Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to Israel with some incredible members of the Bnai Zion family to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary. From the moment we arrived, we could feel the country buzzing with the excitement of such a momentous milestone. This auspicious year coincides with an important milestone for Bnai Zion Foundation as well – 110 years of serving Israel.
I was lucky enough have a marvelous group of traveling companions: Alan Schwartz, Bnai Zion’s Treasurer; Donald Vogelman, Vice President; Rabbi Moshe Rothchild, Director of Heart for Zion; my husband, Paul Bier; Djoya and Joel Yohay; Ilene Tannen; Sharon Kaplan; Stuart Shenkman; and Stuart and Susan Wohl.
Here are some of the highlights of our trip:
On Sunday, April 15, we visited the city of Ma’ale Adumim, where Bnai Zion has funded many successful projects. That evening, we watched a special program commemorating Israel’s 70th anniversary, including a beautiful performance by their dance troupe, Mahol Midbar – currently touring in Florida!
On Monday the 16th, we had the opportunity to tour two of Bnai Zion’s amazing project organizations. In the morning, we visited Bnai Zion Medical Center, where we got to see some of Bnai Zion Foundation’s completed improvement projects and learn about the hospital’s incredible technological advancements.
That afternoon, we visited Ahava Village for Children and Youth, which houses children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Meeting the children whose lives have been improved by our work at Ahava was an emotional experience for the whole group. Inside, there was a beautiful display commemorating those who gave their lives in Israel’s armed forces. We also had the chance to see the area recently dedicated to Roberta Kirsch Z”L, and the site on which our new Therapy Center will soon begin construction.
For Yom Hazikaron, we had the honor of joining the Lone Soldier Center for their memorial program. This truly moving ceremony included speeches from the mothers of Michael Levin and Max Steinberg Z”L, lone soldiers who lost their lives in defense of Israel, as well as speeches and performances from former soldiers in memory of their fallen comrades-in-arms.
Our Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebrations were truly the high point of our trip. After an evening of celebration at the Mahane Yehuda Market, we spent our morning at the national cemetery on Mount Herzl. That afternoon, we joined thousands of marchers in a parade from City Hall to the Western Wall, followed by a spectacular evening of food, music and entertainment with March of the Living at Latrun.
Many thanks to those who joined us for Celebrate 180, as well as all of our friends in Israel who made this trip so meaningful and joyous!