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2019
2 MIN. READ

HaKarat Ha’ Tov: Acknowledgment of Good and Gratitude

Momentum Day 8

It’s hard to believe we are concluding today — so many mixed emotions. So much ground covered. So many steps taken and so much growth and evolution. We are all grateful for this trip. Thank you Momentum for providing the framework within which we can learn to thrive and for all the inspiration!

In our day to day lives, days and weeks go by where we live out our routines – it is not often that we accomplish so much on so many levels in so little time. It makes me pause and question how much we could continue to advance and move forward back home – if we could live from a place of more awareness and less on automatic pilot. The problem with automatic pilot, is that it is so entrenched in us, we are often not even aware that we are operating from a mode that does not allow for questioning, reflection and changing one’s course.

We started off our day with an inspiring visit to Ammunition Hill. We heard from an army commander and met lone soldiers. They ranged anywhere in age between 19 and their early twenties. These young adults defend Israel, and their commanders are not that much older. At another event, one soldier had told us how his mother would not trust him to operate a household appliance because he may break it and yet we entrust the safety of the State of Israel to them. The level of collective responsibility and their sense of “Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze La Ze” (loosely translated as ‘all Jews have each other’s backs’) is admirable. They sound and look like North America teens, yet instead of worrying about going off to college or what courses they will take, they choose army positions and the unit where they would like to serve. Our kids register for institutions of higher education while they sign on to the college of life, where they risk their lives so others can be safe.

The Israeli army is socially interesting. It’s where all factions of society meet and become one, in the task they take on together. Not unlike the motto of Momentum: Unity Without Uniformity. One does not preclude the other. In fact, in my mind, there is more power to non-uniform unity. It is not defined nor limited by conformity. It may be harder to attain, but like all things earned, it becomes stronger, more solid, and deeply valued.

We also heard the inspiring story of Alon Wald and how he took over managing Ammunition Hill. It was incredible listening to a man who has been through the army and had the strength to endure it. He spoke directly from his heart about consideration for other’s and discovering one’s life purpose, for someone to remain open and vulnerable and speak from that place, all the while having the necessary toughness to live in and defend Israel…meeting a live embodiment of this kind of contrast was both moving and inspiring.

We then continued our day with some free time in Jerusalem, during which, as good Jewish tourists, we ate and shopped some more. There is always what to buy in Israel.

As we were walking down a Jerusalem street, we saw a man who had just passed out. Having just recently visited Hatzalah on our trip, we watched in awe at how quickly they arrived after being called, and how professionally and compassionately they cared for that man. It concretized what we had learned about them the previous day. It was amazing watching them in action!

We later had a Momentum closing mini-event, with, of course, some dancing and music. Ruchi Koval offered closing remarks on how to take home all that we learned on the trip. How not to use it as a wall. Momentum fosters unity.

The evolution we experienced on this life-changing trip should not cause any divisiveness as we re-enter our lives back home. It is not about imposing the growth onto others. Instead, it is about interacting with our families and friends once we are home, from that new evolved place within ourselves. Setting the example and allowing for things to unfold organically. It is remembering that happiness comes from within. The lower our sense of entitlement and expectations, the greater our sense of gratitude and the happier we can be. If we think we are better because we have evolved, then we have not evolved at all.

We ended off with a L’chaim, took pictures, and said good-bye to new Momentum friends and staff we met on the trip.

That night we returned to Tel Aviv, a smaller Montreal contingent as some of our ladies headed home while others stayed. After checking in to our hotel, though exhausted, we decided to walk around the Tel Aviv boardwalk and soak in as much of the vibe as possible. Having bonded on this journey and truly representing unity without uniformity, we, of course, continued our stay as if we were still on the trip, spending all of our free time together. It would seem that this type of shared journey can create a special bond. You get to know people in ways you would not otherwise necessarily have the opportunity – at their best and perhaps not so best and yet you support each other through it all. In a way, you all become sisters. We have❤️

Martine Cohen
JEMS
Montreal, QC, Canada

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