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Caila Bitran Family Leadership Institute

The Bitran Family

The Bitran Family

Caila Bitran z”l

Caila Bitran was an extraordinary woman and an exceptional human being. She was, at once, a warm, smiling and vibrant personality, fierce, feisty, and formidable. Her strong Jewish identity, devotion to her family, and a great sense of humor permeated her incredible life.

Born in New York, Caila left her warm home and Young Israel community in Borough Park and made Aliya to Israel at age 22, two years after the Six Day War. Her love for Israel and complete fluency in Hebrew enabled Caila to make life-long friends in Israel, where she started a tour-guiding company. Her intimate knowledge of Jewish history and Israeli archeology fed her passion for organizing family and leadership missions to Israel.

Caila’s formal training was in special education and communications at Hunter College, Yeshiva University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Caila was a consummate reader and researcher in all aspects of Judaism, world and Jewish history, and the transition that Jewish communities were experiencing worldwide. After marrying Yossi, they spent their initial married years in South Africa, where their son Danny was born. The young family then relocated to Jerusalem and from there to the New York area where their daughter, Yael, was born.

Feeling blessed to have a son and a daughter, Caila was a full-time mom until she joined United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in New York as a missions manger. She was later appointed Managing Director of Missions and Overseas Programs at the successor organization, Jewish Federations of North America, where she led programs to Jewish communities in distress, around the world.

Caila radiated love, beauty, wisdom, and compassion. She led by example and enriched the lives of many, in the Jewish world and beyond. Her smile and laughter live on. May she rest in peace, and may her soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.


Close to Caila's heart was her passion for developing young leaders. Jewish National Fund has created JNFuture for 22 to 40-year-olds, now the fastest growing cohort in the organization. The Caila Bitran Family Leadership Institute (CBFLI) will be established to respond to a pressing call for the development of solid, committed, young Jewish leaders and their families.

Each year, we will select twenty families to be part of the Caila Bitran Family Leadership Initiative . These families must demonstrate passion and leadership, and want to bring their family unit together to connect to the land and people of Israel.

Over twelve months, participants will attend monthly seminars, remotely or in person, in which they will learn techniques for effective leadership, as well as the story of Zionism and Israel, and Jewish National Fund. Developing the ability to pass on our Jewish heritage and our love of Israel, this platform will give them and their family unit the confidence to be activists for the Jewish world for today and tomorrow. The program will culminate in a ten-day leadership mission to Israel.


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