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From Rabbi David
From the time my kids were very young we began instilling in them a love for Israel. We have been blessed to travel there a number of times with all of our girls and now this one (in the picture from a number of years ago), who is now 19, is in Israel again.
This must be her 7th or 8th trip but when Birthright tells you that they will pay for you to go to Israel, you sign up! She'll be there with the group for about 10 days and is extending her trip to stay with friends she has made over the years.
I can't begin to tell you how much joy it brings me to see her posts and pictures and to hear her adoration for our home land. When she landed all she wrote was, "I'm home!" I'm not sure what more I could ask for.
Recently a former student of mine, who is also traveling this summer on Birthright called and asked to speak with me. He is excited to go but struggling with some of his concerns about Israel's policies. I told him that I share some of those concerns. I also told him that more than any policy, what sticks with me from every trip to Israel are the street signs. There is something so magical to me about all of the street signs being in Hebrew. It reminds me that my religion and my faith aren't some ancient relic but are alive and thriving.
Each street sign reminds me that to live Jewishly is to try and navigate your way through life, focusing with the big things while not losing sight of the little things. Every government is going to do things that cause concern or even anger and it's important to hold our representatives and the those who serve in every government to account for their decisions and actions. It's also important to appreciate the street signs - the little things that remind us how lucky and alive we are and the many roads that are yet to be traveled.