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JCC Blog & News

We are the Same but Also Different

access_time November 8, 2019 - By Amber

By Andi Liss

Friday morning – Far-enough into our trip that the effects of traveling so far have worn off. The drive to mass consume at every meal has lessened. The balance between drinking enough water and timing of the visits to the “shirutim” (bathroom in Hebrew – very important lesson from our first day) has been achieved. The size of public restrooms – men vs women – resembles the US in terms of line ( women) versus no line (men), but we have visited many mixed gender restrooms – private “WC’s with open sink areas. So much more civilized than arriving at a busy site and seeing a vacant men’s room and 15 women in line for the ladies. So – am I really going to write my blog entry about bathrooms? My YELP review so far – clean and available.

We spent our morning at Caesarea National Park – an archeological project where we could stand in places that people have stood for centuries. People just like us, with many of the challenges we all face today – earning a living, feeding our children, putting a roof over our heads. Power struggles, shifting allegiances, greed, intolerance in the world around us – has much changed?

We saw a fisherman on the beach today as his fathers did before him but perhaps his location today is a free choice and an empty line will not mean that his children will go hungry.

This afternoon we arrived in Jerusalem as pilgrims of so many faiths have done for centuries. We arrive in time for Shabbat and will experience the day of rest in a place where all will stop to observe in some way. Not everything and everyone will cease work but the pace and atmosphere dramatically changes before our very eyes and sunset arrives. We will all recognize that constant progression is not sustainable. We need a break to recharge and reflect in order to continue to grow.

All of us came on this trip for different reasons, and we will take home different “souvenirs”. Mine will be the experience of the Israel I have inhaled and tasted and shaken hands with.

Our guide, Douglas, at the Baha’i Temple mentioned that the Israel we have met in the US on television is not the Israel that we are all living in for this brief visit. We have eaten in a Druze home and in Dani and Orit’s home, in sitdown restaurants and on the street, hotel breakfasts and snacks on the bus. We’ve walked ancient pathways, rode cable cars, battled traffic jams, one way streets with traffic going two ways, ascended many steps, spent time in a repair garage, and stood in many bathroom lines.

We’ve been moved to tears by the experiences we have shared and to great laughter by the time spent together. We will have so much to bring home to York, and I’m not counting the luggage.

Shabbat Shalom, Andi

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