A daily news update by Leah Garber, VP, JCC Israel Center
Operation Protective Edge – Day 15 Sgt. Sean Carmeli, a Golani fighter was killed in the Gaza earlier this week. Sean was under the official status of "a lone soldier" as his parents live both in the United States and in Israel. The 6,000-mile journey Sean’s parents made to bury him must have been the longest, most difficult journey they have ever made. Meanwhile, his relatives in Israel took care of the funeral arrangements. Sean's family was worried that only a few people would show up at the funeral in Haifa, since he didn’t grow up there and has only a few friends and relatives close by. But Haifa's bureau of Law, Haifa's soccer team, the Jewish Agency for Israel and others made requests on social media for people to come pay their last respects to Sean and to escort him to his final resting place. Sean wasn’t a lone soldier any longer. Israelis from across the country attended his funeral, thanking him for his ultimate sacrifice, one he made so that we can live. Just before midnight, more than 20,000 who attended his funeral were waving the Israeli flag for this son of Israel! Sean followed in the footsteps of many Jews from around the world who have volunteered to fight for the Jewish homeland. They are not obligated, as they are not Israeli citizens, but they feel compelled to do so. These brave men and women leave behind their families and an expected path to college and career. They join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in order to defend the Jewish state. Within Operation Protective Edge, Sean’s funeral stands out as a moment of national unity of a shared faith. Sean's funeral symbolizes our values, our strength and what Jewish peoplehood really means: Sean made a decision, like 2,000 other lone soldiers serving in the army today and thousands have in the past, to join forces with others who share a vision of being part of something great, powerful and real. These lone soldiers make a conscious decision to risk their lives, along with those of native-born Israelis, in defending our home. Twenty-four-year old Max Steinberg from California also made the decision to leave Los Angeles and join the Israeli army as a volunteer. Max was a Woodland Hills native who graduated from El Camino High School and attended Pierce College. Max participated in a Birthright Israel trip, fell in love with the country and decided to move here and join the army. When Max was on break from his army duty he lived in Beer Sheva, a city that has been under constant rocket fire from Hamas. Whether it is the rockets that continue to rain down on Israeli communities, or learning that two more soldiers were killed last night, good news is hard to come by. Courageous battles give way to the Sisyphean attempts of the IDF to find and destroy Hamas’ deadly tunnels. And we learned that the body of one of the seven soldiers killed on Sunday in an attack on an armored personnel carrier is still missing. In the midst of all this, comes some inspiration. Despite the war in Gaza, 228 new immigrants, among them 100 children from the U.S. and Canada arrived to Israel today! These wonderful North American families, who as of today will become Israelis, join thousands of Jews across North America who support Israel. You send letters and gifts to Israeli soldiers heading into battled, and to young children hiding in bomb shelters. You share our concern and like Jews have throughout the ages, you turn your love and hope toward our homeland. This is who we are; this is what Max and Sean were here to do. Max and Sean will forever be remembered for their sacrifice, their solidarity and their fight for peace. In their hearts, they carried our hope.
The JCC is Going to Israel. Join us...See Israel in a Whole New Way!
Israel: A Mosaic of Communities
November 8 - 18, 2014
We've had this trip planned and now more than ever think it's important to consider joining your friends from the JCC of Central NJ for this once-in-a-lifetime trip to Israel in November 2014!
We depart on Saturday, November 8 and arrive in Israel Tuesday, November 18 when the experience begins. We start off in Jerusalem and then head to Galilee and Tel Aviv. This amazing trip, which offers both group activities and time on your own, includes sightseeing, actual and educational trips through ancient and contemporary communities, exploration of the kibbutz, a culinary workshop, shopping and so much more. Click here for a sample of the itinerary.
Here are other helpful documents to help you learn more and to register.
We are very excited about this trip and thrilled you will be joining us! Please follow these simple registration directions to ensure that your registration is complete.
1. If you are going alone, please click on the INDIVIDUAL PARTICIPANT REGISTRATION FORM LINK below and type in your information. Once complete, click submit.
2. If you are going as a couple, click on the DOUBLE PARTICIPANT REGISTRATION FORM LINK below and type in your information. Once complete, click submit.
Double Participant Instructions
Double Participant Registration Form
3. Next, click here for the PAYMENT FORM. A $500 deposit is required by June 15, 2014. Please fill it out and click submit. If you are paying by check you must send that separately.
4. Finally, you must make your own FLIGHT ARRANGEMENTS. If you prefer, you can be in touch directly with Sharon Rockman about GROUP BOOKINGS (email@example.com or 908-347-7785). If you make your own flight arrangements, please BE SURE TO ARRIVE IN JERUSALEM on Sunday, November 9, 2014 by 4:00 p.m. Check in will be at the Inbal Hotel beginning at 2:00 p.m. Please be sure to DEPART FROM TEL AVIV on Monday, November 17, 2014 in the evening.
5. We provide a basic HEALTH INSURANCE PACKAGE during your visit to Israel. Please note that for participants over 65, there will be a surcharge. There is no deductible. The insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions, those who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past five years, dental care or eye glasses.
6. For TRAVEL, EXTENDED HEALTH OR LOSS LUGGAGE INSURANCE, you may contact JCC Association Preferred Vendor:
Director, Sales and Marketing
U.S.: (888) 747-3773
For more information and to RSVP for the parlor meetings, contact Sharon Rockman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-347-7785.