In November of 2013, a new kind of
JUF Mission went to Israel. Nineteen Orthodox men journeyed there to see its
sights, its sites, and the scholars they cite.
The Mission was named
"Shimshon," after the Jewish strongman and judge of old. Chairing the Mission
were Brian Levinson, Avi Rothner, and Shmuel Schreiber.
visited many places with deep historical and high spiritual meaning, as well as
seeing first-hand the critical programs and services JUF provides to Israelis.
They also met Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau, Jerusalem
Post Arab-affairs reporter Khaled Abu Toameh, and MK & Deputy Speaker
of the Knesset Moshe Feiglin.
"To me, the Shimshon Mission is about
building bridges," Levinson said, "between Chicago and Israel, between the
Orthodox community and JUF, and between segments of the Orthodox community
"There was something for everyone's interests-religious,
cultural, historical, security, and more," Rothner said. "And this mirrored the
participation from across the Orthodox spectrum. My favorite part had to be
walking in and discussing the Kotel tunnels with the archaeologist who actually
discovered them, as well as a bell that may have come from a Kohen Gadol's robe.
Towards the end of the tour, adjacent to the bedrock of the Wall, we
spontaneously made a circle and-with the help of an iPhone- broke into song, arm
in arm, singing about the Jerusalem right in front of us."
thrilled to participate in the inaugural Shimshon Mission," Schreiber said. "We
bonded as a group while gaining a newfound appreciation for how our JUF dollars
are being spent in Israel, like the JUF programs that support Charedi job
seekers, or girls preparing to go into the Army. I am looking forward to
continuing to develop JUF's relationship with the Orthodox community on our next
Participants pledged $116,910 for the 2014 Annual Campaign, as
well as additional money for the 2013 Annual Campaign.
Mission for 2014 is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, November 16 - Monday,
November 24. The chairs for the first Mission have graciously agreed to reprise
their roles for this year.
To learn more or sign up for the 2014
Shimshon Mission, please contact Jordan Amrani at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (313) 444-2822.