Explore Jewish culture in Latin America on the Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum Legacy Philanthropy Program’s Retreat to Mexico City. Explore the thriving, active and rich Jewish community in Mexico, which has roots that date back to the early 1500s.


Mission Details

May 19-22, 2022


Cost for Current Members:  

  • Complimentary for new members (land+flight in double occupancy)
  • Single room supplement: $490

Cost for Alumni:  

  • $2,200 for alumni (land only in double occupancy)
  • $2,700 for alumni (land+flight in double occupancy)
  • Single room supplement: $490
  • $300 subsidy for the first 5 alumni to register – sold out

This includes:

  • Transportation to and from Newark International Airport (from Philadelphia)
  • Round trip direct flight to and from Mexico City
  • 5 star hotel
  • Meals, activities and entrance fees

JW Marriott in Mexico City


  • Travel from the Polanco district to the Roma Norte district, and learn about Mexico City’s history as you pass through the Paseo de la Reforma and view some of the iconic monuments, like Diana the Huntress and the Angel of Independence.
  • Meet with Mexico’s Jewish community leaders, philanthropists and young entrepreneurs.
  • Tour Mexico City’s Jewish Quarter and visit community centers, schools and synagogues.
  • Visit Frida Kahlo’s House and walk through the San Angel cobblestones to the Saturday Bazaar while enjoying a traditional churro at El Morro in Mercado Roma.
  • Take a guided museum and walking tour through Paseo de la Reforma and enter Chapultepec Park to visit the Monument to the Niños Héroes (Cadet Heroes) and the Chapultepec Castle.
  • Stroll with your guide through the Chapultepec Park and arrive at the magnificent Anthropology Museum.
Click here to learn more about the Jewish community in Mexico

The Jewish Community in Mexico has roots all the way back to 1519 when the first Marranos (forced converts to Catholicism) came to Mexico, fleeing persecution. Mexico underwent a liberal reform in the 19th century, opening its doors to others and ending the persecution of Jews, resulting in immigration from the crumbling Ottoman Empire and Syria. 

Today, there are 41,000 Jews, of Ashkenazi and Sephardic backgrounds, living in Mexico with the largest community and main infrastructures in Mexico City (Ciudad de México). The Jewish community works in various fields from textiles and construction to doctors and lawyers. Representing the community is the “Comite Central,” a committee that speaks to local authorities and is the liaison to international Jewry.

Living in a country with a fragile economy and high crime and corruption rates, the community still thrives with Jewish life and culture and many institutions and philanthropic organizations. 95% of Jewish children attend Jewish schools, almost half are involved in a youth movement and almost every Jewish child at age 16 will spend the summer in Israel, either through school or their youth movement.

Meet Our PartneR AGENCIES

Throughout this Mission, you will also explore the vital work being done in Mexico by the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and World ORT, all supported agencies of the Jewish Federation.

Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI)

For close to 90 years, the Jewish story has been strengthened by The Jewish Agency. Once we achieved our original goal of establishing a secure homeland in Israel, our priorities and work changed. As the needs of our people have continued to change over the years, so has our response. Today, The Jewish Agency connects Israel, Israelis, and the Jewish people worldwide. We bring Jews to Israel through long term trips and on Aliyah. We bring Israel to Jewish communities, support vulnerable Israelis, and create an Israel of opportunity for its newest immigrants and longtime Israelis. The Jewish Agency works every day to enable Jewish people to ensure that every Jewish person feels an unbreakable bond to one another and to Israel no matter where they are in the world.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

JDC partners with communities in 70 countries: they rescue Jews in danger, provide aid to vulnerable Jews, develop innovative solutions to Israel’s most complex social challenges, cultivate a Jewish future, and lead the Jewish community’s response to crises. 

JDC has been active in South America since the 1930s when we helped Jewish refugees from Europe find a safe haven. As the community is largely self-sustaining, JDC acts as a partner and community development expert in Mexico, inviting leaders to Latin American events and taking part in strategic planning for some of the organizations, to ensure the community plans for its future.

JDC primarily works with the Jewish community in Mexico in two ways:

  • Invests in leadership development and connects leaders in Mexico with counterparts from other Latin American Jewish communities. JDC organizes and funds events and leadership programs in partnership with the Latin America Maccabi Federation (CLAM). These programs bring together activists and leaders from Mexico and other Jewish communities throughout Latin America to network and share best practices. Together, we are investing in young leadership and in women’s leadership.

    Recently, we introduced an annual conference on Gender and Leadership. The incorporation of the gender agenda created an opportunity for interaction among women from Mexico and other communities, with the purpose of developing an inter-community network. In the longer term, we believe it will contribute to greater integration of women in leadership positions in the Jewish community.

    In the summer of 2019, in parallel to the Pan American Maccabiah Games in Mexico, JDC together with the Maccabi World Union (MWU) and CLAM held a conference for youth on the future of leadership in Latin America, attended by young leaders from different communities across Latin America.
  • Provides humanitarian aid to Mexico and nearby countries struck by disaster, in partnership with Jewish Mexican NGO – CADENA. JDC’s longstanding ties with the Mexican Jewish community and CADENA were particularly crucial following the September 2017 quakes in Mexico. The result was a Jewish presence that provided timely rescue and relief, medical services, clean water and shelter for the most vulnerable, and helped residents recover and build resilience post- natural disaster.

    JDC also partners with Mexico’s Jewish university, Universidad Hebraica in Mexico city, for research on Jewish peoplehood in Latin America.
World ORT

World ORT is an international organization, established in 1880, that provides education and training in many countries. Although each country is unique, ORT aims to be forward-thinking, preparing people from diverse communities around the world to become economically self-sufficient, socially responsible and to contribute positively to society.

ORT Mexico was founded in 1965 in the belief that education is an essential factor in delivering social impact. Since then, ORT Mexico has continued to grow and develop by providing scholarships to outstanding students and by promoting cultural, technical, and vocational education all to reflect the vision: “Education for life.”


Please know that we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Your health and the health of others is our top priority. You must be fully vaccinated to attend this mission. Please visit the CDC website and the U.S. Department of State website for their latest travel policies and alerts.


This Mission is invite only.

If you have any questions about this travel experience, please contact:

*Details subject to change