What inspires a group of Minneapolis moms who aren’t highly engaged in the Jewish community in Jewish ritual observance to go to Israel?
Well, that all depends on who you ask.
Last November, Minneapolis Jewish Federation (MJF) partnered with the Momentum organization to provide the Year-Long Journey to Minneapolis moms who have Jewish children at home 18 or younger.
MJF’s Board of Directors made a strategic decision in recent years to prioritize global experiences, enhancing Federation’s connection to the global Jewish world.
“Experiences, and the education, meaning, and memories created through them, has a profound impact on a person’s life that we know will benefit them, their families, and our Minneapolis Jewish community for many years ahead,” said Steven Baker, Chief Philanthropy Officer of MJF.
MJF is partnering with several national organizations, including Honeymoon Israel and JDC Entwine, in addition to running its own, to provide global experiences to meet various community needs. Momentum’s goal is to inspire women to transform themselves, and transform their families, their communities, and the world. Their flagship program, the MOMentum Year-Long Journey, empowers women to connect to Jewish values, engage with Israel, take action, and foster unity, without uniformity – its four core values. It begins with pre-trip gatherings, the trip to Israel, and is followed by a Year of Growth, which involves monthly cohort gatherings where we learn, connect, share, and give back.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be much more intentional with my religion and spirituality than I have in the past several years,” said Melanie LaMere. “More than anything, I’m looking forward to continuing to build upon friendships made and find deep and meaningful connections with other women from my trip, including building off of each other when it comes to ideas of inclusion, engagement and learning, and the various definitions of what it means to be a Jewish woman, raising Jewish children.”
Applications for the 2023 trip, which is Nov 27-Dec. 5, 2023 and will include a full day and overnight stay in MJF’s partnership community, Rehovot, are now being accepted. There’s an interview process and the application window will close on May 15.
The trip is highly subsidized. Each participant receives a $3,700 scholarship, 80 percent provided by Momentum and 20 percent provided by MJF. It doesn’t include airfare, or the registration fee ($99). There is a $500 fully refundable deposit that is returned to participants upon completion of the trip. The subsidy provided by MJF aligns with the Board of Directors’ strategic decision related to global experiences.
“Being able to step away from my crazy busy life as a working mom and go on a journey overseas to Israel was incredibly impactful,” said Rachel Carson. I was able to build new relationships with women whom I seem to have a lot in common with. My hope is that this is just the start to what is to become life-long friendships filled with the Minneapolis Jewish community.”
The trip includes daily learnings and lots of sightseeing, eating, and connecting with other women from around the world on the trip. The November 2022 trip group was joined by 4 Israeli women from Rehovot, which one participant said: “added a relevant and meaningful Israeli perspective that we would not have had otherwise.”
“We shared feelings of gratitude as well as our fears and tears, and we connected over the similarities and differences of our Jewish identities,” said Robyn Awend. “All equally valid and beautiful.”
To learn more about Momentum and MJF’s Global Experiences and Women’s Philanthropy, please contact Jen Bucklew, MJF’s Director of Women’s Philanthropy at [email protected].