Lowell Friedman at
the Wailing Wall
Lori Martin, Brian
Bernhardt Jen Friedman,
Binay Wayburn, Micha
Zwick, Avrahm Lowenthal.
Talya Drissmail -
, Erica Rice, Evan
y Wayburn, Jen Friedma
Rice, Jason Pressly
Drissman, Erica Rice, Rebecca Wiener
Rebecca Wiener at Beit David Senior Center
BY ROBIN SCHWARTZ
t was a whirlwind trip! A group of
Detroiters recently returned from
Federation's Young Adult Mission to
Israel (June 29-July 6th) with photo-
albums full of wonderful memories.
The nationwide mission of 110 travelers
included 22 local men and women.
Six jam-packed days and nights of sightseeing,
touring, shopping (boosting the Israeli economy),
and visiting with members of our "extended fam-
ily" in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Golan Heights, and
points in between. So, when did we sleep? Not
often. There was just too much fun and too much
to see and do!
For some of us, there was a bit of apprehension
before the mission. Family members and friends expressed concern for
our safety. Among those traveling with us were singles, recently engaged
20- and 30-somethings and parents with young children at home. Many
of the travelers were first-timers, like me, who never have visited Israel.
The moment we landed, our fears disappeared. The sense of belong-
ing was overwhelming. Brian Bernhardt, of Ann Arbor, expressed our sen-
timents: "The feeling of being somewhere where everyone, past, present,
and future has that intimate connection, where your ancestors fought and
died, and where your contemporaries continue to fight and die so you can
18 • SEPTEMBER 2003 • STYLE A'I' rHE JN
be Jewish, is an enormous indescribable feeling."
That "at home" mood lingered with us through-
out the week — from the Western Wall to Masada,
from the Jordan River to Safed. Along the way, we
made challah and sang songs with elderly resi-
dents at Beit David, a center in Emek Hefer, built
in part with money raised through Federation's
annual campaign. We planted trees with teenagers
at Moshav Nahalal. We visited Dan Kurtzer, U.S.
Ambassador to Israel, at his home and paid
respects at the gravesite of Ilan Ramon, the
Israeli astronaut. Some of us gave blood at
Magen David Adorn, Israel's version of the Red
Cross. "It's especially important for our generation
to be going since the next generation's parents are
not sending their children to Israel right now," said Micha Zwick, one of
Detroit's bus captains and a soon-to-be groom. "My highlight was befriend-
ing people who had never been to Israel and seeing the country's beauty
and legacy through their eyes."
If it sounds like this was a moving experience, it was. "This trip was my
fifth in three years and by far the most emotional," said Brad Urdan of
West Bloomfield, the national recruitment chair for the mission. He added,
"It's more important now than ever for American Jewry to support Israel
and to travel there."