A message from Cheryl Bier, CEO & National Secretary
What an exciting year for the land of Israel and Bnai Zion Foundation! I had the extraordinary privilege of visiting Israel in April with a number of Bnai Zion supporters and members of our board for our Celebrate 180 Mission — commemorating 70 years of Israel and 110 years of Bnai Zion. It was so beautiful to be there for Israel’s 70th birthday, experiencing the excitement, the vitality, and the depth of emotions felt by the people of Israel. From the moment I landed, I could feel the whole country buzzing with a unique energy.
On Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, we saw people pulling over on the highway for the moment of silence. It was a tremendously solemn moment. Even more moving still was our trip to the Lone Soldier center, where we got to hear from the mothers and the comrades-in-arms of fallen soldiers. Their speeches were so heart-wrenching, and reminded us of the true cost of Israel’s continued existence.
But the trip was also incredibly positive and uplifting. We marched through Jerusalem, from Safra Square to the Kotel, with thousands of others, singing and chanting and celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s independence day. Everywhere we went, there were festivities in the street celebrating this momentous milestone.
We also got to visit a few of Bnai Zion’s many projects in Israel, including Ma’ale Adumim, Bnai Zion Medical Center, and Ahava Village for Children and Youth. Visiting Ahava Village is always one of the trip’s highlights. It is so special and moving to see the way these children’s lives have been changed for the better by Bnai Zion’s contributions.
The celebration didn’t end when my trip to Israel was over, either; on May 10, we held our annual Texas Spring Reception, and on the 14th we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the declaration of Israel at a flag-raising at Bowling Green Park in New York City. The 14th was also the day that the United States moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Even back in the U.S., we felt an immense joy at seeing Jerusalem recognized as the true capital of Israel.
This year promises to bring exciting developments to our projects in Israel. Construction has already begun on our new Therapy Center at Ahava Village; at the time of writing this, the foundation for the building is being excavated and an old building is being taken down to make room for the new center. Additionally, our Senior Center Expansion in Ma’ale Adumim and our Protected Emergency Room for Bnai Zion Medical Center are set to begin construction in the near future. All of these incredible projects are getting underway as we continue to raise funds for their completion.
Every time I visit Israel, I find something new to love, a new lens through which to view this awe-inspiring country. It’s something you can’t experience through photos; you have to see it in person to truly understand. I hope that you will all be able to join us for our upcoming Israel missions in December and May Israel to see for yourselves!