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Why I dedicated my life to Israel even before I visited it
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The magic chair
By Gaylee Schif
Aug 17, 2017 By Lori Feldman Category: Travel,
What was your first time like? Reflections of an Israel newbie
Everywhere we turned, people treated our group like family. We were welcomed to experience life from a perspective of being home. We were made to feel we have always been family and would continue to be no matter where we call home at the end of the trip.
Traveling throughout Israel there was never a feeling of being unsafe. We became a part of the daily ebb and flow. Now, don't kid yourself, most people who live there do not go to four or more attractions per day! Our group was on the move all day, every day, to take in as much as we could within the limits of our tour.
|Planting a tree in her mother's memory|
To my surprise, I was able to participate fully in every activity that was in my sight. I was concerned that my recently shattered ankle would make it impossible to do everything. Well, I was wrong. Even though many surfaces were uneven, there were plenty of stops along the way to rest and regain energy. Who would have thought that ancient structures would be accessible? Surely not myself.
Since my return, I'm constantly asked, "So how was your trip? Weren't you afraid?" I tell them that this is the exact question I would have asked before my travels. I would tell a first-time traveler to Israel to go with the expectation of joy, awe, and adventure. To not get caught up in the slant of the news we hear about Israel in the States. I would insist on attempting to travel to as many parts of the country to show the diversity and wonders that each area offers.
At the Dead Sea.
However, I think what quietly stands out is the amazing young people of the Israel Defense Force (IDF). Everywhere we turned we saw young soldiers either protecting or deepening their historical knowledge of Israel. I tried to thank as many as I could throughout my tour.
And now I sit back home in the middle of the USA, among numerous mementos of our travels, and ponder if all of this was just an amazing dream, or a lifetime of memories packed in to nine days. I feel as if I have gained more depth and insight. So now you know. My one word for Israel is FAMILY.