Over a year of my life has been spent in the land of Israel.
Let's break it down ...
1997 trip with family: 10 days
2000 trip with NFTY: 30 days
2008-2009 HUC Year in Israel: 11 months
2011 trip with URJ camp educators: 10 days
2011 trip with family: 10 days
Total: Roughly 390 days
How deeply fortunate I have been to spend so much of my life in Israel. As a member of the Jewish community seven months away from her rabbinic ordination, the country and her people are ensconced deeply in my heart and soul.
Each time, each trip, has been so vastly different. I now have this eclectic collection of memories from each period I've spent there: faces, locations, foods, laughs, tears... They all coalesce into one solid relationship that feels more "family" than "friend;" more intimate and real and raw than any other place in the world. I'm invested in Israel's future and care about all her citizens. And that's why I feel very, very excited about this next trip to Ha'aretz.
Tomorrow I leave for the Holy Land with Partners for Progressive Israel. I'm attending their annual Symposium and I could not be more excited. We'll be meeting with politicians, cultural figures, policy makers, and activists from all points on the spectrum. We'll be traveling to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian authorities, as well. (That's a first I'm very much looking forward to).
Just like the expression we say to one another each Simchat Torah when we begin again with the story of Genesis: the text doesn't change, but the way we see it does, year after year. The land of Israel is different each and every time, and I can't wait to see it through the lens of this Symposium and this experience.
Now, back to packing ...