Lisa Goldberg of Highland Park is in the process of planning her “chai” mission to Israel for Ahavas Achim families. Goldberg, a partner in the law firm of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Princeton, New Jersey, has been single-handedly organizing the trip for the past 18 years, with professional help from Ariel Tours in Brooklyn and their travel agent Meir Weingarten.
The Ahavas Achim mission consists of 10 nights in Israel, with eight nights in Jerusalem and three touring days. Over the years, mission participants have visited different cities and sights such as Tel Aviv, Beersheva, Eilat, Kibbutz Lavi, Masada, the Dead Sea and other areas. The mission always includes a chesed activity, which has ranged from working visits to Yad Eliezer, Pantry Packers, soup kitchens, Shalva and other charities. And the trips also include off-the-beaten track outings like crafts, chocolate making, a tour of the Acre prison, visits to wineries and more.
Since the trip’s inception, the number of participants has ranged from a low of 15 people to a high of 87. Goldberg noted that the members of Ahavas Achim are frequently in the minority, and they’ve been joined by people from New York, California, Monsey, Long Island and other places, as well as a steady stream of participants from Congregation Ohr Torah in Edison.
As a rule, mission participants always stay in Mehadrin hotels and only hold group meals at Mehadrin restaurants.
Starting this year, Goldberg will experiment with the timing of the trip, which previously was always held in January. She decided to try moving the dates of the mission after noticing that, between Facetime and families taking more independent trips to visit children in yeshivot, the demand for Yeshiva break week trips was declining. She also knows from prior experience that the weather in Israel in January can present difficulties. Goldberg is currently planning a May 2020 trip, and she expects that the shul may offer a Chanukah trip next year.
For more information on the May 2020 mission, please visit http://www.arieltours.com/aamission/Welcome.html
The current prices are guaranteed through February 17.
By Harry Glazer