More than 300 people from Jewish communities across the United States, Europe, South America and Australia set out yesterday for the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute's inaugural mission to Israel. Led by some 35 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries, together the delegations represent the largest Chabad-led trip to the Holy Land.
Organized by JLI, a leading provider of adult Jewish education curricula, as a follow-up to its fall "The Land and The Spirit" course, the mission will provide in-depth learning experiences at some of Judaism's holiest sites.
According to organizers, stops on the week-long trip will bring Jewish history to life, provide insight into the origins of the Talmud and Kabbalah, and explore the important place the Land of Israel occupies in Jewish consciousness. The itinerary includes lengthy visits to Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Safed, Tiberias, Hebron and the Dead Sea.
"The mission will feature more than ordinary tours," says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch. "Throughout the mission, participants will partake in inspiring Torah study relating to the sites they visit."
In addition to visiting and learning about Israel's holy sites, scenic locations and archeological finds, participants of the mission are slated to meet leading religious and Israeli political figures, including Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, former Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Knesset member and noted author Natan Sharansky. In addition, participants will interact with Israeli soldiers on the front lines and learn about Chabad's various social service organizations in the country.