A Tour That Would Have Been Tragic.
Check the dates on this flyer. I booked this trip last spring (2023) and intended to fly into Israel on October 7-8 to have a few extra days in Jerusalem before the tour started. The trip was cancelled long before the outbreak of war. My deposit was refunded this summer.
I was thrilled to find this group, originally. As an interfaith organization, the tour promised to take me to holy places all over Israel (Jewish, Christian and Muslim). We would even have a chance to visit a Kibbutz in the south of Israel.
My travel companion and I found an amazing tour to a Bedouin community across the border in Jordan. We speculated about staying the night in tents in the desert.
But then, inexplicably the tour was cancelled.
The irony of missing that trip.
Fortunately for me I was spared a dangerous trip into a war zone, ravaged by Hamas terrorists. Not so fortunate are the many Israelis and Palestinians killed, insured and trapped in Gaza and bordering villages. Their lives are forever changed, even if they survive.
There are many others trapped in the country too. There are Jews from all over the world who make the pilgrimage to Israel for holidays. Americans, Australians, Europeans. I texted with one American Jewish mother, who was in the airport in Tel Aviv, as she frantically sought flights for her family out of the country. She made it thankfully.
The irony isn’t lost on me. I narrowly escaped — or perhaps I was protected. Why?
Do everything You can… and a little bit more.
For those of us who live in relative peace, I suggest we need to do more. But it isn’t easy to figure out what to do is it?
I faced a similar dilemma on the day of 9/11/01. My children were young then. I watched the news reports, in disbelief.
Soon I was getting calls from the local media asking for a sound bite from the psychologist. I was asked to give advice on how to cope emotionally, how to help our children, how to quell the fear.
I had no idea what to say really, Most of us don’t have first responder skills or a way to rescue people in a war zone. So, I opted for psychological help. I suggested on 9/11 and shortly thereafter, that my community could be there for each other in some way. Help your elderly neighbor. Donate to the Red Cross. Hold your children tightly. But those suggestions all seemed puny in comparison to the devastation in New York and the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.
When the news reporter pressed me, “Is there anything else?” I found a voice deep inside of me and to my surprise I said, “Yes there is. Do everything you can and then a little bit more.”
That sound bite led the news for days.
We were made for each other.
You are so much more than you realize. You have strength and wisdom and love so profound that you can do much more than you ever thought possible. There is room in your heart to do a little bit more.
Take time to journal and pray and meditate. Let the lessons surface. The world needs you, more than ever. It will come to you. The answers will come to you.
As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “God created us for fellowship. God created us so that we should form the human family, existing together because we were made for each other. We are not made for an exclusive self-sufficiency but for interdependence, and we break that law of being at our peril.”