Set to fly – A conversation with Montreal Mega Mission Chairs Gail Adelson-Marcovitz and Jonathan Wener

Gail Adelson-Marcovitz and Jonathan Wener are looking to bring together 1,000 Montrealers in Israel for the 2014 Montreal Mega Mission.

Taking place in May 2014, the Montreal Mega Mission is a Federation CJA initiative that will see up to 1,000 members of the Montreal Jewish community embark on an eight-day, transformative journey to Israel.

This month, Tikun Olam caught up with Montreal Mega Mission Chairs, Gail Adelson-Marcovitz and Jonathan Wener.

[Tikun Olam] Jonathan, you were on the previous Montreal Mega Mission almost 20 years ago. What stands out about that experience?

[Jonathan Wener] I watched the entire group of 650 who were in individual bus missions of 18 buses come together in a magical and cohesive way. There was a spirit and an energy that was palpable and which gave me incredible energy to ensure that everyone received incredible value for their money and their time commitment. I still have people who come up to me and say that they felt like they had been given the privilege of a trip of a lifetime and one that was worth five times what they paid. What we learned together and experienced together in eight days has lasted all these years and were truly precious memories.

[T.O.] What were some of the noticeable effects that Mission had on our community?

[J.W.] The energy and cohesiveness spilled over to the entire community. When everyone got home, they told their stories to their friends, to their synagogues to their other affiliations and there was a buzz like I had not seen or witnessed from any other mission. New friends were made, new experiences were shared, people who had known each other for years became closer and most incredibly all kinds of new leadership developed as people stepped up to the plate to take the reins of our community in multiple directions for a great many years. Another magical effect was the incredible link that so many created with Israel who had never been there before and for those that had been there connections became stronger because they saw Israel through new and exciting venues. This we will deliver again I can assure you!

[T.O.]  What was it about the previous Mega Mission that made you want to come on board to Chair the 2014 edition? How do you foresee this one being different?

“No effort is being spared to explore the outrageous, the adventurous, the intellectually and spiritually challenging opportunities for one and all to enjoy.”

[J.W.] I rarely do things twice but I felt that the Mega Mission did so much good for young people, for first timers and for old timers. It was the unifying of our community, the electricity in the air and the genuine appreciation of all the participants that has driven me to Chair this mission with Gail. She has so much energy and intelligence that I know that we will deliver everything we did in 1996 times two. Even if everyone who was on the last mission joined this one I can promise you based on our planning it will be different from beginning to end. No effort is being spared to explore the outrageous, the adventurous, the intellectually and spiritually challenging opportunities for one and all to enjoy. I promise you an emotional roller coaster for individual bus missions who will come together 4 to 5 times and enjoy some activities that only a large group can afford. This will be the trip of a lifetime! It will be M3 : Memorable, meaningful, magical.

[T.O.] Gail, what is it about a Mega Mission that truly makes it unique – something that can’t be replicated on any other trip?

[Gail Adelson-Marcovitz] The sense of solidarity with and pride in our Jewish people and the incredible connection to our heritage and legacy that every participant will feel as he walks through the streets of Jerusalem and experiences Israel with 1,000 members of his community, as well as the truly unique and inspirational mega events that we can create due to the sheer size of the contingency.

[T.O.] What are some of your favourite events that participants will experience on this Mission?

[G.A.M.] My personal favourite is the evening planned at Masada where we have the opportunity to ascend the mountain as a community and then experience the desert at night as we celebrate Lag Ba’Omer with a Bedouin dinner at the base of the mountain, as well as the opportunity for more personalized tour options on our two individual track days where participants can chose from a wide array of themes and experience Israel their way.

[T.O.]  Why is it important for Federation CJA to invest in this Mission?

[G.A.M.] We are at a pivotal time or a crossroads and we can only secure the future of our Jewish community with a committed and invested membership and an empowered cohort of engaged leadership to support and guide us through the next decade.

[T.O.] Who are you trying to reach out to with this initiative?

[G.A.M.] Every member of our community is not only welcome but encouraged to travel with us. We are doing everything feasible to spread the net as far and wide as possible to encourage and include anyone who might be interested in joining us on this very special experience.

[T.O.] If you take a moment to fast forward to 2014, and visualize the Montreal Mega Mission, what’s the most prominent image that comes to mind?

[G.A.M.] Walking from Safra Square, alongside the ancient city walls of the old city approaching the Jaffa gates, arm in arm with friends and family, 1,000 strong, to the rhythmic beat of the drums, with the Montreal community logo illuminated on the walls ahead and experiencing the impact of a true “March to Jerusalem”.

Click here find out more about this incredible opportunity.

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