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September 09, 2010 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-09-09

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"Any time you visit Israel you go with a refreshing mindset of getting away to the most
spiritually powerful place in the world. You don't know exactly what you will feel or how you
will connect, but you know that something will be different from the previous visit.
"I was fortunate to have the honor of co-leading 13 of Detroit's future Jewish leaders,
all whom had been to Israel before, but either when they were younger or for other mis-
sions. Having an intimate group full of personality and blooming with ideas after each site
we visited was amazing.
"We were all touched in our own ways, but touched together with one foundation in mind
— Detroit. We know our responsibility now is to give back to our community and continue
to help it grow during these hard times. The friendships made will be everlasting and the
moments we all shared will be
moments only the BAMs will
"I think the most memorable
time for me wasn't a tourist visit
As an avid volunteer and true advocate for the
or a business venture, but was
Metro Detroit Jewish community, I was craving a
the simple gather of our group
chance to expand my leadership skills and learn
on Shabbat at the Kotel. We
how to inspire other like-minded young adults. The
stood in a circle with our arms
Becker All-Star Mission, for me, was a way to bring
around each other reflecting on
our community together with our family in Israel.
the trip, where we were and how
"Field trips to our partnership region gave me
we all made it there together. We
great insight into some of the needs we are helping
sang Jewish songs that spoke
to resolve. From afar, we know that there are needs
of peace and community as the
in Eretz Yisrael, however, visitation to programs
sunset at the holiest place on
such as Nancy's House and Elem for youth at risk
Earth and shared a moment
allows us to build a connection to these needs.
I will forever cherish. It was
Fortunately, we have a mission to inspire others in
Detroit to get involved and understand what this
— Leah Bold, Royal Oak
mission has allowed us to understand.
"Israel is our holy land and I feel that sense of
community every time the plane lands and every-
one claps and bursts out in song; however, after
"Every day for six days now,
spending only a week with the BAMs, we are now
we have been reminded that
family. We want our community to feel like family
we will need to reflect in writ-
and, amid our passion and ambition, we are posi-
ing at some point on the trip.
tive we can change the way our community talks."
And every day I've thought, `I
— Jaimee Wine, Orchard Lake
don't know what I want to say! I
thought maybe I wasn't getting
the meaning behind Issy's (our
fabulous tour guide's) history
knowledge or that maybe this trip isn't doing for me what it is supposed to.
"However, at some point today between the two missed wakeup calls and the fifth hills we
climbed to a gorgeous lookout point above Jerusalem, the number 84991 was an image in
my head as clear as it was on the lapel of the jacket Eliezer Ayalon, a Holocaust survivor
taking us through Yad Vashem, once wore in the concentration camps. We spent four hours at
Yad Vashem and when we got to Hour Two and the tears were still rolling down our cheeks,
we wanted rest. That wasn't an option. Eli stood for four hours telling his horrific but tri-
umphant stories. At 80-plus, he stands upright and strong for every bit of the way. This man
survived five concentration camps and is a leader and inspiration to everyone he meets.
"The Becker All-Star Mission 2010 has been a real success. I'm greatly inspired and can't
wait to get started on a new project with my fellow leaders and wonderful new friends. And I
know that if we lose focus, No. 84991 will be a reminder that we can do anything we put our
minds to."
— Jodi Satovsky, Birmingham

"Landing in Israel for the first time in 10 years was both
spiritual and inspirational. Together with my new friends,
we began a whirlwind trip that involved stops in the Central
Galilee, Golan Heights, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Meeting with
past generals, current journalists and innovative Israeli com-
panies helped shape our thoughts of the current situation in
Israel today. The stops at Masada, Ein Gedi, Yad Vashem and
the Old City allowed us to connect to the historical signifi-
cance of the past.
"In Detroit, we are always saying that the young adults are
leaving; however, I met 12 new faces on this trip, all of whom
love Jewish Detroit as much as I do. This trip has reinvigo-
rated me to help reshape and better market our community."
— Bryan Schon, West Bloomfield

Shayna Levine gets ready to drive one of Better Place's electric
cars in Tel Aviv.

"One of the highlights of the trip for me was our visit to Better
Place in Tel Aviv. A start-up company aiming to replace fuel
engine cars with electric, this is Israel's solution to reduce the
world's dependency on oil, save the environment and even
enhance the overall driving experience.
"My background working on General Motor's EV1 [electric
car] in college made this an even more interesting visit. I really
enjoyed getting to see this incredible example of Israel's
entrepreneurial and innovative spirit; and it will be exciting to see
how this continues to develop over the coming years. As with so
many other innovations, Israel is the leader and the world follows.
I can't wait!"
— Shayna Levine, Huntington Woods

"How does a person make a short reflection on a trip that had
everything? New experiences, new friends and a greater sense of
identity are what I came out with on the Becker All-Star Mission.
"In April, I had the opportunity to speak at a Birthright fund-
raiser. I talked about how I wanted to get involved in the Jewish
community and that my sense of Jewish identity gets magnified
whenever I am in Israel. You go to Jerusalem and see the history
of the Jewish people right in front of your eyes.
"The part that really got to me on this trip was getting to
see how the Detroit community is directly involved in so many
aspects of life in Israel. Before actually visiting a lot of the places
we went to, I had no idea of the level of involvement the Detroit
Jewish Federation had in Israel. This trip really opened my eyes.
You go the Southern Wall [in Jerusalem] and see the Hermelin
Southern Steps and the Davidson Archeological Park and you
can't help but get a sense of pride. Millions of people come to this
site that has Detroit written all over it.
"As we visited an Ethiopian absorption center or a youth-at-
risk program, all I could
continue to think about was
how could I get others to see
and feel what I witnessed
without actually being
there. This is the mission for
my new group of friends.
The BAMs need to pass on
to the rest of the Detroit
Jewish community what we
saw firsthand."
— Matt Ran,
Bloomfield Hills

After climbing Masada,
BAM participants enjoy
a relaxing yoga session.

September 9 • 2010


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