I recently returned from an amazing experience in Israel.
The trip, organised for Herzlia moms through Momentum (formally known as the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP)), saw us spend a jam-packed week touring Tel Aviv, Tiberius, Tsfat and Jerusalem.
The coordination and planning alone were breath-taking. On the dates we were there, 600 women from around the world were learning, crying, laughing and bonding in a whirlwind of tightly scheduled programming. As we arrived in Israel, a men’s group was leaving, as we left a new one was coming in. Momentum is a well-oiled machine, empowering Jews through fostering a love of Jewishness and Israel and developing skills to better our relationships back home. The speakers were on top form and the guides were knowledgeable.
But what made this trip exceptional was not the women we met in Israel, but the women we had brought with us. Our group leaders asked me to speak at our Shabbat dinner in Jerusalem and when I sat down to formulate my opinions on the trip up to that point, I was struck by the realisation that everything magical about the programme had been with us all along. The next Shabbat, back home in Cape Town after a few days of being able to reflect, I was asked to speak at another Shabbat dinner. This was still the part that had struck me the most.
When people ask me how Momentum was, I answer that it was incredible, and it really was, but the true magic of Momentum was the women from my hometown who I was privileged to get to know in this spiritually heightened, emotionally charged brave space, free from the usual commitments, and pre-judgements of home.
I recommend that, if possible, every Herzlia mom in Cape Town travel all the way to Israel so that they can appreciate the incredible woman living next door.
I made memories on that trip that stay with me today, and will for years to come. Being taken by two fellow moms on a ‘quick trip to the kotel’ that became a never-ending-this-is-how-I-am-going-to-die shopping spree on Ben Yehuda, with agonising deliberation over each item, and being asked “OMG, Linds, is this going in your column?!” Yes. Yes, it is. I loved every minute and would join you again in a heartbeat.
Lying in twin beds with my one-of-a-kind, exceptional roommate really connecting, our conversations getting slower as we fell asleep at the end of another insane day.
Watching a friend reconnect to a part of herself that she had separated from for a time.
Learning that just as I had made incorrect snap judgements about other people, they had done the same about me. (We all do this. The most wonderful gift you can give yourself is to be aware of it and try to stop)
It was a long way to travel to discover the women who live in my community, but it could not have happened any other way. We were taken from the familiar, shook up, shaken out and then given this incredible space in which to sew ourselves back together. I’m so glad I could weave these women into the fabric of my life, In Israel, and especially now that I am back home.
To read the editor’s column for December/January click here
To read or download the December/January issue of the Chronicle in PDF click here
To read the most read article of the November issue, click here
Portal to the Jewish Community: to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape town with links to their websites, click here
Featured organisation of the month: The Jewish Community Services’ (JCS) activities are centered on relief for the poor and distressed in the Jewish community. They provide a full range of preventative, educative and supportive counselling, statutory services as well as material relief. Visit http://www.jcs.org.za for more.