Having been home for 40 hours I have been thinking back on our Israel Trip. Here are some of my reflections:
1) This was the most diverse group I've ever travelled with to Israel. Over two weeks I marveled as this disparate group morphed into a community. Some friendships were created, others deepened. Even those who will never be more than acquaintances watched over each other with care and concern.
2) What made the trip particularly meaningful to me was meeting "ordinary" Israelis who are doing extraordinary yet simple things to transform their communities and the country for the better.
To Michele for keeping me sane and pushing me to find even more new places.
To my partner on this trip Rabbi Paul Citrin for making most of the arrangements.
To our guide Frances Oppenheimer who shared her personal insights and stories. She was not just our guide but a treasured member of our community. Not to mention we share the same sense of humor.
To our bus driver Shalom. I have had many bus drivers over the years but Shalom surpassed them all. Not just backing up a mountain with a hairpin turn or navigating narrow roads in a giant bus but for his kindness to everyone in our group.
To the whole group for your appreciation, patience, and acceptance.
To all of our speakers and guests who added learning and personal stories thus enhancing our experience.
To my friends Michael and Sally for a wonderful dinner and 47 years of friendship.
To my partners at Congregation Albert, especially Cantor Barbara Finn for holding down the fort.
4) This was my umpteenth trip to Israel over 47 years including one for six months and one for a year. Each time I see new wonders and the same old problems. I see people who persevere, laugh, mourn, celebrate, and live their lives with dignity. America is my country and my home yet, while I cannot see myself living there, Israel is too.
Until next trip - L'hitraot.