Monday, December 8, 2014

JWRP Israel: Day 1

Day 1: We have most definitely arrived! We've been excited for this trip for so many weeks -- and for some of us months, even years. We arrived at Ben Gurion airport pinching ourselves that we finally arrived at this much-awaited day!

Each woman on this trip is at a distinctly different point on her journey. Yet we are all acutely aware that we have something to gained by being here. What we have to gain is immense, but not the same for any one of us. We are each on our own personal quest to be better wives, mothers, partners, Jews and people.

Israel is the charging station for the Jewish soul. That was the message of our dynamic speaker Nili Couzens tonight. We all have a tendency to get caught up in the day-to-day minutia of our lives, which can take its toll on us. A week in Israel with such inspiring company is the perfect antidote. It is a week we are claiming as our own ... to connect with one another, recharge our batteries, and --most of all -- recognize the many blessings in our lives. They are all right there in front of us, every day. We just need to CHOOSE to see them.

This theme continued during our conversation at Decks, a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Sea of Galilee. As we got to know each other (over an amazing array of Israeli food), we discussed how fortunate we are to be on this trip in Israel RIGHT NOW. Many of us have had the opportunity to go on previous trips, and have not been able to follow through, due to family or career obligations. We all agreed that we are here, because this is "our time." It is all part of G-d's plan that we find ourselves in Israel, right here, right now. It is our responsibility to "be present" and to make the most of this amazing opportunity.

As dinner wound down, the atmosphere wound up. The second that music came on, women bounded from their seats, grabbing each other's hands and instantly becoming part of something much larger than themselves ... over 200 women joyously dancing, like a giant bat mitzvah! No one was left on the sidelines to watch. Each of us was swept up in the fabulous, cohesive moment of togetherness.
When Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" came on, our leader Esti grabbed the microphone and cleverly inserted her own lyrics, "We are JWRP, I got all my sisters and me." Yes, we are already forming a sisterly bond. If this is just day one, I can't wait to see what lies in store for my sisters and me in the week ahead!

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