By Jessica Kamber, Andrea Reich and Cori Rubel
This evening during our farewell dinner at Goshen in Tel Aviv, we enjoyed delicious food and conversation with Lapid Levy, assistant to Knesset member Nachman Shai. (If you’ve never tried their chocolate soufflé, you’re missing out!)
During dinner, the Israel Next Dor cohort enjoyed a very inspiring conversation about the state of Israel’s political stance, economy and where the country is headed into the next century. Conservation switched to what our favorite memory of the trip has been. The common thread among the first Lehigh Valley Israel Next Dor participants – comprised of different religious, professional and personal lifestyle backgrounds -- was the impact of the individual relationships of the Israel community with that of the Lehigh Valley community.
Almost all of us had some connection with Israel before traveling to the country – over 75% of the cohort had been to Israel previously and, for some of us, this was our third or fourth trip. This time, we felt that we connected with Israelis, versus connecting with Israel.
We watched the ambucycle that our community donated zigzag through the streets – en route to an emergency call for a multi-car accident. We met our new mishpacha in Yoav, our partnership community. We shared a meal, we shared stories and realized how similar we truly are. It wasn’t just a sense of community we felt – but more a sense of coming home. The residents of Yoav didn’t just greet us warmly – they hugged us like family finally reunited, even though we had never met.