Seven young adults from JewEL recently returned home from the first ever Alan Bachman Young Adult Delegation to Ramat HaNegev, Israel. Each person came home with a new and enhanced love for Israel, a greater understanding of life in Ramat HaNegev, and meaningful bonds and relationships with young adults living in Ramat HaNegev. The delegation was generously funded by Alan Bachman as part of his passion to secure the future of Israel. “We are so beyond thankful to Alan for making this trip possible,” noted Marissa Spivak. “Thanks to his vision, passion, and generosity, the lives of 7 young adults in Las Vegas were forever changed. This trip was just a building block in a long term journey that we have committed to embark upon as a Jewish Community and as Young Adults.”
The delegation included Marissa Spivak, Amy Rose, Dr. Azin Azma, David Gould, Romeo Razi, and Robert Jacob-Wank. Marni Unger, the Director of Young Leadership at the Jewish Federation, was also on the delegation. All of the participants have either never been to Israel, or have not been there in more than 10 years. “All of the participants brought their own unique perspective to the trip,” noted Unger. “Everyone came from different backgrounds, different careers, different stages in life and different relationships with Israel. But everyone was there to find something deeper in their connection to Israel and to themselves.”
The seven-day delegation spent the majority of the trip in Ramat HaNegev (a large region in the south of Israel, totaling 22% of the area of the country) learning about the diverse and incredible culture, projects, and community in the South of Israel. Delegation highlights included visiting Ben-Gurion’s grave and learning about his vision for the Negev, meeting with political leaders including Major Riffman and his son Elul Riffman, learning about the relationship with the Bedouins and having an authentic cultural experience with the Bedouins, and a very special Kabbalat Shabbat experience on a Kibbutz.
“Every day was packed with activities,” noted Amy Rose. “There was always something new to see and learn, new people to meet, and of course lots of amazing food to try! One of my favorite days we went to an elementary school and saw the incredible campus which was designed to bring learning outside and encourage students to learn in fresh air, plant gardens, and learn about the physical world around them through experience. From there we went to an agricultural center to learn about the incredible technologies being used to grow produce in the middle of the desert. And that was just the morning! ” The trip concluded in Jerusalem where participants visited Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum) and the Kotel (Western Wall).
“When we were creating the itinerary for the delegation to Ramat HaNegev we wanted to put together something really unique and special,” noted Unger. “Most of the things we did were very hands on and designed to inspire deep and meaningful conversations. We wanted participants to ‘get their hands dirty’ literally and figuratively. And that’s exactly what they did.”
The delegation took place on March 8th and returned on March 15th. “We are eternally grateful to the generosity of Alan Bachman,” noted Todd Polikoff, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation. “Thanks to his commitment and vision, we are building the future leaders of our Jewish Community here in Las Vegas and in Israel. We look forward to more projects and opportunities to strengthen the relationship between Las Vegas and Ramat HaNegev and continue to build a generation of leaders who are passionate about Israel.”