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2018-11-30 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

November 30, 2018  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

16 local mothers bond with Israel, each other on trip to Jewish homeland


The 16 women from Tampa who participated in the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel, (L-R) Mila Friedman, Carlyn Neuman, Jackie Turek, Laura Osterweil, Michele Shapiro, Jessica Liszt, Dana Kanfer, Hope Buksbaum, Heidi Shimberg, Jackie Nissensohn, Jennifer Leitman, Lorinda Gamson, Pamela Behar, Randi Shaw, Julie Sayer, Jamie Beer. The 16 women from Tampa who participated in the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel, (L-R) Mila Friedman, Carlyn Neuman, Jackie Turek, Laura Osterweil, Michele Shapiro, Jessica Liszt, Dana Kanfer, Hope Buksbaum, Heidi Shimberg, Jackie Nissensohn, Jennifer Leitman, Lorinda Gamson, Pamela Behar, Randi Shaw, Julie Sayer, Jamie Beer. Sixteen Tampa Bay area mothers recently traveled together to Israel to participate in an eight-day Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) trip.

Sponsored by the Tampa JCCs and Federation, the trip was designed to inspire, educate, and empower Jewish women with children under the age of 18 living at home.

“It was remarkable to experience our vision come to life for this trip. We set out to bring together Jewish moms with varying talents, careers and life experiences to discover, and in some cases rediscover, their common passion – to bring Jewish values to our families and community,” said Heidi Shimberg, executive director of the Tampa JCCs, and the trip group leader.

Simply put, JWRP seeks to motivate women to transform themselves, transform their families, their communities and the world. Thousands of women from 26 different countries have already experienced this life-changing trip to Israel, paying only their own airfare and returning home with the best gift of all – a deep connection to Israel, a profound kinship with each other and a heart filled with Jewish values.

Dana Kanfer and Pamela Behar had watched as friends in other cities took part in JWRP trips, and approached the Tampa JCCs and Federation about bringing the trip to Tampa. Kanfer and Behar’s dream became a reality in October.

“The impact of the Israel trip has already inspired us to become better

Jewish moms, wives, friends and advocates for Israel,” Kanfer said.

“Most importantly, the trip has motivated these women to share their inspiration with their families and our Tampa Jewish community,” Behar added.

Michele Shapiro, a trip participant said, “I have always wanted to visit Israel and the timing never seemed to work out for me. This opportunity presented itself and I jumped at the chance.”

The Tampa women joined roughly 500 moms from cities across the United States, Canada, Russia and Israel.

The trip started in Tel Aviv, where the women learned about the history of the state of Israel and technological innovations shaping the country. They then traveled to Jerusalem where they visited the Western Wall, joined a local family for a Shabbat meal and enjoyed the shops and restaurants on Ben Yehuda Street. The trip was topped off with motivational speakers covering an array of topics, camel riding in the desert, floating in the Dead Sea, a gondola ride up to Masada and a day trip to the mystical city of Tsfat.

When asked about her favorite part of the trip, participant Jennifer Leitman said, “It’s hard to narrow it down to just one.” She said she “loved the beauty of the country, Shabbat lunch, Masada and just hanging out with the Israeli soldiers” but most of all, “I loved the special bond with the other 15 women who shared in this life-changing trip.”

The group of 16 returned to Tampa with a new appreciation for Israel that they are eager to share with the community. The mission to Israel is only the beginning of the JWRP experience. Following the trip, JWRP participants meet monthly to continue learning, growing and creating change for themselves, their families and their community.

The moms look forward to strengthening their bond with one another, bringing programs to Tampa they learned about on the trip, and participating together in activities offered locally.

Behar and Kanfer hope the JWRP trip will become a regular offering of the Tampa JCCs and Federation.

“We see the JWRP experience as an investment in the future of Jewish Tampa,” Shimberg said. “Not only are we uniting Jewish moms from across Hillsborough County, we are also playing a pivotal role in invigorating their passion to give back in innovative and meaningful ways to strengthen our Jewish community.”

If you are interested in participating in a future JWRP trip to Israel, contact Alissa Fischel, chief development officer, at (813) 769- 4726 or alissa.fischel@jewishtampa.com.


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