My Two Shekels: Connecting San Diego to Israel

As you know, a pillar of our Federation work is connecting San Diego to Israel. We do this both by bringing San Diegans to Israel and by bringing Israel to San Diego.  

Examples of our work bringing Israel to San Diego include our annual Celebrate Israel Fest, which attracts nearly 4,000 members of our community for the daylong celebration of Israel’s independence. We are also proud to work with a fabulous committee of volunteers who organize the annual Yom HaZikaron ceremony, remembering Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. And of course there is our flagship ShinShinim program, which brings post high school Israelis to live in San Diego for an entire year while they engage with and bring authentic Israeli culture and education to thousands of children, teens, families, and seniors throughout San Diego. Our newest ShinShinim are officially ‘in-town’, so please look out for them and help us make them feel welcome! If you would like a ShinShin to visit your child’s school or congregation, please contact These dynamic and articulate young Israelis are a crown jewel in our community!

Ways in which we bring San Diegans to Israel include our support of programs like Birthright Israel, Masa long-term Israel experience programs, My Israel Journey teen Israel travel experiences, and the new Community Teen Initiative’s Teen Leadership Trip to Israel, which brought 17 teens for the first time just this past spring. 

We are especially proud that Federation is working on TWO exciting trips to Israel in 2020.  

We expect 30-40 women to participate on the first time Pauline Foster Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Development Institute trip to Israel in February 2020. These fabulous leaders - and other members of the Women’s Philanthropy Board - will culminate their 15 months of leadership training by spending an unforgettable week visiting, touring, bonding and learning about Israel together.  We are so grateful to the Foster family for making this trip possible!

The second trip is being coordinated in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, and is entitled Start-Up Nation Meets Social Innovation. Israel is widely known as the “Start-Up Nation,” yet few people are aware of the country’s leadership in innovation to address the most pressing global, social, and environmental challenges. This special Community Trip to Israel will have a unique focus on the country’s global leadership in social innovation. 

Travelers will have an exclusive opportunity to experience Israel through a different lens. We will explore the nonprofit and for-profit social enterprises, incubators, accelerators and research facilities that are at the heart of Israel’s leadership in addressing the world’s urgent needs in health, climate, poverty, hunger and other issues.  We will spend significant time on the ground in our partnership region of Sha’ar HaNegev to meet with entrepreneurs and dynamic change agents that are fostering both regional economic development as well as global and social change. We will meet prominent CEOs, social entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers.  

This Community Trip is scheduled for April 20-26, 2020. 

Federation is proud to work with JCF to showcase the good that Israel does in the world, while fostering deeper connections between San Diegans and our Jewish homeland.  We invite you to travel with us and ask that you encourage others to join us on this one-of-a-kind trip.  We expect to sell out so be sure to complete and turn in our registration form ASAP.    

As we look for more ways to connect San Diego to Israel, I am also excited to announce that the new Mayor of Sha’ar HaNegev, Ofir Libstein, will be visiting us next week.  During his visit, which includes meetings with organizational partners, donors, and other community leaders, we will undoubtedly deepen the connection between our two communities, which is a source of pride for all of us.    



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