Over 900 head to Israel on Federation CJA mission

Co-chairs of the Montreal Mega Mission. From left, Howard Stotland, Heather Adelson, Pascale Hasen, Eva Derhy and Jeff Hart

More than 900 people, one of whom is 100 years old, departed for Israel this week on the Montreal Mega Mission, a highlight of Federation CJA’s centennial activities.

Running from May 10-19, the mission attracted 100 first-time visitors to Israel and 116 return visitors from the last trip organized by the federation in 2014, which had close to 600 participants.

The group flew directly from Montreal to Tel Aviv on two chartered planes. Upon arrival, they boarded 19 buses and set off on a journey through the country.

The itinerary combines large group events with side excursions chosen according to personal interests. Other options offered were four days in Poland before going on to Israel, which 130 opted for, and several vacation packages within Israel after the mission has concluded.

Among the mission’s highlights include a tribute to the Six Day War heroes at Ammunition Hill on May 11, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.

Afterwards, the whole group will march with flags from Zion Gate to the Kotel. On May 12, there will be a ceremony honouring family members of fallen soldiers at Har Herzl.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will address the group on May 14 and two days later, participants will celebrate the federation’s 100th anniversary at the Beit Shean archaeological site.

The mission’s co-chairs — Heather Adelson, Pascale Hasen, Eva Derhy, Jeff Hart and Howard Stotland — promised participants “the most meaningful and magical trip to Israel you could ever imagine.”

This year, the federation allocated $3.8 million to Israel directly through partnerships with the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Hayesod and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The total amount CJA has raised for Israel since 1948 is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the federation said.