You’ve heard of Birthright Israel, the trans- formative program that believes a free trip to Israel should be part of every young Jew’s life. Well, how about Birthright Moms? The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project’s Transform and Grow promises Jewish moms the trip they deserve. Based in Maryland and operating since 2008, the JWRP has sent thousands of women from around the world on an action-packed trip.
Now Portland, too, has gotten in on the action. Portland Kollel, NCSY and JWRP have teamed up to host a highly subsidized 10-day trip to Israel on Dec. 7 through Dec. 16, 2014. Targeted for religiously non-observant women with children under 18 living at home, the Israel portion of the trip is free. Participants must pay their own airfare. In addition, Kollel and NCSY request contributions and donations to offset their $300 per person cost. Apply using the simple online form at jwrp.org or contact Meira Spivak (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. Spaces are expected to fill quickly.
Local involvement started when Naomi Leavitt learned about JWRP and realized Portland wasn’t on its list of communities. She texted Meira Spivak, the Oregon Director of NCSY and the Jewish Student Union. One week later the two met with Portland Kollel.
“We got the acknowledgement in November,” Naomi says. “Jewish philanthropy is amazing. We’ll take inspiration from the trip back to our home and community. This program will enhance Portland.”
The December 2104 trip will include about 200 people with at least 10 slots open to Portlanders. Expect kayaking on the Jordan River, camel rides in the desert and fascinating lectures by experts like Gila Manolson, author of The Magic Touch: A Jewish Approach to Relationships. Participants will visit an artists’ colony, see an ancient kabbalistic synagogue and stay at first-rate hotels like the King Solomon in Jerusalem. Follow-up activities after the trip ends will ensure fires keep burning and new friends stay in touch.
Meira Spivak bumped into JWRP trips twice during her last visit to Israel and noted everyone was having a wonderful time. “The NCSY is about inspiring the Jewish future,” she says about the local organization she directs. “We’re always doing things for teens. It’s not enough. It really starts from the top. Woman want to feel more connected, and they should take time to do something for themselves. I want to encourage every woman to consider this as an option. It’s an amazing trip.”