Day 3: Today was a beautiful & busy day in oh-so-many ways! For starters, we are experiencing gorgeous December weather -- even by Israel standards. We know that rain is good for Israel. But as a New Yorker leaving the bitter cold, I would be lying if I said I wasn't appreciating the warmth of the Mediterranean sun!
We left the hotel and meandered through the old city to the stunning Aish HaTorah Center. We enjoyed this weather again from the center's rooftop, with an incredible view of the Kotel. Inside, we were welcomed by JWRP founder Lori Palatnik, who gave a fascinating seminar on personality types. Do you have the soul of a Chaim (thinker), a Bracha (extrovert), or Tov (Moral / Judger) ... or perhaps you are a combination of two or three. Take Lori's seminar to find out!
We then learned about the roots of the Aish HaTorah renaissance. This organization was founded by Rabbi Noach Weinberg, of blessed memory. In a filmed interview with the Rabbi, he quoted his father saying,"If there's no one else doing the job, then you've got to do it." And do it he did, with his establishment of a global network of educational and outreach programs throughout the world for unaffiliated Jewish men and women.
I am SO THANKFUL that JWRP is carrying on his important work with through these trips.The film was introduced by one of Rabbi Weinberg's students, Rabbi Ken Spiro. Can I digress to say that Rabbi Spiro's book "WorldPerfect" is one of my favorite books about Judaism?! I highly recommend this book, which is captivating from the very first page, and we are so fortunate to have him with us! Next we had an opportunity to spend time with women who have made Aliyah to Israel. We exchanged recipes and photos of our children. They were so nice to volunteer their time and most of us found we all had so much in common.
The highlight of the day for many of us was the time we spent at the Western Wall. Our group danced and sang together, then we each took turns going up to the wall for a private, very spiritual moment of prayer. Then we toured the old city, both above ground and below ground. There is so much more to Jerusalem than meets the eye. It's history goes back over 1500 years and much of it is buried below the surface. I'll tell you, they just do not build cities like they used to!
My JWRP "sisters" are out for dinner and I am here in the hotel room writing this blog. It was a VERY busy day and I am way too tired to venture out tonight. But I am enthusiastic about getting a good night of sleep so I can be ready for another BIG day tomorrow!