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Reflections on Our Trip to Israel

by Mindy Goldberger, Past President

met my husband 30 years ago while on a NFTY trip

in Israel. That trip was also my first introduction to

Jewish communal leadership. Since then I’ve been

back to Israel many times with friends and family. During

my Presidency in 2007, I began to appreciate the role that

the JCC can and should play in connecting its members to

Israel. The subsequent Presidents, Scott Lazar, Suzanne

Tucker and Erica Needle, shared the same appreciation

and were determined to have a JCC community trip to

Israel become a reality. Chaired by Sharon Rockman, our

first JCC trip to Israel ran from November 8-18, 2014.

Erica Needle, Sharon Rockman, Jennifer Mamlet and I,

along with eight community members, traveled to Israel

with the goal of learning more about various Israeli

communities. There is no better way to create a real and

meaningful relationship with Israel, with Israelis and with

fellow travelers. We experienced so much of what Israel

has to offer – the beauty of the land, the unbelievable


We’re excited to be planning our next trip: The JCC Poland–Israel Experience, A Journey

from Dark to Light from April 22 – May 2, 2017. You can find details at

food, the rich history, political complexities, diversity and

spirituality. What made this particular trip most special

was the opportunity to connect personally with real

people such as the spiritual advisor at a yeshiva for

women located in the West Bank settlement of Gush

Etzion, with the Jews and Arabs who are trying to relate

to each other as people beyond the conflict, with lone

soldiers defending our security, with leaders of Kibbutz

Erez located on the border (with Gaza in our partnership

city of Ofakim) and with a Haredi business leader in the

start-up hi-tech industry.

Aswe began the trip emotionally reciting the Shehecheyanu

blessing in Jerusalem (used to celebrate a special

occasion) and as we closed the trip in tears while visiting

Independence Hall in Tel Aviv (where Israel’s dramatic

declaration was made in 1948), we affirmed that our JCC

is committed to providing opportunities to build strong

connections to Israel. We realized firsthand that a

connection to our community in Israel strengthens our

connection to our JCC community in Scotch Plains.