A Taste of Life: JWRP Trip Participants Give Back to Israel
When Carol Zweig went to Israel on a JWRP Momentum trip, she had no idea she would return with friends for life. "I had never been to Israel – as soon as I heard about the trip, I applied immediately, even though I knew no one", recalls Carol. But as soon as she arrived, she felt moved. "I cried the whole time. It was emotionally and physically exhausting. There was amazing camraderie and every opportunity was a learning opportunity." One such opportunity was the visit the women made to the One Family Fund – an charity that empowers Israel's victims of terror attacks. The Momentum women listened to the heartbreaking stories Israeli women told of how terror impacted their lives. After the visit, Carol shared a tearful moment of clarity with fellow trip participant Joni Quintos. Joni recalls, "I remember I asked her, 'Are you a doer?' and she asked me, 'Are you a doer?' and we agreed we needed to take action."
Together, Quintos and Zweig organized a fundraising event called 'A Taste of Life' to benefit the One Family Fund.The event, held in the Israeli-owned furniture and decor store Artemano in Toronto, featured drinks and recipes handcrafted by celebrated chef Susur Lee. Over 300 people participated in this event, and were awed by the five women speakers who were flown in from Israel to discuss how terror had impacted their lives. A variety of different communities came together for the event, and ended up raising over $100,000 to benefit One Family Fund.
The Taste of Life event, although wildly successful, was neither the first or last event Carol and Joni have organized for their tight-knit group of Momentum trip sisters in Toronto. It is one of many in a series of exciting activities that these women participate in on a monthly basis. "We've done everything from bowling to paint nights to guest speakers," says Carol. And they've got even more engaging activities scheduled for 2016 – challah bakes, creating gift baskets for Israeli soldiers, and an Israeli dancing lesson! "I consider us truly sisters. Through and through," says Joni.
How do these women stay so connected to each other? Carol and Joni organize monthly meetings for the group, there's a Facebook group that everyone can be a part of and they also talk to each other on a daily basis with What's App, the instant messaging application. At the core of this amazing community of women was the initial trip to Israel, which Carol never could have gone on without the JWRP. "I came back a different person," she says. While Joni had been to Israel twice before, she had never experienced what occurred on the Momentum trip with her JWRP sisters. "I get it now – feeling like you're home. Now, we can rely and count on each other," Joni says. As Carol and Joni's advocacy, fundraising, and community organizing have shown, their newfound sisterhood has made the world a better place.
For more information about One Family Fund, click here.