This has been a busy week in Israel with celebrations throughout the week for Purim. The smell of Hamentashen wafts out of every bakery. Kids and grownups in costume walking throughout the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Instead of Easter baskets in every Kroger aisle, mishloach manot were for sale-all different shapes and sizes. I heard the megillah being read at Kol Haneshama in Jerusalem with a friend who made aliyah 18 years ago. She and her new community welcomed me in, passed the bottles of schnapps, listened to the megillah being read by multiple congregants and we all celebrated Purim together. Afterwards, we grabbed a kosher Chinese food dinner, caught up with one another and and saw several megillah readings at the Chabad Center Rehavia below: one before we went to dinner and one when we were leaving. You couldn’t miss celebrating the holiday of Purim, it was all around.
I came to Israel early ahead of the 83 participants on the Jewish Federation of Nashville’s CommUNITY trip: Israel 2016. As you can imagine there are quite a lot of logistical details that needed attention. As the Jewish Federations Campaign and Missions director, I needed to cross the t’s and dot the i’s before everyone arrived. The fact that Purim happened to be during this time was an added bonus. This Community experience has been a dream of mine for a very long time: to bring a truly diverse community trip made up of members of all congregations as well as unaffiliated individuals, both first time and repeat visitors, to bring us all together to Israel to experience her wonder and complexities. The fact that a community our size is sending 80+ people together is really this dream turning into a reality.
A Huge Thank-you- Todah Raba-goes to our five congregations in Nashville. All of their support and efforts recruiting participants as well as helping to plan out the spiritual portion of our adventure will really enhance our community’s experience on the ground. I look forward to welcoming members, rabbis and clergy of Beit Tefillah Chabad, Congregation Ohabai Sholom- The Temple, Congregation Sherith Israel, Micah and the West End Synagogue. We are so successful because of the wonderful partnership and collaboration we have within our own Jewish community. It is certainly something else I am celebrating today.
As Shabbat comes into Israel, I am so thankful for all the community members from Nashville and beyond who decided to join our Jewish Federation CommUNITY Trip: Israel 2016. I cannot wait to welcome you home to Israel and begin our journey together. And for those of you not on the trip this time, please follow our adventures on this blog. Maybe next time you too can be joining us in Israel.
Please check back on this blog regularly. We will be rotating authors each day.