800 Jewish mothers celebrate Israel journey

May 18, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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More than 800 Jewish mothers from 10 countries around the world celebrated a life-changing journey to Israel this month, at a Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) Mega Event on Monday in partnership with the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.

Jewish mothers enjoying the event

Jewish mothers enjoying the event

57 of the Jewish mothers travelled from Australia with 27 from Melbourne, 24 from Sydney and 6 from Perth.

Headlining the Mega Event was Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, who discussed future of the Diaspora-Israel relationship, the role women of women in strengthening ties between the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and current issues facing Israel. The Mega Event took place at the Wohl Centre, Bar Ilan University.

“Being a Jew has a meaning – we have a mission – to fix the world,” he told the gathering. And “Israel is an exemplar to the world.”

The Jewish mothers journeyed to Israel from Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Germany, Mexico, Panama, South Africa and the U.S. Some Israelis also participated.

Featuring the theme “Beginnings,” the “Momentum Mega Event” launched the JWRP’s specialized “Momentum” trips for hundreds of Jewish mothers, while culminating the journey for hundreds of others. The entire experience empowers the women, inspiring them to engage with Israel and Israelis, connect to their Jewish identities, develop new leadership skills and – ultimately – to build their communities back home. The Momentum trips stretch from the mystical Galilee city of Safed to the ancient desert mountaintop fortress Masada, and feature extensive itineraries and curated curricula from Jewish values to contemporary Israeli society.

Naftali Bennett receives appreciation

Naftali Bennett receives appreciation

JWRP Founding Director Lori Palatnik, referring to the Momentum participants, said: “We always say the last day of the trip is the first day of their journey. For the very first time, we will be saying ‘l’hitraot’ to 400 Jewish mothers finishing their trip, while welcoming hundreds more who literally just landed. There are no words to describe the power of 800 Jewish mothers under the same roof, with all of the energy, emotions and inspiration.  They return to their families ready to lift them into a new commitment to Israel, their Jewish values and their home communities.”

The JWRP and Ministry of Diaspora Affairs recently announced an historic partnership to dramatically expand the JWRP’s life-changing trips for over 5,600 Jewish mothers from 26 countries around the world. The landmark partnership for 2016 and 2017 will also allow JWRP and the Ministry to involve women from Jewish communities facing increased threats of anti-Semitism and economic hardship, especially in Argentina, Cuba, the former Soviet Union, France, the U.S., and Canada.

Since 2009, more than 7,300 Jewish mothers from 150 partner organizations in 26 countries spanning several continents including Australia, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America have experienced the Momentum trips. Participants commit to getting involved in activities when they return home, including community events, Israel engagement programs, Jewish education, global learning, leadership development and Momentum Israel missions for husbands.

Also speaking at the mega event was Sivan Yaari, the founder and CEO of Innovation Africa, and Zohar Raviv, the international vice president of education for Taglit Birthright Israel.

Australian co-ordinator Wendy Faraday told J-Wire: “In 2013 six women went from Melbourne from the Jewish Women’s Awakening Program. The project has been so successful that this year the numbers have been swelled by participants from Sydney’s Orah group and the PHC group in Perth.”

Faraday said that the mission was geared to attract Jewish women with at least one child under 18 and who were not Shomer Shabbat. “It is basically a reconnection program”, she explained. “Most women who go on the program are seeking to reaffiliate with their Judaism and their traditions. Since the program started we have seen many women reintroduce lighting candles in their homes on Shabbat and sending their children to Jewish day schools.”

She said that targeting the women aimed at increasing the awareness of Judaism and its traditions in the home. But the organisation has also now established a program for Jewish fathers as well. Executive director of The Jewish Community Council of Victoria David Marlow told J-Wire: “The husbands asked ‘what about me?’ and I joined 250 men from around the world on the program last year. It’s a life changer.”

The main cost of the program is borne by the JWRP with participants being asked to only provide the cost of their air fares. The Australian organisations hold fund-raising events to contribute $500 to JWRP to help pay for the program.

Wendy Faraday added: “We follow-up on the women on their return from Israel and we generate new interest in the program mostly by word of mouth. There are already 50 on the waiting list for the next one.”


For further information email jwa.melbourne@gmail.com



One Response to “800 Jewish mothers celebrate Israel journey”
  1. john Sussman says:

    My daughter participated and her comment was amazing,inspirational,moving,a life changing event

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