July 24, 2014 – Jerusalem, Israel
This morning we woke up and headed north to Ramat Yishai to pay our respects to the family of Lt. Bar Rahav z"l. We Spoke to the family, paying our respects…thanking them for their son’s service to his country. I will admit that for a group of rabbis, attending a shiva house is a pretty standard experience and yet this was so far from the ordinary. There are no words to describe the experience, except say that we were all heart broken, yet knew he died protecting his country.
Following our shiva visit we continued north to Park HaYarden to visit the Ramah-Noam camp. Interestingly, the camp is typically held more towards the middle of the country, however due to the rocket fire the program was moved north of the Galilee. It was wonderful to see, the over 350 kids, having so much fun, even though there is so much going on around them. The camp is a 14-day, outdoor-overnight camp. Most of the youth come from Masorti Kehillot throughout Israel, while others could have heard about camp from friends or perhaps at school. Regardless of their backgrounds, it is wonderful to see so many youth participating in programing through Ramah-Noam. The future looks bright for the Masorti Movement in Israel. When I return I hope to talk more about the Masorti Movement and how we can support the amazing work they are doing in their congregations and to make Israel a much more pluralistic society.
Following our tour of camp, we headed east to Atlit to visit the Shoshana Winery. Our group stopped at The Shoshana Winery both because the wine is delicious, and because the Masorti Movements Rabbinical Assembly supervises it.
This week has been absolutely amazing, a trip I will not soon forget. From the people we have met with, to the places we have seen, I feel like I was given a look into the situation that I did not have from office in Omaha. A Conservative Rabbi living in Israel spoke to our group tonight and said that he did not want to thank us for coming, as its not appropriate to thank someone for simply doing the right thing. He told us that he appreciated the fact that we came and showed our colleagues and their congregations that they are not alone.
In closing, I pray that this is both my first and last solidarity mission and that all future trips are done to celebrate happy occasions in more peaceful times for The State of Israel.