Email from Chana Reichman, Rebbetzen of East Hill Synagogue NJ.
by Rebbetzen Chana Reichman
It is our honor and Zchut to have partnered with Emunah on our shul Chesed Mission to Israel. None of this would have happened without you.
Thanks to all of you and because of all of you Zev and the group were able to be there and do their part!!
Endless thank to each if you.
Hi to our EMUNAH friends
by Ben and Batya Klein, Engelwood, NJ
We are back from our trip, and I wanted to tell you that it was one of the most amazing, memorable, and absolutely fun trips I have ever taken.
The entire Bar Mitzvah celebration and trip we had planned went off smoothly, schedules worked out amazingly well, everyone enjoyed everything we did and all we heard all week was what an unbelievable experience everyone was having- adults and kids!
I know how much work you put into it on the New York end, and I have to say that when I met with the staff in Israel I was immensely impressed. The guides were excellent, the madrichot were beyond amazing, and Esther had everything organized perfectly. I loved meeting with her and she stayed on top of things every day.
Your staff, Debbie Siman-Tov in particular, truly made the difference between Ben and I worrying about details during each event, or us just enjoying ourselves. She was there during the entire week during our events, always monitoring the situation and staying on top of everything. Anything we needed she was able to do or make sure it was arranged. If there was a problem she was dealing with it before we even knew it existed. When she wasn't with us, she was in contact with both of our tour guides, checking in and giving advice. If we needed something, she just got it done- no hassle or confusion.
Much thanks again for an event beyond compare,
The Yeshiva Break Tour with EMUNAH
by David A. Adler
Yes, we went to Israel again!
Renee and I have many close relatives and friends in Israel and have been there many times. We haven't just visited the land. We've seen it. This time we went with Emunah.
"What will you do in Israel?" friends asked. "We'll get on a bus," I told them. "We'll go wherever the bus takes us."
We knew that not everything we would see would be new for us, especially on Friday, the first day of touring. Yad Vashem and Har Herzel were real repeats for me. Among my
writings are nine Holocaust books. Much of the fact and photo research was done at Yad Vashem so I had been there many times. Often, after a full day of research, before I returned to our hotel, I stopped at nearby Har Herzel. Yes, I had been to both places before but our latest visits were NOT repeats. Our guide this time at Yad Vashem was especially talented. She focused not on the numbers of Jews lost, but on their stories. She pointed out a picture of a young couple separated by the war and through a series of odd circumstances somehow reunited late in 1945 at a displaced persons' camp. They married, moved to what was then Palestine, and raised a family including our guide, their daughter. I was told later that Debby Siman-Tov, the Emunah tour organizer made a special request for this guide.
We stopped by a large photograph of an American chaplain, Rabbi Hershel Schacter, leading Shavuot services at Buchenwald in May 1945, soon after it was liberated. Survivors, many still in their striped prison garb, are in the picture. Our Yad Vashem guide didn't discuss the photograph. Instead, the chaplain's son, Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter did.
Rabbi and Mrs. Schacter traveled with us. He was Emunah's scholar-in-residence, and each of his six talks were well-researched and fascinating, all directly connected to what we were seeing. He's a gifted speaker. It was an honor and joy to travel with the Schacters. From there our full-time guide Yishay Avital led us on a newly opened back path to Har Herzel. He told us the story of the tombstones, the story of the modern state of Israel. At the War of Independence section was an old man placing flowers by two of the stones. He told Yishay he comes there every Friday to visit the graves of his brother-in-law and a friend. He told us in some detail how they were killed in battle. After sixty-five years it was still difficult for him to tell the story. It was difficult for us to hear it.
We made many interesting stops on the tour. Many to places that were new to us. One was Bet Elazraki, the Emunah children's home in Netanya. One of the girls on our tour, our neighbor, though she lives just two blocks from us, we had never met her before, celebrated her bat mitzva with the girls at Bet Elazraki. It is truly remarkable how the director of the home Yehuda Cohen and his entire staff guide their children from kindergarten all the way through college and beyond. It's an exceptional place. Oddly, what impressed me most was what I noticed at dinner. We ate with the staff and all the children. Each child was differently dressed. Surely what they chose to wear was an expression of their individuality. "Who buys their clothing?" I asked. "They do," I was told. "We take them shopping and they buy what they want."
There were just twenty of us on the tour.
Emunah arranged the flights, transfers, tours, and hotels. We stayed mostly at the Jerusalem Inbal, but also at the Tel Aviv Sheraton and Kibbutz Lavi. We had a few free nights, our chance to meet our family and friends for dinner.
Beyond the ease of the trip, on the flight home I figured what it would have cost us to do all this on our own. Of course, we couldn't do it all. Without Emunah we wouldn't have a scholar-in-residence. We wouldn't have been led quickly through the security lines at Ben Gurion. But to do just what we could would have done without Emunah would have cost us at least double.