I’m delighted to report to you that Cantor Friedman and I had an amazing journey to Israel. What a blessing it was to accompany over 30 people on our adventure. We celebrated three amazing B’nai Mitzvah—Emma Bornstein, Ethan Niser, and Charlotte Rose Ferraro—just a stone’s throw from the Western Wall. We enjoyed Shabbat hospitality with Kehillat ha-D’ror in Jerusalem. We bicycled in Tel Aviv and rafted on the Jordan River. We prepared food boxes for the hungry in Yaffo, and we generally found inspiration throughout our magical tour in our sacred land. We’re especially grateful to our guides Asaf Solomon and Yael Roumani for showing us the way and thankful to our tour operator Keshet for organizing our trip.
There’s much more to share, and I’ll be sure to do so here in this space, from the bimah, and other contexts. I look forward to pushing forward our Shalom Hartman curriculum on Israel. I’d like to study two books with you: Micah Goodman’s Catch-67 and Yossi Klein-Halevi’s Letters to My Palestinian Neighbors. I also think it’s time to assemble an Israel team, dedicated to ongoing education about and advocacy for Israel. Please let me know if you’re interested in helping.
Lastly, I also think it’s important to form a Travel Team focused on quality Jewish immersion experiences—local, national, and international. I’ve been thinking about a number of possibilities: a Jewish Chicago experience, a civil/human rights mission right here in Chicago or Atlanta or Montgomery; a local immigration mission or one to McAllen, TX; a Jewish humanitarian mission to Cuba; a Jewish Morocco journey; and my fondest wish, regular B’nai Mitzvah trips to Israel. Let’s dream together.
It’s good to be back. See you soon. Make it a day of blessing and be a force