What happens when a couple with one Jewish partner is given the chance to explore Israel for nine days?
They come back with new memories, new friends, and a new sense of community.
That’s how it went for Revi and Dave who participated in Honeymoon Israel back in 2017. Flash forward two years and they’re still moved by memories of that time. Just as important, they are still actively involved with the community of friends they met through the program.
Honeymoon Israel, funded by UJA-Federation, starts off by bringing New York couples to Israel for nine days of fun, learning about the country, and exploring their connection to Judaism and the Jewish community. When couples return, Honeymoon Israel provides a network of support for the next steps of their Jewish journey. For Revi who is Catholic, and Dave who is Jewish, it also meant a chance to meet couples like them, with one Jewish partner, as well as couples where both partners are Jewish
“Honeymoon Israel gave me a way to find my place in a Jewish community,” Revi says. “During our trip, we heard a talk by Avraham Infeld, a Jewish educator. He gave me the language to think about my role: I may not be Jewish, but through marriage I’ve aligned myself with the Jewish people.”
A weekend retreat in the Catskills with Honeymoon Israel last fall also made a lasting impression on Dave, who recalls why he enjoyed sharing the experience with Revi.
“It was similar to the Israel trip in a way,” he says. “The weekend allowed Revi to experience Jewish communal life as I did growing up going to Jewish summer camp or activities with a Jewish youth group.”
Revi and Dave continue to maintain friendships they made on the Israel trip through regularly hosting Shabbat dinners in their home. At Passover, Revi and David hosted a seder and welcomed friends from their trip who now have a one-year-old son.
“It was his first seder,” Revi said, proudly sharing a Jewish connection with the next generation.