OJC Israel Experience Day 10: Reflections of a Community

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If someone were to ask me to describe the Orangetown Jewish Center, I might say to them, “Let me tell you about a group of people who traveled to Israel together. We are a microcosm of the greater synagogue community.”
We are a diverse group of people from age 6 to 89 who related to each other as one family. We are curious, ready to learn, and easily moved. We look out for each other and we sought the best in each other. Over the course of 10 days, we found it.

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We love Israel with our eyes and our hearts wide open. We are proud Jews who accept that the Jewish people practice our faith in many different ways. We are proud Zionists who know that Israel is a complicated place, but overall, it is our home.
We have a lot of fun! And it goes without saying, we love to eat!
Today, Zalman asked us, “What did you come with and what are you taking with you?”.
I know that the pilgrims on this trip will continue answering this question for a long time to come. All of us are changed. We know more about Israel than when we first arrived, and we most certainly know something new about ourselves.
Coming here to Israel is a privilege. Our ancestors yearned to come to this land for 2000 years but could not and so we carry them with us whenever we come to Israel.
Maybe the next time OJC comes will be your time?

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As the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea, we are packing and getting ready for our final dinner before heading to the airport. We hope to see you at services at the OJC on Shabbat so that we can share our pilgrimage experience with you and celebrate the end of Chanukah together.
Chodesh tov and (almost) Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Paula Mack Drill

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