The entire trip was magnificent and each day had its own special moments. But, how do you pick what was more amazing? Was it Charlie's motivational talks? Was it the Israeli Advocacy presentation by Zev Ben Schachar or listening to Tamir Goodman? Was it the walk through the Old City or visiting the Western Wall? Was it watching some of our group get bar mitzvah'd at Masada or swimming in the Dead Sea? Was it the intimate time we spent with the Looks for Shabbos lunch or sharing our third meal and havdala with the soldiers at the Claman's? Was it visiting Yad Vashem or spending Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel?
For me, the most touching moments were during Friday night Shabbos, listening to the religious electric guitarist (as music fills my soul) and then Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel. As Charlie lost control of the service and the entire group began dancing and shouting "Am Yisrael Chai", the energy level was crazy HIGH and you could feel the true joy of everyone at the Kotel, as hundreds of other visitors joined our dance and the shouting got even louder.
Listening to the speakers, I always tried to take away one thing that could help me improve myself and my relationships. There were many takeaways, but the thing that resonated with me most was Charlie's "Art of the Crossover" speech and being "All In." Fortunately for me, our WiFi on the bus was not working and I had NO data plan. So, I was forced to be all in all the time, whether the tour guide was speaking, whether I was learning in a class, or from one of our speakers or talking to others in our group. So, I learned to disconnect (electronically) for most of the trip. And, I'm committed to taking this "All In" attitude home with me. And, by home, I mean both back to the USA and specifically to my own home, so that I'm a better listener to my wife, Karyn, and our children.
This trip has additional meaning, as our younger daughter will be leaving for a 3 week trip to Israel around 20 hours after I arrive home. After my maiden voyage to Israel, I'll now be able to understand and discuss her trip at a much more meaningful level.
Thank you to JWRP for this AMAZING OPPORTUNITY!