You're Going to Israel Again?

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When I tell some of my family and friends I am going to Israel they often say – again? Don’t you want to go somewhere new and different? While I do like to travel and see new places, I never get tired of going to Israel – it’s a special place – and each time I go I try to explore some new aspect of the country. I just returned from an 8 day business trip in Israel last week. What an intense and tiring trip, but so productive and exciting!! The David Project is taking its first student mission to Israel on January 1, 2013 – called Israel Uncovered. This trip will take 36 students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, from each of our Core Campuses to Israel for a 10 day journey to explore the country and get to know Israel as a vibrant, democratic nation that is important to those of many religions. So, the purpose of my visit 2 weeks ago was to do the “pre-trip.” My colleague Phil and I went to meet with our tour provider to visit the sites we had not seen and meet with speakers who we were considering for the group in January. We also spent time interviewing potential tour guides and finalizing our itinerary. What a productive three days we had – though exhausting! On our first day, we started in Jerusalem, went to the Kinneret, then Haifa followed by a dinner meeting in Tel Aviv and returned to our hotel in Jerusalem. We are so looking forward to returning with the students. It will be an amazing and hopefully transformational experience for all students. The rest of my trip was spent meeting with our Israel staff members and with the many partners we work with in Israel (in no particular order) – Young Judaea, MASA, EIE-NFTY, Hadassah – and with PR personnel, potential vendors and partners and speakers.

Israel is the only place you can go and guarantee you run into someone you know! Walking down Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, I ran into a friend I had not seen in the 13 years since he made aliyah. A few days later in the same place, I ran into a friend from Newton and her daughter. And as luck would have it, I was meeting with a PR person who I had never met, and it turns out that her son and daughter-in-law had been my next door neighbors for the past 3 years! And to be clear, all work and no play makes for a very boring visit to Israel – so I found time to visit with friends, eat lots of delicious Israeli food, see a few new sites, and of course, do some shopping – with a special trip to a favorite bakery to bring home chocolate rugalach for my staff and kids! Shalom until next time!