Friday, December 26, 2014

A New View

Been back for over a week and I'm still on a high from my very first Jewish Women's Renaissance Project (JWRP) "MOMentum" Trip to Israel. I was one of several "city leaders" for the Baltimore/Etz Chaim contingent of a 200-strong group of amazing women from all over
the United States. (These were 200 of the 2,400 women who have participated in this program in the past nine months alone!)

As much as I appreciate the blessing of being so comfortable and at Home in Israel, I will never forget the feeling of experiencing the Land for the very first time almost 40 years ago. This post is dedicated to some of the first-timers on the JWRP trip who helped me recapture that excitement through their adventure:

To Jenny, who received her Hebrew name (Leeba Tikva) on Masada - along with (left) Nava Chana-Nicole, (right) Michal Emunah-Michon and several other JWRP participants.

To Angela, who made challah for the very first time, and brought the beauty of the mitzvah back to her young daughters in Columbia, MD.
To Laurie (center), who - together with her two best friends, Mandy and Lorren (yes, twins) - was the life of the party.

To Vicki, who didn't let a little blessed rainfall dampen her enthusiasm for everything she saw, heard and did all week long.

To Rhina, from New Jersey, who I met on the very last day of the trip and who impressed me with her story and her smile.

For eight indescribable days we laughed, cried, sang, danced, ate, drank, walked, talked, listened to and learned from excellent lecturers - oh, and we shopped, shopped and shopped! I saw the Dead Sea, the holy city of Tzefat and even the Kotel (Western
Wall) through a fresh, new lens. My sincere thanks go to Etz Chaim of Baltimore for giving me this opportunity, to the incredible-beyond-words staff of JWRP who did everything to make this a truly awesome experience for all of us and to the Almighty for keeping us safe on Land and in the air.
Last but not least, I am indebted to all the wonderful women who allowed me into their lives to share this journey with them. Everyone gained and grew in those eight days. May the MOMentum continue!

I stayed on a bit longer after the trip ended - in the Old City of Jerusalem (thanks to the wonderful hospitality of my dear friend Rena and her husband, David), where I bottled up two nights of Chanukah light to bring back with me.

Quality Chanukah time and super-sweet sufganiyot (Chanukah doughnuts) with my dear son, the yeshiva bochur (student of Torah study) was one of the highlights of my 31 hours in the Land of PO.
Until my next trip, I will Remember Jerusalem through the eyes of Jenny, Angela, Laurie, Vicki, Rhina and all the JWRP women who enabled me to see the Land from a newly inspiring perspective. I can't say it any better than we already do in our daily morning prayers: "Ohr chadash al Tzion ta'ir v'nizkeh chulanu bim'heyrah l'oro." May we all soon merit to see Jerusalem and our holy Land basking in a new and eternal light.
Sunrise over the Sea of Galillee