Friday, May 11, 2018

Israel - Final Thoughts from our 2018 Trip

Our last day in Israel awaiting our tour of the Ayalon Institute
I left Israel still very much in love with the land and with her inhabitants. I also left very much confused, conflicted, and hopeful over the present and future of the Jewish State. It is a land full of contradictions and complexities. As our guide, Mike often reminded us whenever we asked a difficult question, be it about Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Israeli-Arabs, the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox), peace, the two-state solution, modern economics, housing, egalitarianism, or just life in general in Israel, the answer was always: "it's complicated."

At the same time, we visited a land representing 4,000 plus years of our people's history. But it is also a land teeming with visions of what the future can, and should hold. There are dreamers in the land. As Herzl said so many years ago, "if you will it, it is no dream." There are pessimists in the land. There are true believers in the land, and there are atheists in the land. Often times, as the old joke goes, they are all the same person.

Other observations: the food keeps getting better, while the traffic keeps getting worse. Israel is also not a coffee culture like here in the states. I did miss having a fresh mug of coffee every morning, but the Israeli breakfasts cannot be beat. Time also marches to a different drummer. Time in Israel is very Jewish, and you can feel it from the moment you step off the airplane. But most importantly, bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

There is so much more to say about our time there, but as I still struggle to shake off the cobwebs of sleep deprivation, I will end with the words we say every Passover, "next year, in Jerusalem." Until then, I will keep dreaming of falafel and hummus, and a return one day to the land of our people.

A huge thank you to everyone who joined in the journey. I hope you found it inspirational and insightful. Thank you as well to Cantor Neff and the staff and leaders at the Reform Temple of Rockland, some of whom were on the trip, for enabling us to go.

And thank you to all of you who have been following along in our journey via this blog. It has been a pleasure having you join us, albeit virtually. And if you are interested in joining us for a future trip to Israel, just let us know.

But of course the greatest thanks goes to my wife for holding down the fort. She is my rock, and I could not have done this journey without her. Next time, let's do this together.

1 comment:

Ira Goodman said...

Thank you again Rabbi! See you soon at RTR! Shabbat Shalom.