PHOTO: Could this camel be waiting for more people to sign up for the March 2023 Portland to Israel trip? He actually took this break during a 2018 planning trip for trip co-chairs and staff. Hurry and snag one of the remaining openings for the trip and experience the wonders of Israel – including a chance to ride a camel.
BY DEBORAH MOON
Israel is a go in 2023. Join the Jewish Federation’s trip to Israel to celebrate the Jewish state’s 75th anniversary. Registration, at unbelievably low prices, opens June 15 for Portland’s largest-ever community trip to Israel.
The majority of spots for the March 2023 trip have been claimed by people who had registered for 2020 Centennial Trip to Israel, which the Covid pandemic cancelled just days before departure. But 80 slots, all with significant subsidies, are available on a first-come basis when registration opens June 15. (See details below.)
The trip will now celebrate 102 years of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and the 75th anniversary of the modern state of Israel.
“Here we are, coming out of the pandemic, and Israel is open to tourists,” says JFGP President and CEO Marc Blattner. “This is our opportunity to go as a community and celebrate Israel’s 75th year.”
“People who aren’t part of it will feel left out,” says Kathy Davis-Weiner, who is co-chairing the trip with her husband, Michael Weiner, and Priscilla and Tony Kostiner. “When we planned it in 2020, it was the talk of the town.”
Michael adds that after two years of travel-free pandemic life, “There is a hunger to go to Israel now, and we are going to satisfy that hunger.”
Fundraising from private donors is providing community subsidies to make the trip economical.
“If you are able to go, this is the trip of a lifetime, especially at this price,” says Tony.
“We love to take people to Israel,” adds Priscilla, who will be visiting Israel for the 43rd time on this trip.
While Jerusalem is Tony’s favorite place to show visitors, Priscilla says, “It’s exciting to see what’s happening in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv shows off Israel tech and entrepreneurship.”
For Kathy, seeing the people’s emotions and sense of connection when they experience Israel for the first time is very special.
For Michael, putting Israel in context ensures every stop enhances that connection.
“Without context, Tel Aviv is just another modern city, a dot on the map, and Jerusalem is just an old city with secular and religious sites,” says Tony. “This is not just a tourist trip. To me, it is essential to put everything into historical context.”
Portland to Israel 2023 will include something for all ages 5 and up. Portlanders will visit the Golan in the north, cities along the coast, Masada and the Dead Sea down to the desert in southern Israel. Shabbat will be in Jerusalem.
Tony and Priscilla are looking forward to a three-generation trip including their youngest grandson, who will be 8 on the trip.
“I think the kids will have fun – there are special things for them to do,” says Tony.
There is also a group b’nai mitzvah celebration for those coming of age.
For more information, call 503-245-6219.
Federation Centennial Trip
to Israel Reset for 2023
WHEN: March 20-28, 2023
WHO: Ages 5 and up
REGISTRATION: Opens June 15, 2022,
INFO MEETINGS ON ZOOM:
4 pm, June 16; Register
7 pm, June 20; Register
COST: Adults $3,600 (after $1,150 subsidy);
Youth 5-17: $2,500 (after $2,250 subsidy)