The concept of Israel being a Jewish and democratic state has resonated with us for so many years and in so many ways. Sometimes we emphasize the Jewish aspects, sometimes the democratic ones. However, the majority of us agree that the most important component of this phrase, “Jewish-democratic state,” is the hyphen itself that connects these two loaded but crucial words.
On March 17, 2015, Israel will face once again its unique mixture of challenges and opportunities to showcase its democratic nature — the national elections to the 20th Knesset (Israeli parliament). Like the previous 19 times, we all believe that this particular elections campaign is the most critical one to our future. Time will tell. There is, however, one aspect to it that is new and exciting this time around:
March 17 is also the first day of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s Israel Center Experience (ICE) in Israel. This is the first time I will experience Election Day with members of my GMW community and an opportunity for you to experience Israel celebrating its democracy on an up-close and personal basis.
We will deal with the elections and its ramifications, we will meet with hundreds of Israelis in our partnership communities and hear their perspectives about their future, we will energize ourselves as individuals and as a community in terms of our connections with Israel. After all, ICE also stands for Inspire Connect Empower. We hope to accomplish all three of these goals by seeing firsthand the impact of our Federation’s work in Israel.
Open slots are still available for the mission, which is open to all and costs only $1,999 plus airfare. Additional stipends are available for first-time GMW Mission participants. A pre-ICE track to explore issues surrounding Israeli Arabs is available as well.
An information meeting for the mission is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus, Whippany.
For more details and an application, contact Neimah Tractenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 929-3046.