Happy Independence Day, Israel


A Message from Arlene Miller, President & CEO

Yesterday was Yom Ha’Atzmaut—Israel’s 70th “Birthday!” In honor of this milestone year, there are celebrations all over Orange County, including Celebrate Israel Day at the Merage JCC this Sunday, April 22, and OC Israeli’s carnival on April 29. When I think about all the great ways to celebrate Israel, I think the best way is to join me on the Jewish Federation & Family Services Israel @ 70 Mission to Israel happening this fall from October 24 to November 2! What better way to celebrate Israel than to GOto Israel?

Let me ask you, when was the last time you went to Israel? 5 years ago? 20 years ago? Never? I challenge you to change that answer by traveling to Israel with more than 50 other members of our community on what is certain to be an unforgettable trip. And what is this trip all about? Why is JFFS organizing a mission to Israel to celebrate 70 years of independence?  In Jewish thought, there are rarely short answers—but the shortest answer I can provide is that we are going to connect, or to reconnect, to the place that is and has historically been the center of our peoplehood, our spirituality, our history, and our aspirations. 

To cite one of the most influential Jewish educators of our generation, Avraham Infeld, “Israel is the eternal destination of the Jewish people; the Land of Israel is and was critical to our formation as a people; it is the land we were promised at birth, the repository of many of our collective memories, and the one place in the world where the whole Jewish people has a home, even if they don’t use it.”

Israel is all that, and is also a beautiful, thriving nation state, full of unique juxtapositions—ancient and modern, religious and secular. It is a land deeply significant to Christians and Muslims, as well as to Jews. It is a trailblazer in science, technology, ingenuity and humanitarian aid, yet faces tremendous challenges that strike at the essence of what it means to be a Jewish and democratic State. We will look at all of this together, and so much more.

This trip promises to be nothing short of extraordinary, and you can find more information about the JFFS Israel @ 70 Mission here. Next year when someone asks you, “when was the last time you went to Israel?” I invite you to be able to say, “I just went!” 

AM Signature

Arlene Miller

P.S. Avraham Infeld will be in our community on Wednesday, May 9, at 7pm at University Synagogue. One of the most compelling Jewish thinkers in the world today, Avraham has dedicated his career to helping Jews find meaning and joy in their Jewish identity. Please join us for this free community conversation about ways to build an inclusive Jewish identity for the 21st century. 



Jewish Federation & Family ServicesMission Statement: We care for people in need and strengthen Jewish community in Orange County, Israel, and around the world.








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