Last week, three prominent Jewish Futures organisations, GIFT, JRoots, and Aish, successfully concluded a series of solidarity and volunteering trips in Israel.
JRoots organised and facilitated the trips, GIFT promoted volunteering initiatives, and Aish Young Professionals focused on fostering Jewish identity and connection to Israel.
The joint endeavors of these organisations included diverse and essential activities such as farming, demonstrating solidarity with local communities, hosting BBQs for soldiers, distributing donated items, and visiting mourners sitting shiva. The collective impact of these initiatives emphasised the power of collaboration in making a meaningful difference.
One of the key highlights of the trip was the profound engagement with survivors and families affected by both historical and recent events. Adi Efrat, a survivor of the Kibbutz Be’eri massacre on October 7th, shared her harrowing experiences with the visiting groups. Leading them through the Kibbutz, Adi vividly described the atrocities committed by Hamas, providing a firsthand account that left a lasting impact on all participants.
During a particularly special evening, the Aish Young Professionals group had the honor of hosting 98-year-old Holocaust survivor Josef Lewkowicz, along with Rob and Jennifer Airley, parents of Binyomin Airley, an IDF paratrooper who lost his life in combat in Gaza.
The gathering took place in the home of David and Martina Hammelburger, trustees of Jewish Futures in Jerusalem. Josef shared his survival story, and Rob Airley, a 1993 graduate of Aish Fellowships, spoke about his son’s sacrifice. Rabbi Yaakov Klein from Eilecha joined the group, offering emotional and stirring songs on his guitar.
A participant from the Aish Young Professionals group said: “This trip has been incredibly meaningful, connecting us to our roots and inspiring us to make a difference. I, together with the group of people I met on this trip, wanted to make a tangible impact on those affected the most by October 7th and felt joining this mission and volunteering, helping those who really need us was the best way to do that. I am so grateful to Aish that I had this opportunity and would recommend any similar missions to anyone interested.”
Rabbi Schiff, executive director of Aish and chief executive of Jewish Futures said: “The Mission trips to Israel truly showcase the breadth of Jewish Futures and how he cross-fertilization of ideas between GIFT, JRoots, and Aish has created a powerful synergy that amplifies our collective impact. Jewish Futures aims to connect Jews to its past, presence and future, and these trips have managed to do all of those things whilst also connecting British Jews to those in Israel on a very practical and spiritual level.”
The collaboration between these Jewish Futures organizations highlights the importance of unity in addressing critical issues, fostering a sense of community, and promoting positive change.
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