The JN published several articles in 1993 about the mission itself, its itinerary and memories from individual travelers.

It has been a month since JN Editorial Director Jackie Headapohl and I returned from Israel as members of the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit’s 2023 Motor City Mission. I should add that we are officially Bus #3-ers, a lifetime honorific.

BTW — there is an unconfirmed rumor circulating around the JN office that Jackie is even considering getting a “Bus 3” tattoo.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Alene and Graham Landau Archivist Chair

Still in the throes of a fantastic trip and, of course, the best mission ever — which is, of course, what everyone from past missions said about their experience — I thought I might do a bit of research about the first mission, the “Miracle Mission,” in 1993. The William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History holds plenty of reports about and wonderful images of that original mission.

Leading up to its departure for Israel, the Miracle Mission had great advertisements in the JN. One from April 16, 1993, had a simple message: “Next Week in Jerusalem.” An earlier ad foretold an extraordinary story: “On April 18, 1,284 Detroiters will fly from Metro Airport to Tel Aviv …” (March 12).

OK, I really loved our Motor City Mission, but we do not own the “largest ever” title. The Miracle Mission could boast of nearly 1,300 members! Wow. That’s a lot of busloads of Detroiters!

William Davidson Digital Archive

The JN published several articles in 1993 about the mission itself, its itinerary and memories from individual travelers. “On the Fly” reported that, “Detroit’s Miracle Mission had a happy 10 days in Israel (just like the happy times of Motor City Mission in 2023). The May 21, 1993, JN had a follow-up story: “Mission Moments.” It appears that I’m not the only person who talked about a Mission a month after its return to Detroit.

Photographs best document the Miracle Mission’s success. Images of happy participants were featured in the May 21, 1993, JN. Also look at “One Big, Happy, Airport Party” in the April 23, 1993, issue. In the JN’s Year in Review on Sept. 10, 1993, see “5754: “Detroit Looks for its own Miracles.”

Perhaps the best photo of all is in the May 14 issue. “Welcome Back, 1993 Michigan Miracle Mission!” is a two-page image of all 1,300 people sitting on what is now known as the Hermelin Steps in Jerusalem.

The editorial in the April 16, 1993, issue, published before the Miracle Mission left Detroit on April 18, anticipated the impact of the excursion: “The ‘miracle’ of the mission wasn’t the large numbers who attended, but the ‘miracle’ came in the follow-up and change that it created.” Indeed.

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at

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