JCC Blog & News

Reflections of Israel by Melissa Plotkin

access_time May 1, 2020 - By Erin Levine-Krynock

People will say, “You don’t know/understand until you experience it.” That was me. I have been doing diversity and inclusion work for the IDEAS Center/York JCC for over 6 years and I’ve never been to Israel. I’ve had family and friends who have gone, but it wasn’t until I went back in November 2019 that I saw and experienced the wonder. It was an amazing opportunity that enabled me to meet many who were different than me in many ways. I consider those moments/conversations learning tools that I will refer back to for a long time.

The bulk of history I learned in school was recent history compared to what I experienced during my November 2019 trip to Israel. To see historical sites that still stand after hundreds of years was breathtaking. To meet those from different cultures and representing different faiths was humbling. I teach diversity and inclusion through my work, but living it in a place that I’ve never been was a gift.

From tours, walks on historical grounds, eating traditional meals, being invited into their homes for conversation and relationship building, it was an all-around transformative visit to Israel. My trip can now be the story that I share and encourage others to experience. It isn’t until we step outside of our comfort zones that we learn, and I definitely learned a lot on this trip.