Bob Miller: I love Israel and I love Jews
Photo: Yaakov Lappin
Muriel Weinreb (center) had just arrived on her first visit
Photo: Yaakov Lappin
Gladys Feigenbaum volunteered with her husband in Lebanon in 1983
Photo: Yaakov Lappin

Jersey Jews touch down in Israel

Group arrives in Tel Aviv to begin emotional tour; for a third of them, visit is a first

Over 300 American Jews arrived in Israel Sunday night to begin a trip aimed at strengthening their community and Jewish identity.


Members of the the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Northern New Jersey gathered at a restaurant in the old port area in north Tel Aviv to begin their tour, which will include a solidarity visit to the northern city of Nahariya, hit by Hizbullah missiles during the recent Lebanon war. For many, it was their first time to Israel.


Muriel Weinbreb, of Elwood, New Jersey, who is visiting Israel for the first time, said she will donate a Torah scroll to an Israel Defense Forces base in Haifa. The scroll came from her synagogue in the US, which had closed down. "I landed two hours ago," she told Ynetnews. "I have mixed emotions, due to the closing of my synagogue's doors," she added.


For Gladys Feigenbaum, the visit was not her first to Israel. She and her husband came here during the first Lebanon war and volunteered to help the IDF in a tank base in Lebanon.


"My husband and I were here for a month, and helped out at a new base for tanks in 1983," she recalled. "I was filling bins for parts, and washed windows, while my husband gave out supplies," she said.


'Trip helps bring down barriers'

Rabbi Mark Mandall, who is accompanying the group, gave a traditional Jewish blessing delivered upon seeing the Mediterranean Sea. He said the visit was aimed at "fostering a relationship to the land." Rabbi Mandall added that some of the American visitors were active members of the community, while others were "peripheral."


Bob Miller, who organized the trip, said: "There are old and young here, religious and secular. We felt that bringing people here would strengthen our community, and it already has," he said, pointing out new relationships being formed.


"This trip helps bring down barriers in the community," he emphasized. "I love Israel and I love the Jewish people. For me, there can't be anything better than saying: I brought 350 people to Israel, and for 100 of them, its their first time," he added.


פרסום ראשון: 02.19.07, 00:22
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