Join us each day as we recap our incredible journey on the Israel 75 Miami Mega Mission!
Day 8 | Thursday, April 27
The Israel 75 Miami Mega Mission came to a powerful end Thursday afternoon with a Pre-Reflection Closing Program that brought the entire mission together one final time at beautiful Ronit Farm. The program included a special salute to Col. Golan Vach, Commander of the Israel Defense Forces' National Rescue Unit, and his team, who assisted in the search and recovery following the tragic collapse of Surfside's Champlain Tower South. Participants also heard from Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman of the Shalom Hartman Institute, who offered an insightful reflection of the past week, and heard the personal stories of Jonah, a lone soldier from Miami, honoring his grandfather, Holocaust Survivor Herbie Karliner, of blessed memory, with his IDF service, and Elena, Mara and Alexandra, recent olim from Ukraine, Ethiopia and Russia, respectively, who surprised the audience as they ascended the stage to cheers from the crowd. Before heading to the closing banquet, groups gathered by bus to reflect on their week in Israel, reminisce and share stories. It truly was the celebration of a lifetime!
Day 7 | Wednesday, April 26
Just when you thought this Mission couldn’t get any more moving or more memorable! Today’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut cookout on the beach at Sdot Yam – the day’s first festive Mega Event – was a classic Israeli Independence Day celebration enjoyed by our entire Mission family. A barbecue lunch and live music by Mariachi Yerushalayim and Legends Band were topped, literally, by the Israel Air Force (IAF) Annual Flyover Air Show, a Yom Ha’Atzmaut must-see, with IAF aircraft executing aerial feats in a thrilling display of patriotism. For dinner we traveled to Beit Oren in the Carmel Forest, where we were treated to a musical interlude with the Yemin Orde Youth Choir, comprised of at-risk immigrant youth. Then, on to the day’s second Mega Event and a Miami Mission first: Voices of Israel, The Tribute Concert Celebrating Israel 75, at the ancient Roman Theater in Caesarea. Produced by Greater Miami Jewish Federation in conjunction with the Jewish Federations of North America, this spectacular musical evening was emceed by Israeli composer and conductor Gil Shohat, hailed as one the leading musicians of his generation. For the audience of almost 3,500, it was one exhilarating performance after another honoring Israel’s history, diversity and vibrance by some of Israel’s brightest musical stars, including Yasmin Levy, Daniella Lugassy, Daniel Arison, Shalva Band and Representative Cantor for the State of Israel Shai Abramson, and more, in an inspired tribute to Israel’s extraordinary 75 years.
Day 6 | Tuesday, April 25
Today began with Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, one of the most solemn days of the year. While Israelis visited cemeteries in remembrance of those lost in wars and acts of terror, and sirens sounded across the country to command a moment of silence, Mission participants also joined in special ceremonies of their own. Each bus had the opportunity to lay a memorial wreath at an important battleground or historic site, often hearing personal stories from the loved ones of those who were killed. By late afternoon, the entire Mission traveled to the new ANU Museum of the Jewish People. As a transition to Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, the group enjoyed a performance of the reenactment of the founding of the State of Israel, from Herzl’s Zionist dream to Ben-Gurion’s fervor about the UN vote for Israel’s independence and the declaration of the State. An Israeli flag was raised by Federation past Presidents and Board Chairs led to a perfect end to the evening: a Mission-wide hora accompanied by vintage footage of early Israelis celebrating in the streets.
Day 5 | Monday, April 24
Mission participants had another exciting day traveling across the country. From visits to an IDF Search and Rescue Training Base and Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency-response organization, to absorption centers that help Ethiopian olim integrate into Israeli society … there was something for everyone. In the evening, the group came together for an early dinner in the Olive Grove at Latrun, Israel’s official memorial site for fallen soldiers from the armored corps, as well as one of the most diverse tank museums in the world. During dinner, they heard from Major General (Res.) Doron Almog, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel; Gabriel, a 20-year-old lone soldier from Ukraine; and International CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel Gidi Mark. From there, the Mission joined thousands of MASA Israel Journey participants from around the world at the Israel 75 Erev Yom Ha’Zikaron Memorial Day program at Latrun. The poignant ceremony included a wreath-laying by Miami Mission participants US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Michael M. Adler and Judy Adler. Everything came to a standstill when the first country-wide siren sounded at 8 p.m., marking the beginning of Yom Ha’Zikaron.
Day 4 | Sunday, April 23
The Israel 75 Miami Mega Mission opened the new week in Israel with a timely and compelling morning Mega Event, “Understanding the Current Situation With a Look Behind the Headlines,” held at the renowned Jerusalem Theater. After a spirited reception by the talented Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Special in Uniform choir, comprised of IDF soldiers with disabilities, participants heard from a panel of distinguished guest speakers: American Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides; former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett; and Yossi Cohen, former Director of the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency. The program offered context and clarity to the country’s current events. Following a day of touring the country by bus, all 800-plus Mission-goers attended another Mega Event: the Desert Extravaganza, which included a Bedouin-style dinner complete with dancing, entertainment and a shuk, or market, for gifts. After sundown, guests were treated to a spectacular drone performance that lit up the desert sky. The theme of the evening was Happy Birthday, Israel, and the desert setting was a poignant reminder of where we as Jews came from, while we celebrated the history we’re making, as a people and a nation, today.
Day 3 | Saturday, April 22
What could be more inspiring than waking up to a Shabbat morning in Jerusalem — especially when the Israel 75 Miami Mega Mission has provided numerous opportunities for participants to explore what stirs them! Discovery led the way on this extraordinary day, as small groups visited local synagogues with our Miami clergy or joined fascinating and fun-filled tours across the country. As Shabbat drew to a close, everyone came together at their hotels for a meaningful Havdalah service, complete with braided candles, spice bags and wine; a singing of Eliyahu Hanavi; and the welcoming of the new week — one that is sure to be filled with excitement and many more wonderful surprises.
Day 2 | Friday, April 21
After a fascinating day of touring Israel on 20 separate buses, all of the Miami Mega Mission participants came together at the Davidson Center in Jerusalem for a highly moving Pre-Shabbat Experience prior to the start of the Sabbath. In addition to traditional prayers and songs led by community clergy and Shai Abramson, Representative Cantor for the State of Israel, the program included a stirring musical performance by singer Shuli Natan, best known for Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, and the Violins of Hope, who play string instruments rescued from the Holocaust. The culmination of the event was the surprise release of 100 doves of peace, which soared into the afternoon sky. Later, participants visited the Kotel, then gathered for festive Shabbat dinners at two Jerusalem hotels — a perfect way to begin a spiritual Shabbat in the Holy City.
Day 1 | Thursday, April 20
More than three years of planning came to fruition this evening as over 800 participants joined together at Jerusalem’s Safra Square for the opening event of the Israel 75 Miami Mega Mission. Under a perfect Jerusalem sky, Federation Chair Ariel Bentata and Miami Mega Mission Co-Chairs Amanda Adler, Steve Brodie, Barbara Black Goldfarb and Michael Wagner, along with Maxine Schwartz, Israel 75 Steering Committee Steering Advisor, joyfully kicked off the week-long celebration. One surprise after the next welcomed the group to Israel, beginning with a flash mob of 75 dancers, rappelers doing acrobatic feats as they descended Jerusalem City Hall, the Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion, and a concert by Miami-favorite Einat Sarouf. The highlight of the evening was the arrival of the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, who personally greeted Mission attendees and thanked the group for its consistent support and dedication to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
We Are Ready!
The Greater Miami Jewish Federation and our Israeli partners have been busy attending to every detail of the Israel 75 Miami Mega Mission in preparation for our week-long celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary. From our bus crews, including bus captains and Federation staff, our Israeli land travel professionals to our Federation Mega Mission team, we are ready to begin this celebration of a lifetime and create memories that our Miami Jewish community will cherish forever. Customized daily bus itineraries are finalized, as are our daily Mega Events bringing all 800 Mission participants together for both festive and commemorative activities to mark Israel’s milestone anniversary. Follow us on this website every day for a full account of our Mega Mission activities, including pictures, videos and news stories.
Pre-Mission to Poland
April 17-19, 2023
Prior to the start of the Israel 75 Miami Mega Mission, 221 Miamians traveled to Poland to explore life before, during and after World War II. The Pre-Mission began in Krakow with a tour of the Jewish Quarter, a visit to historic sites and synagogues, a chance to hear from HolocaustSurvivors and the commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this emotional day of observance, participants visited Auschwitz to learn about the concentration camp and its history, and then joined in the 35th March of the Living with 10,000 other participants from 50 countries. The Pre-Mission also included tours of the Birkenau and Majdanek death camps, and visits to the Galicia Museum, historic Warsaw Cemetery and famous Yeshiva D’Chachmei Lublin. Participants joined in a moving closing ceremony there to reflect on this harrowing time of our history before leaving for Israel to celebrate its 75th anniversary.