SaddleBrooke Israel Friendship Club kicks off January 9

Larry Stillman

On Monday, January 9, the newly-formed SaddleBrooke Israel Friendship Club (SIFC) will hold its first meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the HOA 2 Mesquite Grill.

The club is an education and advocacy group open to SaddleBrooke residents of all faiths and political orientations. Its goal is to foster a better understanding of Israel’s contributions, challenges, opportunities, cultures and people in order to promote a healthy relationship between our citizens and those of Israel. It is also hoped that it might spark a travel initiative between the regions, especially as Israel is now more tourist friendly thanks to a growth in hotels, improved flight paths, and other travel services like Eilat rent a car.

We are very excited about this kick-off meeting as it will showcase our plans to organize a once in a lifetime trip to Israel for SaddleBrooke residents in the fall of 2018. We will work with Tucson’s Weintraub Israel Center, which put together a wildly successful nine day adventure to Israel this past winter. The trip, comprised of Jews and Christians alike, filled participants with days of learning, spiritual enlightenment, fabulous food and music and travel memories that will last a lifetime. The SIFC trip promises to offer all this and more, emphasizing firsthand interaction with the Israeli people themselves.

As part of our January 9 launch meeting, we will host two captivating speakers. Oshrat Barel, director of the Weintraub Israel Center, will discuss and answer questions about the Center’s recent trip and its plans to work with SIFC for the 2018 Israel adventure. We will also be fortunate to hear Marcia Winer, a Green Valley artist and participant in the Center’s recent Israel tour. She has put together a 12-panel exhibition of pictures that she took during the trip. It tells a beautiful story of her personal experience. But be forewarned: their enthusiasm is contagious! Also present will be two Israeli high school graduates to meet and answer questions. So mark your calendars for this exciting kick-off meeting and prepare to get caught up in the ground-floor planning of this upcoming adventure and in the anticipation of hopefully being a part of it.

Of course, a trip to Israel tailored to SaddleBrooke residents is only a small taste of SIFC’s upcoming events. Meetings featuring a variety of topics and speakers will be held monthly through May. On March 6, for example, we will host Professor Sharon Megdal. She has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East as Director of the University of Arizona Water Resource Research Center. She is a riveting presenter and will share some of her first-hand knowledge about the Arizona water crisis and its connection to Israeli innovations.

Watch this space next month for more SIFC news and please plan to join us on January 9 for good fellowship and an exciting program that may have you saying, “Next year (OK, year after next) in Jerusalem!”

For further information about the SaddleBrooke Israel Friendship Club please contact Seth Basker at [email protected].