Tuesday, April 24, 2012
7 News Features: Journey to Jerusalem
The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has begun its 10-day trip to the Holy Land.
Woman: "It's my first time here. I'm so excited. I'm going to cry. Very emotional, very emotional."
Many of the children don't speak English and simply say "Shalom," which means hello.
The children greeted the group of over 700 people who flew to Jerusalem from South Florida.
The Greater Miami Jewish Federation organized the trip, which broke records due to the number of people who are part of it.
Bill Lehman, Past Chairman of Federation: "It's a great feeling to feel that you're a part of their family, and that they welcome you just like you were an Israeli."
The mission spans all ages, from 22 to 88, and consists of students, professionals, Holocaust survivors, and children of Holocaust survivors. Over 20 percent of the group has never been to Israel.
The hundreds of South Florida Jews made the trip in spite of the state's current difficult times. There have been threats to Israel, but Tuesday night, many of the faithful paid a visit to the holiest place in the world for those of the Jewish faith: the Wailing Wall. Jews from across the globe come to the Wall, where their prayers are heard and answered.
Maxine Graboyes, Federation Supporter: "The last time I was here was in 1957, and you couldn't go to the Wall, so coming back here all these years later and seeing that they really did it, it filled me up."
A major part of the Mega Mission trip involves going back and looking at the history of Judaism. One place in Israel, which was recently excavated, is believed to be the palace of King David. The state also houses the Mount of Olives, which serves a great deal of importance to both Jews and Christians alike.
During the 10-day trip, those on the mission will walk through tunnels built by David, a king of Israel; the tunnels have been around for generations. They will also get to see and even touch parts of their heritage and history.
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