The Jewish Agency for Israel has announced its first-ever mission to Mexico in order to gain a more thorough perspective about Jewish life in the United State’s neighboring country.
The mission will visit Mexico between May 22-27.
As the American Jewish community continues to grapple with several challenges related to Jewish identity, the inaugural mission to Mexico will provide a unique view into a community that puts a strong and successful focus on Jewish education, Jewish identity, and Israel engagement.
“At The Jewish Agency we want to help people find their way into Jewish life and have a meaningful connection with Israel, and Mexico is actually a great example of how that can happen,” said Charles Pulman, a lay leader of The Jewish Agency from Dallas TX who together with his wife Janine and Stuart Mordfin of NY, is serving as Co-Chair of the mission. “On the one hand, the community is a tiny minority with little political influence, surrounded by crime and a frightening security reality, while on the other hand a thriving community where 95% of Jewish children attend Jewish day schools and members embody Jewish life in a pluralistic and empowering way.”
The mission will spend most of its time in Mexico City exploring the city’s Jewish institutions and synagogues, while also engaging closely with the community’s leadership. In addition, the participants will also meet with local Jewish Agency shlichim (emissaries) and young adults who have returned from Jewish Agency partner programs like Taglit-Birthright and MASA – all of whom are now shaping the Jewish future in Mexico.
The trip will also include a one-day excursion to the remote region of Oaxaca, where the delegation will experience first-hand the humanitarian work of Project TEN, a Jewish Agency program that brings young Jewish adults from around the world to volunteer in Israel or developing regions. This visit will also mark the successful 15-year partnership between Mexico, Eshkol, and Northeastern New York as part of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether platform.
Today there are around 41,000 Jews living in Mexico, with almost half of Jewish children involved in a youth movement and nearly every one of them spending the summer in Israel at age 16, either through school or their youth movement. All Jewish youth programs in Mexico are supported and managed by Bitui, The Jewish Agency’s educational resource center in Mexico, which in partnership with the community established a local organization with its own board, that holds the provision of informal Jewish education.