November 2012 Journal

Each participant was asked to submit something reflecting their experiences and feelings from the trip. It could be a poem, short story, picture with a caption, drawing or painting, op-ed, diary entry, song or any other format.
Following then are some submissions following the November 2012 tour.
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Joseph Shamash, Pardes

One Wish Jerusalem

One Wish Jerusalem is a reminder of and a tribute to our shared humanity. Shot in one day, in Jerusalem, we invited everyone who passed us at the outdoor market and the Old City to share a wish: an honest, human wish. In a country and a city often highlighted for the complexities and conflicts that arise from a divergence of dreams we invite you to connect to the beauty that is our shared ability to dream. To believe. To hope. To wish.

In commemoration of Israel’s 65th Anniversary of Independence we invite you to celebrate and to reflect with these faces in mind. To remember that independence is a constant struggle, for nations and individuals, and that the achievement of the most precious freedoms – freedoms that can only be measured in the love we allow ourselves to carry as gifts – rests on the individuals’ willingness to find humanity in and connection with those they walk the streets with. With those who wish in the same way, with the same purity, regardless of the language in which those wishes are expressed.

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Sarah Groner, J Street Tel Aviv

Perspectives 2012

Last week I had the chance to participate in a worthwhile tour in Israel. It is a program called Perspectives. This is a short piece about my impressions from the 2 day tour. Enjoy.

The most distinct impression I made from the Perspectives 2012 trip was the sense that all of the individuals we met care deeply about the future of the State of Israel. While they may disagree on their visions for our state, I came away with the feeling that every person cherishes the place they call home.

One of the last speakers over the two day tour was a Yemini rabbi in Nokdim. He spoke in Hebrew and gave a simple message, one that was refreshingly apolitical after constant political talk. He told the group that Israel is the home of the Jewish people. That each one of us should remember that as Jews, this is our place, no matter what happens in the world, Israel will be there for each Jew. It felt like he was offering us a security blanket a parent gives a child, with the message “Go out into the world! Explore! But take this blanket with you, and remember you can always come home.”

The political debates around Israel’s future gain an added dimension when viewed in the context of this promise of a safety net. On the one hand, it seems ironic that Israel promises security to the world’s Jews! Without clear borders, with the constant threat of internal warfare or external strikes from Iran, what kind of safe haven is Israel really offering the Jewish people? Still, after over sixty years, it seems like world Jewry has internalized the permanence of the State, and Jews entrust some degree of their communal fate in the hands of the State of Israel. A Jew in the diaspora can always keep this option open in the back of her or his mind, that somewhere there is a place that will shelter me if things go awry. I may never need this place to be my permanent home, but it can be a place I visit from time to time that makes me feel welcome by the fact that I am a Jew.

But this promise of security also shines light on the passionate perspectives held by Israelis. As Israelis, the fulfillment of the State is more than just a back up plan, it is existence itself. For an Israeli, the questions facing the future of the State are weighty, carrying with them the burden of the entire Jewish people. How will we keep this place alive? How will we keep our promise to the Jews of the world that we will be here always? It is precisely because these questions bear so much significance that every Israeli speaks so passionately about his views for the future of Israel. Each Israeli feels the weight of Jewish history on his or her shoulders.

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Jessica Snapper, Jewlicious

Security on the Ground: A Perspectives Tour

Although I found my value system coming into conflict with that of many of the speakers and participants (note: the tour is designed to be this way), I must say how impressed I am with the diversity, brains, and dedication that exists in Israel. Even if I don’t agree with someone’s religious or political viewpoint, even if as a security professional it’s difficult to listen to people who seem unfairly critical of the country, I’m really proud of this spark in the Jewish people that demands justice, that fights to protect the vulnerable, and that is stubborn enough to keep plugging away no matter what conflict we’re facing.

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