Some two dozen women from communities around North America are taking part in the Jewish Federation of North America’s women’s mission to Israel, dubbed “Heart to Heart,” for a week of inspiration, learning and engagement with Israeli thought-leaders and peers. The mission celebrates women’s philanthropy and the key role that women in North America have played and continue to play in strengthening the Jewish state.
The mission participants are meeting with Israeli women who are pioneers in their respective fields, including Member of Knesset Merav Ben Ari, medical pioneer Dr. Galia Barkai who is using telemedicine to treat Covid-19 patients to refugees in Ukraine, leading businesswomen, social activists and entrepreneurs. They are visiting programs supported by Jewish Federation funds, including an American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee youth village that empowers at-risk teens to pursue business and social ventures as well as a Jewish Agency for Israel compound that is supporting Ukrainian refugees and new immigrants. They are also taking part in a festive ceremony in Jerusalem for mission participants who have never celebrated a bat mitzvah.
Women’s philanthropy is the fastest growing campaign in the Federation system. Chair of the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of the Jewish Federations of North America Carolyn Gitlin said, “We are thrilled to be back in Israel after this long break, to learn about the latest innovations in Israel through a women’s lens and to cry and laugh together with our Israeli ‘sisters.’ We will return from this trip inspired by the stories we are collecting and with new energy to invigorate our women’s campaign.”