In March of 2012, a contingency of 28 people, aged 21-42, traveled to Las Vegas for an exciting Jewish Federations of North America conference called Tribefest. We felt inspired by the international gathering of 1,800 young Jews and empowered by many of the sessions and speakers. As the conference began to wind down, some of us wondered how we could bring that excitement back to Kansas City; how could we be the change the Jewish community needs to move to the next level?
To answer this question, a small group of us decided to create what we would most want. The outcome, “Israel Together,” is not a communitywide mission. More than a trip, “Israel Together” will be a journey for people in their 30s and 40s, singles and couples, regardless of their current level of affiliation to the Jewish Federation.
“ ‘Israel Together’ will not only take us to Israel; it will bring us back home. And in doing so, we will be in a position to design the future of the Kansas City Jewish community,” explained committee member Amy Shapiro.
Beginning in the fall, we will have sessions to learn about the places we will visit as well as work done here in Kansas City that supports those places and programs. We will begin to create the bonds that will be cemented during the “Israel Together” mission, slated for March 30-April 9, 2014.
Amy Ravis Furey, Jewish Federation Learning for Life associate, said, “What makes ‘Israel Together’ unique is its sense of purpose, guaranteeing participants a stronger sense of community and appreciation of a united Jewish community in Kansas City and world-wide.”
We know that people in our age group care passionately about being Jewish. With the diminishing threat of anti-Semitism in America, our Jewish contemporaries have more choices than ever — and the Jewish community is not always where people choose to spend their time and money.
“Our sincere hope is that this group strengthens its engagement in and financial support of the Jewish community through this Israel experience,” said committee member Sarah Beren.
Alan Edelman, associate executive director of the Jewish Federation agrees, “The heart can’t feel what the eyes can’t see.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, under the leadership of Board Chair Miriam Scharf and CEO Todd Stettner, are in such strong support of the goals of “Israel Together” that the board of directors has committed to a $1,500 subsidy for each participant. “Israel Together” is generously underwritten by the Polsky Family Supporting Foundation/Jewish Federation Endowment Fund.
Besides the two of us, the committee includes Sarah and Peter Beren, Michelle Goldsmith, Amy and Peter Shapiro, Michael Liss, Erin and Dan Margolin, Alan Shafton and Meg and Justin Shaw
“Regardless of whether you have been to Israel five times or have never had the opportunity, this mission will be the ideal mix of tourism, learning and fun,” said Michelle Goldsmith, another committee member.
Plans are underway for the itinerary and the accompanying sessions. Please join us from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on June 6 at OP1906 in the Overland Park Sheraton Hotel. We will have tentative details about the whole program and expected costs. Or, if you are interested but cannot attend our June 6 event, contact Furey at
We are excited to share “Israel Together!”