Tikvah Participants on a boat ride on the Kinneret/Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of Howard Blas
By Renee Ghert-Zand
Los Angeles Jewish communal professional Michelle Wolf’s daughter had been on a Birthright Israel trip, and she wanted her 22-year-old son Danny to have the same experience. But until recently, she thought that a free Israel tour together with young peers was not in the cards for Danny, who has cerebral palsy and many specialized needs.
To Wolf’s delight, her son is headed to Israel this December on the first-ever Ramah Tikvah/Amazing Israel Birthright Israel trip. Ramah, the camping arm of Conservative Judaism, has organized Israel trips for Tikvah Program participants and alumni in the past. This, however, is the first one being offered in collaboration with the exceptionally successful initiative that has brought more than 600,000 young Jews to Israel since 1999.
“When we got an email about the trip, we were so excited! Danny is thrilled to be going to Israel with some of his friends from Camp Ramah in California, where he has gone for the last nine summers,” said Wolf.
According to National Ramah Tikvah Network director Howard Blas, between 20 and 25 young adults with disabilities are expected to fly to Israel from New York on December 18 for the 10-day adventure. The trip’s itinerary includes Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Galilee, and Masada. There will also be unique opportunities, such as a meeting and conversation with IDF soldiers with disabilities.