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Jul 22, 2018 By Lisa Grier Category: Travel,
First-time JNF mission leader calls Israel trip 'powerful, life-changing'
|Author Lisa Grier (bottom center) with her mission participants.|
After traveling internationally for two months in a row, first to Israel, and then to China, I am so happy to be back home in the great USA. We are very lucky, as Jewish Americans, to have the opportunity to visit Israel whenever we choose and to support it through amazing nonprofit organizations like Jewish National Fund. The trip to Israel was the first mission I led as a JNF professional. I never wanted it to end.
A few other things made my to Israel trip even more special. My mother, a Jew by choice, decided to come to the Holy Land for her first time. Seeing the country and the work that JNF does through her eyes was very special and something I will never forget. She said she had had absolutely no idea what a large influence and impact JNF makes in Israel. I could tell my mom is really proud of the work I am doing and now fully understands my passion.
|Lisa Grier and her mom on their recent trip to Israel.|
She and I got to see firsthand what Jewish National Fund has done in the Central Arava. We visited AICAT (Arava International Center for Agriculture Training), where we met students from Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia. These students embark on a 10- to 11-month program where they learn things like how to grow different crops and about the water drip system (which was invented by Israel). They they go back to their respective countries and grow crops not only to feed their families but enough to sell for their own businesses. This is one of the many positive Israel programs JNF helps fund. I was so moved to see and meet students from Vietnam who were proud to wear the Star of David.
|Lisa Grier with JNF CEO Russell Robinson.|
You have to realize that serving in the IDF is a rite of passage for Israelis. All of their parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles, brothers, and sisters served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Now, with the help of this dynamic program, people who are autistic, blind, deaf, missing a limb, or in a wheelchair (to name a few) can serve their country. They also are given the opportunity to learn life skills that prepare them for the workforce after their service. Geri Kate loves this program and would love to share it with every country. She sees Israel as being very progressive for those with disabilities, something she hopes will catch on quickly throughout the world.Geri Kate is a current OC board member, serves on the JNF Disabilities Task Force, and is a Sapphire member.