By Stacey Silverman
Participant of the 2014-15 Jewish Federation Leadership Program
It was an honor to be part of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County's recent Leadership Mission to Israel. We got to see first-hand the important projects the Federation is involved in such as the Galilee Medical Center, the security center of Matte Asher near the border w/Lebanon, and the Neve Michael Children's Village, where children are taken out of crisis situations and cared for in a safe and loving environment. The faces of these precious children will stay with me long after my return home.
We also had the good fortune to be visiting Israel during the country's election, and got to spend time speaking with both a Jewish and Israeli Arab reporter for The Jerusalem Post. We engaged in meaningful, candid dialogue w/both reporters regarding the impact and outcome of Netanyahu's victory. Our time with them was riveting and thoughtful, as we heard their perspectives and sought to understand the political landscape and issues important to Israelis.
Our Jeep ride through the Golan Heights culminated atop Mount Bental, where a courageous and deadly battle was fought during the Yom Kippur War in '73. The Valley of Tears below serves as a poignant reminder of the heavy casualties paid by Israel. As we stood on this mountain, the sound of the bombing below us in Syria, part of their ongoing civil war, was nothing short of chilling.
Picking a favorite sight in Israel is impossible. From the Partnership2Gether meetings in the Western Galilee, to placing my hand of the Kotel, to strolling the streets of the bustling Mechane Yehuda Market before Shabbat, Israel was a treat for the soul and senses.