First full packed day and what a day it was.
Today’s theme was courage. Courage to act on your calling. Courage to step out of your comfort zone. Courage to do and become what you always wanted. Goals are simply dreams with a deadline. We started with a lecture on fulfilling our dreams.
We were asked to identify an aspiration that we had yet to achieve and to think about how we could fulfill that dream. This was a tough one for me. I have struggled in the last few years with this exact question. What do I aspire to? What am I passionate about? What do I want to accomplish? My husband is so goal-oriented and is continuously growing. His bucket list gets longer day by day. In contrast, my dreams have already been filled. I became a physician. I got married. I had kids. I live in a beautiful neighbourhood. So many friends surround me. What more can I want? Nothing much. I am happy. I don’t have a bucket list other than perhaps a little more traveling. Does this make me boring? Plain? Should I do some soul searching to figure out a hidden dream I might have? At times I somehow feel inadequate for not having a dream. But then I think who can argue with happiness?
The day continued with a talk by Sivan Yaari, a social entrepreneur who spoke to us about Israeli Innovation- a company that brings running water and electricity to Africa. So inspirational. This was followed by a walk through the Shuk Hacarmel, some bargaining for jewelry and fake Hermes bags, sampling of fresh fruit smoothies, and of course, an authentic Israeli falafel sandwich. We continued with a tour of the Birthright Innovation Center. Then came a talk by Zeev Ben Shachar, where we learned about seeing the bigger picture. We were taught about how to positively shape and lead the conversation about Israel, focussing on the Innovation of this incredible start-up nation, and how to decipher the difference between antisemitism and critique. Next was a tour of Yafo, followed by a rushed dinner in Herzaliyah on the marina. And finally a 2-hour bus ride to Tsfat. We are up in the mountains where it is quite cold and windy. Maybe I’ll finally wear one of the four sweaters I packed! (What was I thinking)!!
The night ended with wine and peanuts on the deck at the hotel. The 10 of us gathered with two women from Israel who are also on our trip and who ironically know my husband’s relatives!! There was some major Jewish geography going on. The need for us to make connections Is in our blood. Even as strangers, we are bonded to each other. There’s just something about being Jewish, that Jew-dar, that je ne sais quoi that unites us without uniformity. It’s something special to be cherished and appreciated.
Dr. Leslie Solomon
Montreal, QC, Canada