In 2010, we had the opportunity of traveling to Israel on an Israel Familiarization Trip. The trip’s goal was to help us learn how to lead congregational trips. Rabbis have a dual relationship with Israel, that of student and teacher. We turned to each other to learn how to bring these two roles together as we toured the country. Many of the sites we visited were ones we had visited on previous occasions. However, we had to learn to bring these sites to our congregants.
We discussed the potential for the “Disneylandification” of Israel and how to avoid creating a superficial visit to the country. We discussed how to intentionally design trips from the ground up to create a unified learning experience for our community. We discussed how to use the trips to create meaningful ongoing relationships with the country rather than one-time memories. Each night we prayed together and included in our prayers reflections from the day’s experiences. By traveling and learning with colleagues this trip provided us to with the tools we would then use to create Israel experiences for our own congregants.
Additionally, there is a difference between traveling with colleagues and traveling with congregants. When we travel with congregants, we become the teachers, and the experts, on everything. Our members turn to us because we have been there more than they have. When we travel with colleagues, we learn together and reflect with one another. We can be both the student and the teacher. We teach and learn with one another and we push each other to think about our experiences in new ways. Each day we were able to connect with colleagues and build relationships. Being able to spend time traveling together, talking on the bus, spending meals together, really deepened our sense of community and built collegial relationships among strangers in just a few short days.
Traveling in Israel is an experience like no other. We all know that. Any trip to Israel is rejuvenating; it inspires our Judaism, calls us back to our roots, uplifts us spiritually, offers us a unique experiential and immersive learning opportunity. We’ve taken those lessons we learned on our first trip together and put them to use- but not in a trip designed for our congregants- rather in a trip designed for you- our colleagues. We hope you will join with us from January 26-February 5 as we travel together with other colleagues and learn about Start Up Israel. Together we will push each other to realize how the entrepreneurial culture of Israel can influence our own rabbinates and how we can discover a unique aspect of modern Israel culture. More information is available on the CCAR website.
We hope you will join with us from January 26-February 5 as we travel together with other colleagues and learn about Start Up Israel. Together we will push each other to realize how the entrepreneurial culture of Israel can influence our on rabbinates and how we can discover a unique aspect of modern Israel culture. For more information visit the following website:
See you in Israel in January!