Israel@60 Mission: Why Israel?

For years we have contributed to Federation because we believed it was the right thing to do. Now I know why. What I have seen on this journey has had a profound effect on how I view myself as an American Jew in relationship to Israel. Where to begin with what this trip -- this journey -- has meant? How do I decide what the highlight of the trip was? How do I know what has impacted me the most? Was it facts like finally understanding what "Jerusalem of Gold" means? Learning that 90% of literate Jews were destroyed in the Holocaust? Or finding out the Wall has a hidden third underground? Maybe it was the exhibit at Yad Vashem and the striking architecture of the building itself. Or maybe it was the view of the hills of Jerusalem from a balcony at the Shimshon Center as the sun was setting on Shabbat. Maybe it was the walking tour of the Old City or the dance performance, "White Noise." Or maybe the highlight was the moment I realized that my ancestors likely walked across the very steps of the Temple I was sitting on. Or was it the little Arab girl in a pink tee-shirt at the ECHAD program I visited in the Federation-funded well-baby clinic. Her grin was like that of my granddaughter, Thea, who also only wears pink. It might have been the Israeli teens who had spent a summer at Camp Tawonga. When I noticed the camp songbook and suggested the kids sing a song -- and they did. Former Camp Tawonga Campers in Israel Former Camp Tawonga campers in the upper Galil. Photo by Dan Pine I also noticed tears rolling down my cheek. Then again, it may have been the graves -- row upon row -- at the Kiryat Shmona military ceremony on Yom HaZikaron. It's hard to say the best highlight or the thing that impacted me the most. Why do I even need to decide? Look's like I'll just have to come back again soon. L'hitraot! --- Susan Borkin

Categories: Israel


May 07, 2008


The Federation