Interfaith Study Mission - March 3-15, 2019

The Greensboro Interfaith Study Mission to Israel leverages the bonds formed on the mission for building trust, respect and understanding across spiritual preferences, religions, races, ethnicities, and cultures in the Triad.


The vision for the Interfaith Mission is to strengthen the Greensboro community by:

  • Encouraging people to form relationships across cultures and around common goal of building community. 
  • Building trust and understanding of different spiritual and faith backgrounds and experiences while being together.
  • Promoting cooperative activities in the community following the Mission; and
  • Helping participants gain greater understanding of the complex issues pertaining to the Middle East today and apply learnings back home.

History of Interfaith Study Mission


In December, 1992, Joanne Bluethenthal and Gail LeBauer presented a proposal to the Greensboro Jewish Federation Board to create and co-sponsor an Interfaith Study Mission to Israel in 1994 to be co-sponsored with NCCJ. The model for the mission was based upon such missions co-sponsored by the Birmingham Jewish Federation and NCCJ. The concept was approved and in February of 1993, the Federation Board of Trustees heard a full discussion presented by Joel Rotenstreich of Birmingham. Funding by the Federation Board was approved at this meeting. 


The first mission was planned and executed in 1994 and subsequent missions have been held in 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2016. A 2002 Mission was cancelled due to the political climate in the Middle East at that time. In 2007, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro joined as a sponsoring
agency and funder based upon its Social Capital Study. The earlier missions were staffed by GJF and NCCJ Executive Directors. The CFGG VP for Grants and Initiatives has also participated and was involved in the planning of the 2009 and 2012 missions.  Mission chairs have included:

1994:  Mission Co-chairs Joanne Bluethenthal and Gail LeBauer


1997    Mission Co-Chairs:  Rev. Ken Carter and Gail LeBauer


1999    Mission Co-chairs:  Sylvia and Mike Berkelhammer, Claudette Burroughs-White and Larry and Ann Hooker

2005    Mission Co-Chairs: Claudette Burroughs-White and Nancy Brenner


2009    Mission Co-Chairs:  Nancy Brenner and Shirley Frye


2012:  Mission Co-Chairs:  Nancy Brenner, Cathy Levinson, Donna and Bob Newton


2016: Mission Co-Chairs:  Nancy Brenner and Rev. Odell Cleveland

2019 Co-Chairs:

Nancy Brenner, Rev. Odell Cleveland and Ron Milstein

Some previous trip highlights

Cultural Programs

            Inbal Dance Group

            Israeli Philharmonic

            Bedouin Desert Experience with camel rides


Modern Israel

Tel Aviv: 

US Embassy – U.S.-Israel Relations

Independence Hall; beginning of statehood

Palmach Museum

Rabin Center/Memorial

Art Museum

Tzofim Alef – Underground Factory

Yafo – Jaffa Community Center

Arts and Crafts Outdoor Market (Tuesdays)


City Hall and the Israeli Supreme Court

Hadassah Hospital

Israel Museum and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Bible Lands Museum

Knesset – Israel’s Parliament

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum

Tower of David Museum/Sound and Light Show

Machane Yehudah (Fruit and Vegetable Market)


Masada, Qumrun, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found

Roman ruins such as Caesarea

Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem

Southern Wall Excavations and the Western Wall Tunnels

 Acco and Templars, Ramchal Synagogue, El Jazar Mosque


Beit She’an


Religious Sites

Nazareth and the Church of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well, White Mosque

Canna, Tabgha, Capernaum and Mount of Beatitudes

Jesus Boat near the Sea of Galilee and Baptism in the Jordan River

Mt. Tabor and the Church of the Transfiguration

B’hai Temple in Haifa

Via Delarosa and Stations of the Cross and the Holy Sepulcher

Gesthemene, the Garden Tomb and the Caeniculum, room of the Last Supper

Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity

Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosques – Temple Mount

The Kotel – the Western Wall, Southern Wall Excavations, Shabbat Dinner

Synagogue and Church Services in Jerusalem

Jewish and Christian Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem


Borders with:

Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank

Har Ben Tal

Rosh Hanikra

The Outdoors

            Hiking in the Desert and the Galilee

            Floating on the Dead Sea

            Jeep Rides

            Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee


Current Issues/Scholars and Speakers on Pertinent and Timely Topics

The Territories, Security Issues and the Security Fence

Israeli Arab – Israeli Jewish concerns; Palestinian Statehood – Yad B’Yad

Absorption of New Immigrants from Ethiopia, FSU


Elderly/Children – Yad La Kashish, Yemin Orde Youth Village

Israeli companies doing business in NC

LGBTQ Community in Israel

Domestic Israeli politics

Ultra Orthodox Jewry


Holocaust Survivor


OTHER HIGHLIGHTS… Middle Eastern Delicacies, conversations with the people, unique shopping, FUN!