July 6, 2009
I'm packing for Israel. Well, I'm packing mentally, at any rate. There's the practical list of material items. Noise-cancelling headphones and a stack of New Yorker magazines for the plane rides. The all-important converter plug for the phone charger, laptop charger, hair dryer, camera charger - hey, wait, I thought I was re-charging MY batteries! A notebook, pens, sunscreen, comfortable shoes. That's just the "stuff." And I need to remember to leave room for the shopping I hope I have time to do, even though the draft itinerary says we will have barely any down time, at least while the stores are open. I especially love the stores in Neve Tzedek, the historic area now known as the "Soho of Tel Aviv." And then there's the newly restored port area at the north end of Tel Aviv, and all the wonderful stores in Jerusalem. . .
But more than the shopping, I'm really looking forward to talking with Israelis, our partners on the ground, and seeing the projects we support. I want to walk on the tayelet, the beach promenade in Tel Aviv, and watch the windsurfers. In five short days, the national UJC Campaign Chairs and Directors mission will travel the length of Israel. (I'd say the breadth also, but Israel just isn't all that wide!) We will be in the Galilee and in the Negev, including our Partnership 2000 city, Ofakim. I can't wait to show my friends from other federations the place that has come to be a second home for so many of us.
So I'm also packing the intangibles - enthusiasm, an open mind, questions for my fellow lay leaders (and maybe even a few answers from MetroWest experiences) and always, always, my love for Eretz Yisrael. I'll have lots of stories to share when I get back! I hope you are all enjoying the summer weather we are finally getting, are getting lots of mail from summer camp, and manage a trip to the shore if you can. I will be thinking of you from Israel.