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      'Mega Mission to Israel' Affirms Jewish Identity

      Hundreds of people will travel to Israel on "Mega Mission Israel 2012,” the largest Jewish Federation mission to Israel in over a decade.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 4/19/2012, 7:10 PM

      Jewish teens in Jerusalem
      Jewish teens in Jerusalem
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Approximately 725 people will travel to Israel on “Miami Mega Mission Israel 2012,” the largest Jewish Federation mission to Israel in over a decade.

      The mission, scheduled to take place from Aprill 22 to May 1, is the culmination of more than two years of planning by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation in partnership with Miami-area synagogues and social-service organizations, as well as The Jewish Federations of North America.

      The group will meet with Israeli leaders, visits to religious, historic and military landmarks, and engage in a wide variety of social activities.  

      “Miami has put together an amazing journey that will immerse participants in the history, culture, politics and diverse lifestyles of the people of Israel,” said JFNA President and CEO Jerry Silverman. “This magnificent series of events will create lifelong memories, build bonds among members of Miami’s Jewish community and, most importantly, provide a greater understanding of the critical relationship that exists between Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora. As the largest Jewish community mission to Israel from North America in more than a decade, it is certain to have long-lasting effects on Jewish Federations and on the Jewish future.”

      “Although we have brought thousands of people to Israel on smaller missions throughout the years, this will be our first Mega Mission since 1995,” said Barbara Black Goldfarb, Chair of the Board of the Miami Federation. “It is truly the fulfillment of a dream – to not only share the wonders of Israel with more people from Miami, but also to inspire new leadership and help build the next generation of our Jewish community.” 

      Participants will reflect Miami’s diverse makeup and will range in age from 22 to 88 years old.

      “We are particularly delighted that more than 20 percent of our participants have chosen to join us on the Miami Mega Mission for their very first visit to Israel,” said Mega Mission Chair Saby Behar, a Peruvian Jew who also serves as JFNA’s Israel and Overseas Committee Chair.
       
      "We are excited by this wonderful opportunity for people to experience Israel on a deeply personal level and to connect with our wider Jewish community," said Jacob Solomon, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

      “Missions are a vital way to experience the power of community and to better understand and be inspired by the collective impact of Jewish Federations. Participants will be able to deepen their connection to Jewish life and even their Jewish identity in a way that only missions can accomplish in a highly intensive way."
        
      Preceding the Israel portion of the Miami Mega Mission, about 140 participants will travel together to Poland to learn about the Jewish people’s journey from the ashes of the Holocaust to the miraculous establishment of the state of Israel.   The group, which includes several Holocaust survivors, will join the International March of the Living in a life-affirming display of Jewish pride and survival.