Mitzvah Mission 2014, Day 4 – Coming home
As we stood together under a warm morning sun, we contemplated spending the day on the beach; how easy and quiet and careless a day we could have. But when you are home, you don’t ever really escape the demands of the real world. And we are indeed home. There was work to be done.
Our JNF guide described our task of the day in these terms. When you are serving for Israel. you are doing something that extends far beyond your self. You are preserving the capital on an investment for a people, for a story, for a future. So we put on our gloves and got to work. Hard work. A few of us bled from the thorns that cut our skin, some of us perspired through our shirts, and all of us got soil in our shoes. In an area of the Carmel mountains where a fire in 2010 had taken 44 lives and devastated much of the vegetation, we cleared thick brush to create a fire break that would slow the progress of any future fire. (See the before and after!)
After lunch, we climbed to Jerusalem in song, and arrived at the overlook to the city just as the sun was shedding its last rays on the golden Dome of the Rock. From where we stood, one might have thought that peace in the Holy City had finally been realized. In the quiet moment, we sanctified the experience with a blessing, and recognized the shared commitment and reciprocal inspiration that brought us to this place and time.
We shared dinner in the new “train” station with some friends who joined us for dinner, including Ben Varon, who had just arrived to share the end of our mission with mom Linda, and Bradley Goldman, who is here studying for the year with the Nativ gap year program. One could sense a bit of nostalgia creeping in among the group as the evening came to an end.
It’s never easy leaving home.
Rabbi Craig Scheff