The Jesse White Tumblers, recently traveled to Israel, where they wowed spectators with their aerial acrobatics. The internationally known team, founded in 1959, by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White spent six days in Israel last month. The Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest and
Israel’s Ministry of Tourism - Midwest Region, helped arrange the Tumblers’ visit so that it would represent the diversity of Israel. Before leaving for Israel, Consul General Roey Gilad; Consul for Tourism – Midwest Region Omer Eshel; Consul for Public Affairs Maya Karmely; Senior Policy Advisor Robert Schwartz and Secretary of State Jesse White and his staff met to extend best wishes for a successful trip. Months of preparation led to a detailed itinerary including visits to Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Yad Vashem, Dimona, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
From the cosmopolitan Mamilla Mall to the sacred Church of the Nativity, from Shabbat dinner with IDF soldiers in the Old City to the Black Hebrews in Dimona, the Tumblers were able to experience many different cultures and people which comprise the rich and vibrant mix of Israel. The Tumblers performed in Jerusalem, Masada, Sderot, and an Israeli Army base. The trip provided the tumblers with an opportunity to gain insight into the lives of Israelis. The Tumblers gave what was called on the tour “Tzedakah performances” in underprivileged areas. While in Sderot, after seeing the proximity of the Gaza border, the piles of collected rockets and the bomb shelters, the Tumblers gave a special performance to young immigrant gymnasts who practiced every day in a bomb shelter/gymnastics facility. While on the IDF base of Tzrifim, they learned about MAKAM, an IDF program for at-risk populations. MAKAM shares similarities with the Jesse White Tumbler program, enabling children to have a second chance at life. The possibility of future collaborations was discussed. The trip was supported by Am Shalom Temple in Glencoe and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.