Men on a Mission

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On April 2, 19 men left for Israel, some for the first time, on the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s 2016 Men’s Mission. This was the trip of a lifetime for these men and was filled with one spectacular adventure after another.

On April 2, 19 men left for Israel, some for the first time, on the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s 2016 Men’s Mission. This was the trip of a lifetime for these men and was filled with one spectacular adventure after another. We began our journey at the Hall of Independence, standing at the spot where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israel a State in 1948, then had a private meeting with Michael Oren, member of the Knesset and former Israeli Ambassador to the United States.
The next day, we had the privilege of traveling north by helicopter to the Golan and visiting the Israel Defense Forces’ Alpine Elite Unit at the top of Mount Hermon, overlooking Syria at Israel’s highest point. This was an eye-opening visit as we learned about one of Israel’s most complex borders.
Each day was filled with highlights, including a visit to the Jewish Federation’s partnership region, Netivot/Sedot Negev, where we toured an organic farm dangerously located just half a kilometer from the Gaza border. The people who work these fields and live in this region truly are heroes. This region has been the target of terror attacks from Gaza and the people who live there are on constant alert, but they must continue to lead their lives, including working that farmland so close to the border.
The group was able to visit with the elite 669 search-and-rescue unit, and then we had the privilege of  visiting the Nevatim Air Force Base and taking part in an incredible ceremony honoring Jill and Mark Fishman, as a new clubhouse was dedicated in honor of Annabelle and Bernard Fishman. The Bernard Fishman Israel Mission Fund makes this trip possible and it meant a great deal not only to be able to spend time in Israel with Mark Fishman, but also to participate in the ribbon cutting and dedication with hundreds of children living at the Nevatim base.
No trip to Israel is complete without visiting Jerusalem. We saw Yad Vashem, the Kotel and the Jewish Quarter…
Experiencing Israel with such an incredible group of men, all committed to the Jewish community, was very inspiring. As I watched their reactions to the people we met and the places we visited, it reaffirmed my belief in the critical importance of the Jewish Federation’s work.
The other men on this mission – Jon Powell (Chair), Bob Aerenson, Steve Brand, Roger Braunfield, Justin Chairman, Ben Cohen, Paul Fires, Josh Gross, Wayne Kimmel, Ben Kirshner, Warren Klein, Bill Luterman, Bud Newman, Ari Pontz, Alan Remer, Corey Ruth, Adam Sherman and Randy Stein – were inspired as well. By the people we met, by the things we did, by being able to see first-hand what Israelis accomplish each and every day. The next Men’s Mission will take place in early 2017. For information, contact us at [email protected]

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