A considerable number of people believe that those who wander are lost, however I believe that it is through traveling that you discover your true self. With that being said, I believe that the main goal of Masa Israeli is to help each of us realize what we really want and where we stand in life.
“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.”- Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
Throughout our Masa Israeli journey, we hiked along Jerusalem hills, trekked through the desert, strolled along the ancient streets of the Old City, built at the times of King David. We visited the place where David conquered Goliath, walked the streets of Tel Aviv and even spent Shabbat in Jerusalem. And each day, as we were discussing questions such as “Why are we here?” and “What does Judaism means for each of us?”, we started noticing how much do we actually have in common. Aside from the obvious fact that we all came from the FSU, we found that we shared much more: family history, interests, traditions, and beliefs. It was incredible to feel how over the course of a few days we went from being acquaintances to feeling like family.
One of the highlights of the trip was the night in the desert. Sitting around the fire, looking at the stars, we felt like characters of the Lion King movie, thinking how “the great kings of past look down on us” and although we have all been running away from our past, and our history, it is the time to learn from it.
While in Tel Aviv we attended a solo theatrical performance “Apples”, based on the story by Dina Rubina, and directed by Nadezhda Greenberg. The play tells the story of a typical Jewish family, whose history went through the devastating years of Second World War and the holocaust. This story raises the question of memory, which is universal to all of us, regardless of where we came from. When I was standing next to the Kotel in Jerusalem, I thought about my own family, particularly about my great-grandmother, who came to Jerusalem as a pilgrim, over a hundred years ago. Throughout history, there were people who were coming here, regardless of the politics, wars, and struggles. These people built the foundation on which the Israeli society stands todaya nation connected through language, culture, and the history of Jewish people.
In our fast-paced environment, full of hi-tech developments and scientific achievements, it is necessary to take a step back once in a while and think of the important things in life. This is what programs such as Masa Israeli are made for.
Masa Israeli is a beautiful journey, which leads you to your roots, gives you the opportunity to walk the paths of your ancestors, re-think why you are here and what your next step in life is. It is the chance to experience the individuality of each person, and at the same time, to feel as a part of something greater. All this is possible to due to the tremendous work of the talented guides and madrichim, as well, as the personal contribution of each participant.
Thanks to all of you! It was spectacular!