Young Leaders Visit Jewish Communities in Spain and Morocco
The annual study mission of The Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet returned from Morocco and Spain April 29. The trip, which highlighted the special relationship both countries have with the Jewish people, also helped the group understand the importance of supporting vibrant Jewish communities throughout the globe. One of the Moroccan port cites, for example, is home to only 18 Jews and Jewish Federation is there – ensuring they have access to kosher food, medical care and housing.
In Spain, Federation supports many programs and initiatives – among them a day school which serves 300 students. The group visited the school and joined the students for an assembly on the basketball court to welcome Shabbat with songs, challah, candles and grape juice.
Two local Austin community members, Jewel Sud and Amy Kline, took part in this important mission.
“As someone whose ancestors were forced to flee from Spain and someone who experienced anti-Semitism in middle and high school, celebrating Shabbat at The Jewish School of Madrid was the most meaningful to me. Here we were in Spain, at a school, dancing hand-in-hand with children of all ages and my Chèvre, singing Am Yisrael Chai - all of us so proud to be celebrating our Judaism,” said Sud. “My emotions overcame me. We are here, we are strong, and we are not going anywhere! I've never felt more connected to my Judaism. Knowing that the dollars we raise here in Austin go to support programs like World ORT, ensuring that the Jews of Spain receive a quality Jewish education, made the experience even more powerful. We are all connected and care deeply for our family of Jewish people around the globe.”
Kline’s mission experience was also life-changing.
“Being in my fourth year of Cabinet, every year the Study Missions, a trip taken once a year to different countries around the world, have given me the opportunity to not only see where Federations’ dollars are so widely needed and put to great use, but also spend time with my Chèvre, a special group of friends who have changed my life for the better. I am proud to be part of an incredible group of leaders who are also passionate about helping Jewish people all over the world,” she said. ■
For more information, contact Samara Tesler at Samara.Tesler@JewishFederations.org.