The bags are unpacked, the laundry is done, the photos are shared, and we wake up at a normal pace to bagels, instead of rushing to an amazing Israeli breakfast…The trip is over but the inspirations are just beginning. Here’s our Executive Director, Gary Kibort’s first thoughts about the experience of bringing 83 Herzl friends from 5 states throughout the Holy Land:
In Israel, you don’t have think about your Judaism, you just live it.
You walk around with or without your kipah.
You see a mezzuzah hanging on every doorpost.
You talk Israeli politics.
You go to Shabbat services wearing whites, shorts, jeans, and a comfy t-shirt, praying with others from many different religious backgrounds. Praying takes on such a different feel. You can pray in front of a wall, a bus with others in a minyan, at the water, or just by yourself.
You hear others speaking Hebrew, and singing Hebrew songs, the language of our past and future.
You spend cherished time with Israelis who are about to join the army.
You see boys and girls studying Torah.
You eat your Judaism, too. Never worried about the food being kosher, but always fresh, homegrown and plentiful.
You walk the streets greeting others with Shabbat Shalom, boker tov, todah rabah, lilah tov, shavua tov…all the while everyone feels like your friend or relative.
Out of nowhere, you have a simcha or holiday to embrace with full ruach.
You run into people you have not seen in years, and feel so great to see them in this special place.
Hand crafted mezzuzot, tallitot. menorahs, candlesticks, kiddish cups havdallah candles are everywhere.
You see playing ultimate, basketball, gaga, soccer.
You leave, not saying goodbye but l’hitrayot. Knowing you are going to return.
Now am I describing Israel or camp?