I vividly recall gathering around the radio with my family during Thanksgiving 1947 as the United Nations voted on the partition of Palestine. My parents were ardent Zionists, and I was exposed at a young age to the movement for a Jewish state. The vote occurred after WWII ended and the tragedy of the Holocaust was exposed, so this was an emotional experience for me as a 13-year-old.
Even my first awareness of the concept of tzedakah is related to Israel: the Jewish National Fund’s Blue Boxes that many Jewish families, including my own, had in their homes. My parents and grandparents, all Russian immigrants, slipped a few coins and sometimes a dollar or two into the slot every Friday night.
In 1971 I took my first trip to Israel on a UJA mission that changed my life. I remember marveling at everything I saw and being engulfed by the history that was around every corner. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of being in the majority. I was particularly moved by the dedication to the State of everyone I met, especially young people.
They were eager to serve in the military and were personally involved in building Eretz Yisroel.
Since that first trip I have been back to Israel over 30 times. I’ve had the pleasure of taking all of my children and now my grandchildren. And each time I go, the emotions and pride wash over me again as if it were the first time. For me, Israel is the link between a people, a language, a land, a faith.
When I think about the future, I want to ensure that Israel remains strong for my grandchildren and their grandchildren. I want to be sure that our community will continue to care for one another. That’s why a made a bequest to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and to other organizations that will help fulfill these hopes for the future.
Learn about making your own bequest.