My Momentum Trip Experience: An Israeli’s Perspective by Judi Horowitz
It's been exactly three weeks since my July JWRP Momentum trip finished. I was privileged to be selected to join this trip as part of the Israeli team, our group being from the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. So, I've had what the girls like to call 'time to process.' It was, indeed, an extremely jam-packed, inspiring, emotional, and unique trip; and I'd like to relay to you what this trip meant to me as an Israeli participant.
I realized early on that the goals of this trip were three-fold: empowering women, bringing us closer to Judaism, and learning about the Land of Israel. This was very clear to me because every word that was spoken during the lectures, every site we visited, every aspect of those eight days was finely-tuned to this agenda, and boy, was it powerful. All the lecturers were not only riveting, but thought-provoking. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, wanting to hear more and more about Jewish values and how to become a better person. Some lecture themes included chesed, tzedaka and compassion. Every word touched my intellect and my soul. These lectures, accompanied by the amazing tours around Israel with outstanding guides, left me in a state that I can only describe as feeling FULL. Akin to feeling totally enveloped, with a desire to digest and internalize. So much was said, so much was seen and experienced, and all of it was so REAL, tangible.
Let me elaborate on the REAL part. As an American who came to Israel at age 18, and never went home, I am now considered an Israeli. I recently celebrated 30 years living in this country, so I've got the being Israeli thing down pat. I've been all around the country many times, married an Israeli, and we are raising my children here, whom are doing army service. I have built my life here. But, the JWRP trip helped me take a step back and look at it all in a new light. I saw, through my newly-made Florida friends' eyes, all that I had already experienced, but new again. What these women experienced, some of them first time in Israel , connecting to their Judaism, was for me so pure, innocent, and true. The newness, the first-time experiences, the connections with Judaism, it all affected me together with them. Even though I'm Israeli, I was somehow seeing these things for the first time, also. I was seeing them differently, through different eyes. I thank the JWRP directors and sponsors for having the wisdom to bring Israelis onto these trips, because I am so grateful for what I experienced. Feeling this gratitude, I did my best to be a source of advice and information for my new American friends, and to give back a little.
Lori Palatnik kept saying that expressing what we went through on this trip to family and friends afterwards would be difficult. For sure! How can I possibly relay to you how the concepts of Jewish values, the importance of the Land of Israel, as women, all felt so tangible and "REAL?" It is, indeed, hard to describe, how ideas and concepts come alive. They made me feel alive, buzzing with spirituality, tingling with gratitude, and thankfulness that I live in this strong Jewish country, able to express my Judaism in our own Land. All I know is that those feelings were so genuine and authentic. Now, even three weeks later, I am still glowing with excitement and sensitivity.
I hope I was able to express, using inadequate written words, what the JWRP trip really meant to me.
Judi Horowitz is a 2016 Momentum Trip participant.