US Centre News

United Synagogue trip celebrates Israel’s 70 birthday
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Thursday 10th May 2018

The United Synagogue’s trip to Israel for over 150 participants, commemorating Israel’s 70th birthday, took place from 3-7 May. It aimed to provide participants with an exciting, enjoyable experience focusing on lessons from Israel’s history as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. 

Enjoying the view overlooking the Kotel

Participants met important figures in Israeli life such as President Reuven Rivlin, General Doron Almog and UK Ambassador David Quarrey at his residence. 

They visited a wide range of places, for the first time for many participants, including the Mossad Heritage Centre (including a presentation from an ex-Mossad agent who had helped rescue Jews from Sudan in the 1980s), Independence Hall, the Tel Aviv Great Synagogue, Atlit, Mount Herzl and the Old City of Jerusalem where Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld, formerly of London and now National Police Spokesman to the Foreign Media, addressed the group.

Participants at Har Herzl

 A particular highlight was the group Shabbat in Tel Aviv, with a wonderful atmosphere at the meals and prayer services. Special guests Chief Rabbi Ephraim and Valerie Mirvis, Ambassador Daniel and Zehava Taub, and former United Synagogue President Elkan Levy inspired and moved participants with their powerful presentations. 

US Chief Executive Steven Wilson, British-born Major Keren Hajioff, head of the IDF’s Public Diplomacy team and several gap-year participants in Tribe Israel’s TILT leadership programme also addressed the group. 

Rabbi Michael Laitner and David Collins of the US’s Jewish Living Division served as educators for the trip which was organised by the US’s Director of Development, Alan Aziz, and Ida Symons. 

At Independence Hall in Tel Aviv

The Chief Rabbi said, "I am delighted that the United Synagogue has taken a group of 150 people to Israel to celebrate its 70th Anniversary. The centrality of Israel is a key element of our United Synagogue ethos and the large size of this group reflects the strong connection that US members feel towards Israel.” 

Alan Aziz, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to give so many people a chance to see many of the cultural and religious aspects of Israel that sometimes get overlooked. I hope that we have given a fitting view of Israel as she enters her next decade.”