A guest post by Joseph Socarras, a University of Miami student and attendee on Israel Uncovered: Campus Leaders Mission I'm not entirely sure what to expect on the upcoming trip to Israel. I know I'm excited, and I certainly expect to have an incredible time, but I also expect to see some things that completely take me by surprise.
I grew up in a home that was vehemently pro-Israel, but I didn't know a thing about the country. Truth be told, it was not until I began college that I met Israelis for the first time. For one, hearing about Tel Aviv nightlife and the booming tech scene was patently eye-opening. In my ignorance, my entire life before that I envisioned the country as having a distant culture characterized by a purely stern and religious atmosphere.
However, after sticking around my campus's Hillel long enough, I can say I've learned quite a bit more about Israel and her culture. Now I expect to go into a country as multicultural as Miami or even New York, as electric as Silicon Valley, and as beautiful as any country I've ever read about. As for the attractions and holy sites, I haven't the slightest idea how I will react to places such as the the Western Wall or the Dead Sea; these are places I've read and heard stories of since I was a little boy. There's little doubt emotion will couple my responses of wonder.
I can't wait until the trip begins. I still find it hard to believe that I've been blessed with such an amazing opportunity, and I only hope that one day I can give back to Israel in some way! Although I don't know what it will be like, I do anticipate a few things. I expect to be amazed, to be impacted by the people, the culture and the scenery, and to be permanently changed by the trip. But most importantly, I expect to come away with a bit of that special kind of love for the country shared by so many Israelis I have met. I look forward to all the friends I will make and all the memories I will never forget. I cannot wait!
Follow the trip on Twitter at www.twitter.com/david_project using #IsraelUncovered; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davidproject; on The David Project’s blog at www.davidproject.org/connect/blog, where students and staff members will be submitting updates during and after the trip.