"Some of our participants feel that Israel is at its safest at a time like this, because of all the additional security precautions that have been taken," says Cindy Rogoway, JCF associate campaign director and mission coordinator.
"Others feel that no matter what's going on in Israel, it's still safer to walk down the streets of Jerusalem than most cities in the United States."
Some also feel that "showing solidarity with the people of Israel is a factor," Rogoway says.
"But the most important motivation of all is the excitement surrounding the 3000th anniversary of the founding of Jerusalem and the international celebration that will be in full swing while we're there."
Mission chair Marlyn McClaskey of Greenbrae agrees.
"I can't wait to climb the King David Tower with my husband, Larry," says McClaskey, "to stand on the parapet overlooking the Dome of the Rock and the rest of Jerusalem, and look out over all those thousands of years of history being celebrated in the streets below."
For Marlyn McClaskey, this will be her sixth trip to Israel; for Larry, his first.
"While everyone feels that safety is a concern, it's not a problem," she says.
"We've talked about this at both of our briefing meetings, and our participants — first-timers and veterans, alike — feel confident they'll be safe."
Paul Levine of San Carlos is one of those veterans who is not worried.
"I've been on six or seven missions, and the most memorable one was the month after the Yom Kippur War," he says. "The Israelis we met were so grateful to have us there."
For the upcoming trip, "I've asked my brother Alan, who lives in New York, to join us," he adds, "and this will be the first time he's ever been to Israel. It's a wonderful time to be there with people who really care."
Also, "our federation has a special relationship with people of Kiryat Shmona [the JCF's partnership town in the Northern Galilee region]," says Levine, "and I can't wait to show Alan some of our projects up there."
Hillsborough resident Judith Warman, who with her husband, Iz, will be visiting Israel for the first time, says they are going "because the time is right. May is the best time of the year for us, and we're very excited about all the festivities in Jerusalem."
If the State Department felt Americans "are in danger in Israel, they'll tell us," she adds. "Otherwise, I feel we'll be no less secure there than anywhere else."
Jerusalem 3000, a 10-day trip to Israel, was created to take advantage of the international festivities celebrating Jerusalem's 3,000th birthday.
The itinerary will feature visits to Tiberias, the Golan Heights and Beit Shean, participation in Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) and a number of Jerusalem 3000 events, including music, dance and theater from all over the world. A pre-mission trip to Eilat and Jordan is also available.
The mission is open to anyone donating $1,000 or more to the JCF's 1996 campaign. For information, contact Cindy Rogoway at the JCF, (415) 512-6213.