Rabbi’s Highlights of the 2018 CBHT Trip to Israel
Thursday June 21, 2018: Meditating at 6:30 AM on our first morning on the Tel Aviv beach for 23 minutes with Asa Harris who said afterwards, “Meditation is like yoga, except without moving!” In that moment I know I’m in for a treat with this group of young superstars!
Friday June 22, 2018: The warm welcome at Tel Aviv’s Beit HaTephila Yisraelit, a uniquely Israeli spiritual community with whom we celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat. My favorite part is understanding the d’var Torah in Hebrew (!) and hearing a popular song by Idan Raichel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG3NAutpEoY) offered as a prayer in the same way we sing songs like Susan Werner’s “May I Suggest” and others in our worship.
Monday June 25, 2018: Meeting a unit of tank soldiers doing training exercises in the Golan Heights, which was an unusual and extraordinary opportunity. In one of many memorable conversations, I mention to a small group that civilians in the U.S. are allowed to have and, in some places, carry the same guns they are issued in the army. “Wow,” one of them says, “we hate these guns.” Another shares how proud of a Reform Jew he is, even though it makes him different from all the rest.
Monday June 25, 2018: After a 5-minute shower to wash out the jeep ride, winery tour, army encounter and hike up Mt. Bental to see the Lebanese and Syrian borders; jumping into a cab to visit Ahuva Ben David, an elderly relative of Carol Deutsch, in neighboring K’far Blum. How lovely being regaled about her decades as a kibbutznik working in the children’s house, when both she and the kibbutz were young.
Wednesday June 27, 2018: In the culmination of our tour of the castle fortress of Masada, our extraordinary guide, Moshe, points across the valley to Mt. Elazar to see a wall of siege left by the Romans. He reminds us that today the Romans are in Rome and Jews live here. And the moral of all that is to remember the values by which we hope to live, and not to die. We shout over to the wall, Am Yisrael Chai, the people of Israel is alive and well and listen as it echoes back to us. I have goosebumps – again.
Wednesday June 27, 2018: Arriving in Jerusalem, need I say more? Ok, arriving in Jerusalem in time for the Festival of Lights – an amazing spectacle of projected light shows all around the Old City walls and synagogues. What a confluence of old and new!
Friday June 29, 2018: Kabbalat Shabbat at the base of Moses Montifiore’s iconic windmill. In addition to welcoming the Shabbat angels with the singing of Shalom Aleichem, we share appreciations to the angels among us who helped each of us have an amazing trip.
Thanks to all 40 of our congregants who took this adventure with me and to Billy Jonas and Rick Chess who were amazing partners without whom the collaborative efforts of this trip would not have been half as amazing.