To be young, Jewish and committed to building community.
BAM! In a word, that’s the initial impact of an invitation to Israel from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.
BAM! It can happen just like that. Attend your share of community-building events, connect and engage with your peers in Jewish Detroit, step forward, make your voice heard and BAM, next thing you know, you’re headed for Israel with a group of like-minded young Jewish Detroiters, traveling together on the second Adam & Jodi Becker All-Star Mission to Israel, in short, the mission known as BAM, chaired by Scott Mitnick of Royal Oak and Steve Migliore of West Bloomfield.
The Becker Mission was established in 2010 as an effective means to launch young adults on a lifelong journey of Jewish discovery. Members earn their spot through volunteer community work, each committing to an active leadership role in Federation’s newly branded NEXTGen in planning events and projects to move the community forward.
The challenge of every Federation mission, of course, is to integrate the experience as a whole for each participant, essentially to “connect the dots” between the people and places of Israel and the vibrant Jewish community back home in Detroit.
“This is a model program, exactly what our community needed,” says Federation CEO Scott Kaufman, “Adam and Jodi Becker, two young community activists and leaders, have created this mission to cultivate and inspire others to move into leadership roles in our Jewish community.”
Says mission funder Adam Becker of West Bloomfield, who subsidized the cost of the trip for participants: “Our goal for creating the Adam & Jodi Becker All-Star Mission is to help develop our community’s next generation of philanthropic ‘All-Stars.’ After participating in the Fisher Mission to Israel in 2008, my wife, Jodi, and I felt grateful, fortunate and empowered to make a difference. We decided to create and fund this leadership mission to allow young adults to have an opportunity to travel to Israel while forming a special and unique bond with a group of their peers, and inspire them to come back and make their own impact as the current and future leaders of our community. And already there are great things coming as a result of the first Becker All-Star Mission. We are excited to see what this second group will do.”
According to co-chair Steve Migliore, who ranks the mission as “one of the most rewarding experience of his life,” “Jodi and Adam’s commitment to the development of future leaders and to growing and strengthening our community with this mission is truly commendable.”
Mission participant Jordon Wertheimer of West Bloomfield adds, “Adam and Jodi are firmly committed to bridging the gap between what our grandparents’ generation did for the Jewish people, both here and abroad, and what our generation has the potential to do now. To have been recruited for such an important leadership development trip has strengthened my commitment and drive to give back to the community.”
Humbling. Transforming. Life-changing. These are the words most often repeated when the Becker Mission’s 14 participants describe the experience of traveling together for 10 whirlwind days in September. Still vivid in their minds are the lush green images of the Central Galilee Partnership2Gether Region en route to Kibbutz Nahalal, memories of conversations with soldiers in the Golan Heights, visits with scientists in the Israeli Space Program and Ethiopian children in PACT, networking with entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv, and taking in the sights, sounds and flavors of Jerusalem.
Here’s what a few participants had to say:
Scott Mitnick of Royal Oak, co-chair of the Becker All-Star Mission 2012: “My No. 1 takeaway from the Becker All-Star Mission is simple: confidence. I came away from this trip confident that both our Jewish community in Metro Detroit and in Israel are strong and will remain strong for years to come. After getting the opportunity to speak with the military officer in charge of the entire tank battalion, as well as the editor in chief of Ha’aretz newspaper, I am confident that the U.S. is supportive of Israel protecting its borders at any cost, no matter who is in office in Washington. I am further confident that Israel is fully capable of protecting its borders and will remain a strong vibrant country. As for life back home in Metro Detroit, I’m confident that those leaders of the older Jewish generations, whose work and dedication helped to build this community, will look to NEXTGen and be confident about what is to come for the future of the Metro Detroit Jewish community.”
Eric and Bonnie Globerman of West Bloomfield, new to the community, having moved from Philadelphia just three years ago: “Our No. 1 takeaway is the fact that here are parts of Israel that continue to rely heavily on the Detroit community. The difference that we make here has a direct impact on the people in Israel.”
Andrew Landau of Royal Oak: “For me, seeing the impact that Detroit Jewry has made in Israel crystalizes the fundamental role the Federation has on the Jewish people. I have never felt more proud to be in Detroit, to be Jewish and to be part of the young leadership of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.”
Seth Fisher of Royal Oak: “Wherever we went — a kibbutz, a kindergarten for Ethiopian immigrants, a van for homeless teens in Tel Aviv — we’d run into something Detroit’s Jewish community is doing there. You go to see the Kotel (the Western Wall) and right next to it is an archaeological park created with funding by the late Bill Davidson and numerous names associated with Tamarack villages.”
Sara Bloomberg of Birmingham: “As a fellow participant said, ‘My favorite parts of the trip were the hugs.’ Ever since he said it, it has stuck with me. Everyone has their moment in Israel and our mission family helped everyone through. This is what family means, and this is what community means. I’m proud to come back to Detroit a BAMer!”
By Vivian Henoch, editor of myJewishDetroit
at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.