Today is the day Ora and I go home. We woke up to the news that Israelis killed a top Islamic Jihadist last night. Retaliations started with hundreds of rockets being launched from Gaza into Israel. My Red Alert app is going bonkers. Security coming into the airport was tight. I have this odd feeling of being incredibly safe in a dangerous situation — sort of like ordered chaos. I quickly texted my new Israeli friends, my mother in law, and my cousin (her apartment has its bomb shelter) to see if they were ok. I cannot imagine living with such fear. But at the same time, there’s this feeling of safety. My cousin Natalie put it so well. “We have Hashem and the Iron Dome and the IDF, we’re fine. You have snow days; we have rocket days”. Perspective.
This trip gave me so much. Aside from the obvious of allowing me to tour and visit this amazing country, it gave me a new sense of patriotism. It taught me about the modern-day plight of the Jewish people. It taught me about our past leaders and trailblazers, visionaries, and Zionists. Herzl, Bialik, Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, and so many others who gave of themselves wholeheartedly so that the Jewish people could be free.
This trip also taught me about self-care and self-love, about the importance of forgiveness and letting go, about courage and stepping out of your comfort zone. It reconfirmed my connection with my community and culture. The values that I choose for my family and children not only affect the way my children will turn out but will also determine how my grandchildren will be. We can’t outsource Jewish values. We model them in our behaviour. Learning and growth is not all or nothing. It’s an ongoing process, a journey I am ready to embark on.
And lastly, the women I traveled with on this journey have become part of my sisterhood. I love them dearly and feel so honored to have shared this experience with them. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, ladies. I thank you, Momentum. I thank you, Israel. I am forever grateful.
Dr. Leslie Solomon
Montreal, QC, Canada