One month ago our Temple Beth-El group of 29 adventurers traveled to Israel. We delved deeply into the history and the ancient majesty of the nation while also exploring the contemporary political landscape, arts, cultural and food scene.
As we celebrate Israel’s 71st anniversary, let us find inspiration in the words of those who just returned from a journey to this miraculous and magical state.
To me visiting Israel is more than just traveling to, and touring through, a foreign country….because Israel, to me, is not really a foreign country. Although it is not my residence, Israel is my homeland, and Israel’s inhabitants are my mishpocha (defined as “family members…and then some)….From the cab drivers and the hotel and restaurant employees…to the local tour guides, store owners, hair stylists and construction workers…to the vendors at the street fairs, the orchestra members, the artists, and the El Al pilot….Israel’s people are my people…And, in that spirit, what better way to have visited Israel than with Rabbi Sarah Mack leading a group of Temple Beth El members…”and then some”, who, during our amazing ten day journey, became mishpocha, too.
I was surprised by how a small country has such an incredible variety of landscapes and sights. Everywhere I looked I was amazed by the beauty of the scenery. The Israelis are loud and proud and I loved how everyone we met interacted with each other like close cousins.
The feeling of being Jewish in a country of (mostly) Jews was a powerful cultural, emotional and spiritual adventure. I actually lost count of the amount of times I cried from the sheer emotion from being there. I went on this trip thinking it was a once in a lifetime trip but ended it knowing I will return.
I entered Israel feeling it was “your country”, but left feeling strongly that it is “our country”.
I can’t stop thinking about my trip to Israel with Temple Beth-El led by Rabbi Sarah Mack. It was an exhilarating ten days of learning, touring and making new friends. Although this was my third visit to Israel, there is so much to learn and relearn about this ancient and complex culture. The awe never dulls. It was an added bonus to travel with so many wonderful people from our congregation whom I had never met before or did not know well. I can’t wait for Rabbi Mack’s next trip with