By Miriam Maer and Lee Taylor on March 12, 2012
There are no words. Suffice it to say that thanks to JNF, Stacy Wasserman, and the Foundation of Jesse Simon, we experienced the tour of a lifetime.
Israel is truly a land of tragedy and inspiration. The history of the Jews is on display from Abraham to Ben Gurion to the brave and creative youth of today. So much is ancient and yet so much depends on the current generation.
We can imagine the pioneer spirit of the Old West in the US, only to be dwarfed by the same spirit in Israel today as if on steroids. (Even the produce in the Tel Aviv market was bigger than life, especially the strawberries, celery, pomegranates and leeks.)
The Mission was comprehensive and professional. Allison was our compassionate sergeant, Rami our guide with incredible first person stories, and Naphtali, our ace bus driver ("I love my bus") kept us hydrated and (between the lines) on the road.
We did the Golan Heights and the Negev, and most of the significant sites in between. If we had to pick the most moving, they would be: the thousands of migrating cranes in the Hula Valley, the incredible scope of the Roman ruins at Bet She'an, the sighting of wandering camels and Bedouins, the construction and the tragedy of Masada, and Ben Gurion's tomb overlooking the vast Valley of Tsin. But, of course, there was much, much more.
Bonding with our fellow travelers was an equally important and memorable part of the experience as we learned together about our mutual history and the hopes and dreams for Israel. Spontaneous street dancing with other tourists and local Israelis to music and singing performed by Miri Aloni (see Google for more info) was a perfect finale to a unique and unforgettable journey.
Our advice? Go. Go now.
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