Exploring Jewish Life in Morocco and Madrid

Tags: Federation, Blog, Young Adults, Leadership, Women

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Six Jewish Cleveland young leaders recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime journey, visiting Jewish communities in Morocco and Spain with the National Young Leadership Cabinet (NYLC) Study Mission. 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.

Did you know: One of the Moroccan port cites is home to only 18 Jews and Jewish Federation is there – ensuring they have access to kosher food, medical care, and housing. And in Spain, Federation supports many programs and initiatives – among them a day school which serves 300 students.

Check out some highlights and photos below from the Cleveland delegation, which included Margaret Frankel, Rachel Hesier, Michelle Hirsch (Cabinet Co-Chair), Justin Kadis, Elissa Wuliger, and Sarah Zimmerman:

Visiting a Federation-supported school in Madrid, and joining the students for an ‘assembly’ on the basketball court to welcome Shabbat.


Reflection from Michelle Hirsch, National Young Leadership Cabinet Co-Chair

This past week I had the honor of traveling with 140 of North America's most dedicated young Jewish philanthropists to Morocco and Madrid on JFNA's 2018 National Young Leadership Cabinet Study Mission.

Experiencing Judaism, Islam and Christianity coexistence first-hand was simply fascinating. While the history and scenery are both interesting and beautiful, it was the people I met along the way that made this trip truly a life changing experience.

Each of these people have a story. Some sad. Some happy. It didn’t matter that we spoke a different language. We connected with our eyes, our smiles and our dedication to make their lives better.

Please take a moment to scroll through my photos and read about these incredible people. Their stories are now my stories to share; to show the world how to put life in perspective, to remove bias and see people for who they are, to appreciate what you have and most importantly to give back.

Our Federation dollars change their lives AND their stories have changed mine.

Teachers and students of a Muslim/Jewish high school in Casablanca. Brenda and Sarah have been friends for several years. They know they have different religions but respect their differences and cherish their friendship.

While our Federation dollars do not support this Muslim orphanage, we showed this group of young men that Jewish Americans care - shaping their perspective and reinforcing the importance of coexistence.

David Hatchwell is one of Madrid's most generous Jewish philanthropists. His family originally moved from Morocco to Spain seeking a better life. Now his family gives back by investing in the growing Jewish community of Madrid.

Two sisters at the Jewish old age home in Casablanca. We didn't need to speak the same language. We connected instantly and my visit ended with a kiss, her raising her hands to the air and then to her heart - speaking one word: "America!"

National Young Leadership Cabinet (NYLC) is the premier leadership philanthropic program of JFNA for dedicated men and women, ages 30 to 45, from across the United States and Canada who are deeply committed to building a strong, vibrant future for the Jewish people.

For more information, please contact Jessie Bruder at jbruder@jcfcleve.org.

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