[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://ccarravblog.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/hp_photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Rabbi Hara Person is the Publisher & Director of CCAR Press. [/author_info] [/author] No matter how many times I travel to Israel, the actual entry into the country never ceases to move me. From the moment we enter Israeli air space, to the actual landing on Israeli soil, I am still filled with a sense of awe at what it means in the scope of Jewish history to arrive in the State in Israel.
Today is officially the first day of the CCAR Israel Fam Trip and Solidarity Mission. The original purpose of this trip was to teach rabbis ordained in the last ten years how to lead a congregational or community trip to Israel (hence “Fam”, short for familiarization). Because of the events of the last two weeks, we also opened up the trip to colleagues who wanted to come and support Israel at this challenging time.
I am excited to get to know this diverse group of colleagues, who come from around the country, and represent many different ordination years. Rabbi Michael Weinberg, of Temple Beth Israel, Skokie, IL, is our group leader and I am honored to be the CCAR staff leader. We are also joined by Rabbi Jonathan Stein, CCAR President, from Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. I am also looking forward to learning from Uri Feinberg, our wonderful madrich from ARZA World/Da’at.
Even though I have been to Israel over thirty times since I first came to Israel with NFTY’s CAY program in 1983, I know from my experience on the previous CCAR Fam Trip that I will learn much and get to see Israel anew.I am also looking forward to using the new CCAR resource for Israel trips, Birkon Artzi: Blessings and Meditations for Travelers to Israel, edited by Rabbi Serge Lippe. This fantastic resource will help deepen and enrich our experience as we travel around the country. As we opened with our first discussion this afternoon, we began with a beautiful reading from the book, which helped set the tone for what will be an intensive, emotional and thought-provking time together.