Jewish Federation of Monmouth County wants adults to experience the same joy of discovery their children and grandchildren have been enjoying on Birthright Israel trips, the free 10-day visits to Israel that have been offered to young Jews since 2000.
Federation’s recently announced Monmouth Journey to Israel, while not free, is a “four-star trip at an unbeatable price” that is being planned by the same professionals who coordinate Birthright Israel trips, said federation executive director Keith Krivitzky.
The “community engagement” trip, to be held next fall, “is a chance for Jewish people to relate to their own heritage and land,” said Lauren Reich of Manalapan, who serves as its chair, as well as of federation’s Taglit Birthright Israel program. “It’s open to all adults, but in particular we have been approached by a lot of Birthright parents and grandparents who want to experience what their children or grandchildren did. They want to achieve that same sense of belonging.”
The itinerary will be specially geared for adults who have never visited the country — but those who wish to revisit and reconnect with Israel will also be welcome. By planning Monmouth Journey to Israel, Krivitzky said, “we will offer an opportunity to really engage a lot of adults who aren’t necessarily connected to federation or other Jewish agencies. Most Jews in Monmouth County haven’t been to Israel before, and this will be a great opportunity to see Israel behind the headlines.”
The trip — scheduled for Oct. 28 to Nov. 6, 2012 — will be the first such program sponsored by the Monmouth federation in many years. The eight-day program is priced at $1,749, excluding airfare, and includes luxury accommodations at such places as the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel and the Carlton Tel Aviv Hotel. Although campaign contributions are welcome and encouraged, there is no minimum gift requirement to participate, Krivitzky said.
The itinerary will kick off with a reception in Tel Aviv overlooking the Mediterranean, followed by tours of the coastal region, the Golan Heights, the Galilee, and Jerusalem. Visits to the Kinneret and Masada and many other cultural and historical sites will be included. The group will also visit the federation’s Partnership2gether region of Arad/Tamar, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The program will be an inspiring mix of cultural and recreational options, such as nature walks, theatrical performances, art festivals, touring, and shopping, Krivitzky said.
In the coming months, federation will approach some 25 Monmouth County synagogues to invite their members to register for the trip, which can accommodate 100 people. Plans also call for the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County to join in this program.