On January 29 seven women leaders from Jewish Nevada departed for Jewish Federations of North America’s Heart to Heart, a Women’s Journey to Israel. Upon arriving “home” in Israel, the women spent their first three days together as a local Nevada community. Visits included the Old City of Jerusalem, the Kotel, Masada, and the Dead Sea.


Before joining 60+ women from across North America the group also spent time in Nevada’s sister community of Ramat HaNegev. First, meeting with Mayor Eron Doron to learn about the state of the region. Next the group toured the brand-new high school and young adult centers in the region that have been made possible by the generosity of the Judy & Ronald Mack Religious Foundation and The Davis Family Foundation, respectively. Then partnership coordinator, Jared White, took the group to experience some of the local cuisine at a cheese shop overlooking the whole region. The women had the experience of standing above all three solar farms in the region to learn more about the technological advances and connections to the United States. The time in the region ended with a trip to the local farm to learn more about the production of local cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and pineapple.


On February 2 the women joined the group in Tel Aviv for what was sure to be an inspiring and transformative experience. For two delegates, Abigail Millan and Jillian Potashnick, it was their first  trip to Israel. “As an adult b’nai mitzvah last year, this trip was my gift to myself, and I am so privileged to have had this experience” said Potashnick.


The group of 60+ women from across North American embarked on a journey that changed their lives — enabling them to impact lives in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. This year was the 10th anniversary trip for Heart to Heart. Together with other like-minded women, the group saw firsthand the incredible work Federations make possible. The trip lifted spirits and created lifelong friendships. “There is something special about being in Israel with a group of strong and passionate women” said Melanie Howard, local Heart to Heart mission chair, who was on this mission for the second time, ”You feel a renewed sense of inspiration and motivation, ready to come back home inspired to do this work, on behalf of the community.”


Itinerary highlights included visits with Federation partners the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), home hospitality dinner with Israeli Lions of Judah, The Museum of Islamic Art, the Shalva Center for disability inclusion, and so much more.


The final day of the trip culminated with a beautiful Bat Mitzvah ceremony facilitated by scholar in residence Rabbi Elka Albrahamson. All trip participants were eligible to become a Bat Mitzvah, eight special women took the next step in their Jewish journey to do so, including local delegate, Lauren Chew. “As a Jew by choice this was a very special experience” said Chew. By the end of the moving ceremony there was not a dry eye in the house. Immediately following, the women broke up into small groups to share their reflections of the trip. Several common themes included re-integrated, re-energized, leadership, and the power of women. “A room without a woman is a room without a future” Shimon Perese.


For more information on Jewish Nevada, Jewish Federations of North America, and Women’s Philanthropy contact Megan Weintraub, megan@jewishnevada.org.