For those of you have not yet been to Israel, the Western Galilee is the most northern part of Israel on the Mediterranean Coast. It is, in a word, breathtaking. Over the past four days, a group of five rabbis, one cantor,and one congregational president explored this area and yet I feel as if we barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer. We met with numerous Israeli volunteers who make this Partnership run. They are involved in the Arts, Education, Archaeology, and so much more. We visited the major partner institutions such as the Western Galilee College, the Ghetto Fighter’s Museum, Hafuch al Hafuch Center (for at-risk Jewish and Arab teens), and the Western Galilee Hospital with one of the most amazing Emergency Response programs in existence. We met with an archaeologist who heads a dig on Kibbutz Cabri, where right in the middle of the avacado orchards, there has been discovered a Canaanite Palace believed to be almost 3,800 years old. We toured the Old City of Akko, the oldest, continuously running seaport in the world, visited an ancient jail used to house Jewish resistance members who fought against Turkish and then British rule. We drove as far north as one can go before entering Lebanon and understood, first hand, just how close some of the North’s cities and villages are to those who threaten their very existence.
Our hosts for this Mission were warm and attentive. They met our every need and answered our unending stream of questions. We learned more about the social, political and religious issues facing Israel, enjoyed exceptional home hospitality and got very little sleep! It was a pleasure to share this experience with our Temple President, John Spera, and I hope that we will be able to adequately share this experience with all of you.
We returned to Jerusalem early this evening and will spend the next three days here with a guide seeing the sights, visiting a variety of museums and celebrating Shabbat together before we all return to our respective cities. There will most likely be at least one more update before I head home to all of you in Canton, so keep checking in! We have been following the weather in the US several times a day and hope that you are staying warm and safe. We pray for a break in the snow so that we may return safely to all of you!