established goals,” explains Isdaner.
Pearlmutter adds, “The committee was designed to set policy, to vet missions and to ensure that Jewish Federation is leading exciting missions so that participants have a meaningful and thoughtful experience, connecting them to our remarkable work and enabling them to see how Jewish Federation dollars are making a difference locally, in Israel and overseas.”
To ensure that all future missions are successful, the committee created a formal policy manual to “provide guidelines for all missions so that they are being planned, conducted and managed to achieve the strategic goals established,” shares Isdaner.
The committee has been hard at work to provide a wide variety of missions for the 2015-2016 program year. The upcoming missions are the Pennsylvania State Legislators Mission to Israel (August 8-16, 2015), JFNA Prime Minister’s Council Mission to Berlin and Israel (October 11-18, 2015), Birthright Israel Winter trip (dates t.b.a.), JFNA Heart to Heart Women’s Mission to Israel (February 7-11, 2016), Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) Interfaith Clergy Mission to Israel (February 15-24, 2016), P2G@20 mission to Israel and Morocco celebrating Partnership2Gether’s 20th anniversary (April 4-15, 2016),  Jewish Federation Real Estate (JFRE) Mission to Israel (dates t.b.a.), Women’s Philanthropy Mission to Poland and Israel (May 1-9, 2016), Israel360 (dates t.b.a.) and the National LGBT Leadership Mission to Israel (May 26 – June 5, 2016).
For more information about Jewish Federation missions, contact Pam Pearlmutter at 215-832-0837 or email


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