December 2016I have dedicated this blog to traveling with kids, but I experienced a trip in December 2016, that impacted my family and has impacted many families world wide. I was selected to go on a free trip (airfare not included) to Israel with a group of 18 women from my area. Once we arrived to Israel we met up with other women from around the globe. We are all mothers of children under the age of 18 married, divorced, widowed, never married and at different stages of our lives. We all share in common our Judaism raising children. The goal of the trip is to connect and learn about Jewish values and be inspired to bring these values back to our homes, to our families, to strengthen our Jewish bonds in the house. We were given the opportunity to travel throughout the country of Israel, listen to lectures and learn about who we are as Jewish Women. We spent mornings in lectures learning about historical Jewish women incorporating their strengths and our strengths into current events. Learning that we could apply to our current daily lives, they were funny, interactive and thought provoking. Afternoons were spent discovering different sights of the country along with guides while having some free time to explore.
We bonded, laughed, cried and recognized how lucky we were to be a part of this experience. Some women embraced their spirituality and let it shine through, others silently soaked in the adventure, but we all yearned for more. We ran from place to place continuously meeting new people, learning new facts and slowly picking away the pieces of who we were as women and what we wanted to take from this experience. Our bonds grew stronger as the days passed on and we all hated to think that this was eventually going to come to an end and we would have to part ways and return to our normal grind of life.
I had wished my family was there to experience what I was doing and what I was learning. I wanted them to eat what I was eating, see what I was seeing, bond with my fellow travelers and be a part of my adventure. However, the only thing I could do was bring what I had gained from my experience home with me and hope to help strengthen my family bond the same way my bonds strengthened with my fellow travelers on my trip. I have managed to make sure that our Friday nights are dedicated to a big family meal at the Shabbat table. Friday nights are now our week night adventure. We sit around and talk as a family about anything from our next dog to politics to our next Five Family Adventure. We bless the candles, wine and challah and sit for at least an hour and half if not two. We look forward to our Fridays where we cook together, eat together and bond together as a family. It is our time to connect as a family, strengthen as a family and hopefully to inspire our children to pass down this tradition so that they too may bond when they have families of their own.
JWRP continues to send thousands of Jewish women to Israel every year. They continue to ensure that the bonds of Jewish women are not only formed with each other, but brought into their homes in order to strengthen the Jewish connections and traditions at home. It starts with women and continues to strengthen with women.