Detroit Hadassah trip makes
local connections come alive.
he Greater Detroit Chapter
Hadassah Mission to Israel
turned 39 relative strangers into
close friends who experienced an amaz-
ing trip together from Oct. 10-21. More
than half the group had never been to
Israel; and most of the others had not
been there in more than 10 years.
This was the second Detroit Hadassah
Mission; again, it was led by Annette
Meskin of Sylvan Lake. Meskin had
been longtime national missions chair
for Hadassah and has led more than
25 Hadssah missions to Israel. She was
assisted by her husband, Russell.
"Israel is the homeland of the Jewish
people she said, "and I want to share my
homeland with as many people as I can
so they experience the real Israel and not
just what is written on the pages of news-
papers and shown on TV and Facebook.
My goal is that mission participants will
come back and encourage their family
and friends to visit the most exciting and
industrious country there is.
"I also am proud to show the won-
derful work of Hadassah, the Women's
Zionist Organization of America, and
how Hadassah has, and is, changing
the lives of people worldwide with their
medical research, health care and educa-
A highlight of the mission was visiting
the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit's Partnership 2000 region in the
Central Galilee, which is made up of
Nazareth Ilit, Migdal HaEmek and the
Jezreel Valley. Participants were hosted
for dinner by local families, many with
children who attended Tamarack Camps
in Ortonville through a special summer
First-timer Betty Bernstein of West
BLoomfield was very touched during
her visit to the Hadassah Medical Center
outside Jerusalem, where 200 therapeutic
dolls made in Detroit were given to be
used in the pediatric ward.
"As we walked into the Mother and
Child Pavilion, there was an Arab father
with his daughter:' she said. "A doll made
December 2 • 2010
by our Hadassah volunteers was given to
her; and I gave her a pack of stickers. Our
guide, Shlomo, translated as the father
thanked Hadassah and the hospital for
treating his daughter. Shlomo explained
this is the goal of Hadassah to treat all
people in hopes our kindness will be a
bridge to peace!'
Lisa Kaplan of West Bloomfield was
struck by "the effort and expense the
Israelis must put forth to be a step ahead
of terrorism and keep people safe
"Security checkpoints, concrete walls
and wire fences, bomb shelters on play-
grounds and at homes, armed military
personnel on streets, searches before
entering hospitals, hotels and malls, and
army bases that train terrorism-fighting
dogs are just some of the many efforts I
observed:' she said. "Experiencing this
truly made me appreciate the safety and
security that I feel all the time at home!'
Larry Kaufman of West Bloomfield was
awed by the Western Wall.
"As a non-religious Jew, I was looking
forward to my trip to Israel, but didn't
expect to have any emotional attachment
to it:' he said. "We arrived in Jerusalem
on Friday afternoon and a few people
went to the Western Wall for Shabbat. I
tagged along, mostly out of curiosity.
"There were thousands of people, cry-
ing, praying and singing — sometimes
all at the same time. Suddenly, a group
of 20 soldiers formed around me and
started singing in a circle. Next thing
you know, I was part of the circle sing-
ing with the soldiers. I never expected
to have such an emotional experience,
especially given my secular background;
but I did."
Participants also connected with three
local young women taking part in Young
Judaea Year Course, a gap-year program
in Israel under the auspices of Hadassah.
Emma Cohen of West Bloomfield and
Hannah Alexander and Michele Freed,
both of Ann Arbor, spent a day touring
Tel Aviv with the group.
"It was like having my family visit:'
Cohen said. ❑
Mission participants checked on progress of the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson
tower at Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
Dolls made by Detroit Hadassah members were donated to the pediatric ward at
Hadassah Medical Center.
Beverly Fine, Greater Detroit Chapter president, and Joan Chernoff Epstein of
Bloomfield Hills flank Young Judaea Year Course participants Michele Freed and
Hannah Alexander, both of Ann Arbor, and Emma Cohen of West Bloomfield.