Brewing bromance


Men learn to open up on Israel mission

You’re a middle-aged guy. You’re established in your career. Got a great wife, beautiful kids. But none of your friendships nowadays are anywhere as deep or profound as the ones you had in school.

Last month, about 100 men tried to rekindle that old bromance during a week in Israel. Far from career and family, encouraged to be “open” by tour facilitators, they found that almost forgotten depth, said Salvador Litvak, a trip participant, Los Angeles filmmaker and Accidental Talmudist blogger.

“I [went] with a bunch of guys my age, at a similar place in life,” said Litvak, 49. “You make those dear friends the way you do in school or college.”

The Momentum Men’s Trip was organized by the Rockville-based Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, which runs similar Israel tours for women. The men’s trip gave husbands of women’s trip alumnae a taste of their spouses’ experiences – just with more action, according to Lilach Cohen-Holden, digital communications manager for Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project.

“The idea is not to get them to cry and to be emotional, but to make a connection,” she said.
The tour included usual Israel fare – kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel, and visits to Yad Vashem and Masada – plus Shabbat lectures like “Who are you: Body or Soul?” at the Aish HaTorah World Center.

Participants found their inner dude while jeeping, driving all-terrain vehicles and rappelling. Long days ended with barbecues, drum circles, dancing and singing.

“Guys were getting in touch with parts of themselves they didn’t know existed,” Litvak said.
Far from the ones they loved, the men drew together – “You just put your arm around a guy,” Litvak said – and left with the feeling that they had become better husbands and men.

The next men’s trip is scheduled for June 2015.

Men learn to open up on Israel mission

David Holzel

Published in Washington Jewish Week 

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