I have been a very busy mother this summer. As most Israeli mothers, I was scared that this year would be remembered by my children as the "year of the WAR." So, I decided to change that thought process. I managed to snag a good friend, Leiah Jaffe, an amazing American- Israeli tour guide who managed to give me two days of her busy week, for day tours around Israel. I managed to wrangle six other families to join us on each trip, in order to make the trip feel more like a group tour, vs. a private tour. Leiah would give us an itinerary, directions to go to the location of the tour, and we would caravan up to the site in our cars together. We made sure to pack plenty of drinks and snacks for the way, and we were off to our adventures!
It was not easy to rile my kids out of bed on trip day. The kids wanted to sleep, watch TV, or play computer games. But, I managed to push them out the door each time. And, each time, we were more surprised by the wonders this country has to offer.
Our trips were to places including the Tel Aviv Eretz Israel museum, the Israel Museum, the Big Bambu exhibit, the Qumran Caves, Lido Junction, Ein Zukim, the Old City of Jerusalem, and Bet Shearim. At each stop, Leiah entertained our children with tales of old, and tales of new. She gave the kids workbooks to answer questions, and asked them questions as they were walking through the exhibits and grounds, as well.
At times the kids complained, but it was fleeting. At times, parents were non-compliant, too, but that was a fleeting moment as well. Overall, our days were filled with exploration and a new love for our country and its many nooks and crannies.
As these trips ended, my kids were reflecting upon the summer, and said "Mom, thank you for the best summer EVER!" That statement warmed my heart! It meant that I succeeded, I managed to turn a possibly scary summer into one of adventure, exploration, and new-found appreciation for Israel.
I love this country with my heart, my soul, and my entire being. I live and breathe it daily with utmost appreciation to our Maker for giving our family the ability to live, love, and laugh here daily. Yet, I was unsure as to whether my kids appreciated their existence here. But, now it is affirmed. Even in time of war, we live in the best place in the world, hands-down. As it says in Psalms,
מָה רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶיךָ ה' כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִיתָ מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶךָ
How abundant are Your works, G-d, with wisdom You made them all!(Psalms 104:24)
We witnessed many wonders this past summer. Many miracles, many natural wonders, and many wonderful acts of bravery by our IDF. May G-d continue to bless us with His grace. And, as we approach the new Jewish year, I look forward to the "best year EVER!"
Dead Sea Environs Trip