Our Federation recently returned from a historic endeavor – taking 475 people from across the community on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Israel. For many of the participants this was their first trip to Israel, while others had been numerous times, but for all, it was an eye-opening experience connecting with the people and places in Israel that are impacted by the dollars raised through our UJA Annual Campaign.

  • The Trip of a Lifetime

    By Tracey and Jason Hoberman, Scotch Plains
    On October 15, we embarked on the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest NJ commUNITY Mission trip to Israel along with almost 500 members of our community. The Mission gave us the opportunity to...

  • The Cards We Are Dealt

    By Caren Rothenberg, Livingston
    Have you ever taken the time to think about the “cards” you have been dealt? While there were so many highlights of the Federation commUNITY Mission to Israel, this was the recurring theme for me.

  • Something Bigger Than I Imagined

    By Marsha Fiske, West Orange
    When my husband and I were first approached about Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s commUNITY Mission to Israel, I asked myself: Do I really want to go to Israel again?

  • Family Also Matters

    By Steven Schwartz, Randolph
    My wife and I are privileged to have visited Israel six times. This last trip we were part of a Mega-Mission — a gathering of 475 people in our expanded community — through the auspices of our local charitable umbrella organization, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.


Mission Musings

I underestimated just how personal and powerful a visit could be when done intentionally. We came away with a much more profound understanding of the political, military, legal, and social dimensions of Israel and the necessity of maintaining and strengthening the relationship with the Jewish community in the United States. Every day was a reminder to us how closely connected our past, present and future are…

- Judith Rudman

As we reflect on our first time in Israel, we look back and marvel at the trivial events that made our Community Mission trip so distinctly Jewish. From small things like walking down Ben Yhuda Street, seeing everything Jewish, from the shops selling kippahs and mezuzahs, to the Hebrew street signs, to the people proud to be Jewish, invigorated us… As I prepare for Shabbat with new friends from my bus, my ties to the Jewish community and in my home have been strengthened as a result of the Community Mission.

- Warren Kaufman

Save a life, save the world. We don’t usually get a chance to save a human life, but we do have a chance to impact many lives. This is something we did.

- Vlad Shpilsky

We have programs that link us to people in Israel. We care about people all over Israel. We are saving people one person at a time. We do that with one gift at a time.

- June Schechner

This was the trip of a lifetime! I don't think another trip could ever compare. I now have a connection to Israel which I never felt. This mission not only brought my husband and I closer, but it brought both of us closer to our synagogue family and extended federation community. I now know how Federation touches so many lives not only in Israel, but in the US. I never imagined the memories I would have and the new friends I would gain. Federation truly went above and beyond organizing this Mission, never missing a beat.

- Jill Kaufman

I am so proud to be a part of this incredible Jewish community!

- Barbara Drench

My husband and I made several new friends and we have committed to be more involved with the Federation.

- Michele Strumeier

I have a much better understanding of the very important role the Federation plays in “taking care” of Israel and its people.

- Myra Leven

I became a Lion of Judah on the mission and am honored to be part of this amazing group of women.

- Ellen Maynard

I am more appreciative of the amazing people that are involved and the important work Federation does. Seeing the agencies and how they benefit from the donations solidifies the important work that is done at the ground level.

- David Feuerstein

I feel more connected to my local Jewish community. In the week after I got home, I have participated in 4 Jewish activities which is more than I have in many months. I have also gotten together with new and old Mission friends several times since I’ve been home.

- Michele Fine

There was an amazing balance on this trip of things that were meaningful and things that were fun. Every day we were with our own bus, so it wasn’t as if we were traveling with 475 people the whole time. But at the end of each day, we came together to have dinner. ALL 475 of us! What could be better? We were In Israel, eating fabulous food, and dancing with our friends!

- Shari Beth Susskind