- Jen Kaslow
- Women’s Philanthropy member and Rubinite
- Wife and mother of two daughters
- Rediscovering roots and making connections through Federation programs
“My kids are now able to integrate Israel into their Jewish identity.”
When Jen Kaslow was growing up, she felt a little confused and not completely connected to her Jewish roots. “My husband David’s Jewish identity was an integral part of his life, but as we started raising our kids, I realized part of mine was missing” she says. To re-connect, she applied to go on the Rubin Israel Experience, an all-expense-paid trip for young adults who have never been to Israel. The trip is offered and staffed by Jewish Federation of St. Louis and is underwritten by philanthropists Ron and Pam Rubin.
“I owe so much to the Rubins for that,” says Jen. “The Rubin trip brought me back and made a connection for me.”
The first thing Jen said to David when she got back was that they need to take their children to Israel as soon as they were old enough. The Kaslows and their daughters, Maya who is 11 and Sasha who is 9, traveled to Israel with another family in December 2012. “We went to give our kids an identity,” says Jen.
One of the places the family visited was Yokneam-Meggiddo, St. Louis’ sister city—a part of the trip that Federation helped plan. There, they went on an archeological dig, visited an ecological farm, sat in on fifth-grade classroom and visited an after school program for kids at risk.
“Our visit to the school was the highlight for both families,” David says. “The chance to spend time in the classroom and interact with a bunch of vibrant and curious kids similar in age to our children was a great way to connect our worlds.” Jen agrees. “The kids were so much like my girls, “Jen says. “It solidified for my kids that we are one people. I love the fact that my kids are now able to integrate Israel into their Jewish identity.”