There is just so much to say and so many stories about this experience that I will do it in pieces. Overall, the trip was magical, difficult, fun, deeply spiritual, difficult, intimate, wonderful, difficult and worth every minute.
The first three days:
We just never know what the next moment holds for us, we assume we do and that gives us the illusion of security. But on a trip to a place like Israel, we can even pretend to know what will be happening around the corner. This was the case last week on the first day of our adventure to the holy land. I sat overlooking the beauty of the Galilei in northern Israel with my precious grandson Sam, my daughter, son-in-law and 25 soon to be dear friends from my synagogue in South Jersey. I had been to this beautiful and interesting land twice before, but this trip was about living out a personal dream. I wanted to introduce Debbie the land of our ancestors and tell her about my deepest wish to have Sam come back here for his bar mitzvah. So there we were sitting on the grounds of a kibbutz, watching the body of water that Jesus is said to have walked on, just trying to absorb the meaning of the moment. Bedtime was early that night as we had arrived that morning after a 12 hour flight. So shortly after my nurse put me into bed, she plugged in my wheelchair as we routinely do, but this time was different. The battery charger blew out all of the circuits and in turn blew out the charger. All of a sudden being in a remote part of an exotic land on the Sabbath went from a deep spiritual experience to: "holy s**t, what now?"I could add a little more drama to the story like how the wheelchair almost ran out of charge before we got a new charger, but everything was resolved in 36 hours.Just like a dead charger was unexpected, so was the group's response to seeing the new one. We had been promised that it would be in the lobby of a hotel in Haifa when we arrived the next day but all 25 of us were nervous about it. And when we saw the brown box in the lobby there was an air of anticipation but when we plugged it in and found success, there was applause. Debbie later told me that when she heard that applause, she felt like she was part of a large caring support network for the first time in her life.