Photo credit: CJN/Bob Jacob
By Ed Wittenberg
Andria Kaplan’s connection to Israel goes back five generations.
Kaplan, who moved back to Cleveland in July after a five-month experience in Israel supported by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, talked about her journey at the launch event for the Federation’s 2016 Campaign for Jewish Needs Sept. 10 at the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood.
In the early 20th century, Kaplan’s great-great-grandfather, Ya’akov Koppelman, left Lithuania to become one of Israel’s first settlers, she said. He brought two of his three sons with him.
One son could not get a visa in time, she said. That was her great-grandfather, Samuel Koppelman, who settled in Elyria, where Kaplan grew up.
“Five generations later, the story of my great-great-grandfather Ya’akov and all of his Zionist dreams are still bringing to life the love of Israel in me,” she said.
Three years ago, Kaplan left for Israel for the first time, traveling the same path her grandparents had decades before.
“They always told me Israel is home,” said Kaplan, a 2013 graduate of the University of Akron. “Somewhere deep in my heart, I knew they were right.”
Kaplan, who worked as an account executive in the Cleveland Jewish News’ advertising department after serving as the Nina and Norman Wain Advertising Intern, said she discovered the Federation’s I-Connect initiative would connect her to an array of Israel experiences. She chose a Masa Israel Journey career program that began in February.
Continue reading about Andria's Masa Israel experience in Cleveland Jewish News.