It’s been nine years since the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s last Mega Mission, a trip allowing community members to take a deep dive into Israel’s cities, culture and religious traditions.
Now, following two crises in the local Jewish community — the October 2018 synagogue attacks and the pandemic — Mega Mission is back and even bigger than before. The goal is to take 500 community members to Israel in 2022, which would be the largest group ever to travel from Pittsburgh to the Jewish state.
“Mega Mission represents an opportunity to show our community’s resilience,” Adam Hertzman, director of marketing for the Federation, told the Chronicle. “This is such a diverse community in terms of race, age, and religious observation. Mega Mission brings together people from all walks of life to experience the importance of the Jewish community.”
There are several different tracks that participants can choose from when joining the Mega Mission, which will run from June 13-22, 2022. The family track includes intergenerational families or parents with children ages 10 and older, and will be centered on family-friendly activities, according to Hertzman. The first-timer’s track is the ideal choice for those who have never been to Israel and includes sightseeing, outdoor adventures and city tours. There is also a young-adult track with activities that include meeting with an Israeli entrepreneur and indulging in local whisky and wine tastings.
The itinerary for all programs includes several days in Tel Aviv, a Shabbat dinner in Jerusalem and a visit to Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether sister cities of Karmiel and Misgav. There will also be multiple stops to allow participants to speak with locals and indulge in Israeli culture.
Scott Seewald, a Mega Mission co-chair, was on the Federation’s previous Mega Mission in 2012. “The Federation did a great job of creating a Mega Mission of hundreds of people while still granting participants the ability to bond with people in our age group,” he said. “I have been to Israel before and the Mission is different. The Mission can uniquely allow people to do activities which can only be done on Mega Mission.”
Limited subsidies are available for participants who sign up for Mega Mission. The early bird special provides a discount of $1,000 to the first 500 participants who register before December 12, 2021. There is an additional $500 subsidy for the first 60 young adults — between the ages of 22 and 45 — to sign up for the young-adult track. The first 30 children to sign up for the family track will also get a $500 subsidy. A more detailed list of available subsidies can be found on the Federation’s website.
So far more than100 people have signed up for Mega Mission, and registration is well ahead of where it was at this point in 2011, according to Hertzman.
“It has always been such a great way to bring Jewish Pittsburgh together and, from our perspective, is a way to tell people about the work that the Jewish Federation does in a real, living way,” he said.
Visit jewishpgh.org/mega-mission or email Jordan Tal at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for Mega Mission. PJC
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