Arrival in Israel for (Most of) Cohort 3…

Posted on February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015
Cohort 3, with a few travel adventures due to weather, has almost entirely arrived in Israel. We are still awaiting one of our members, whose flight was cancelled, to feel truly complete.

I want to post a first blog tonight while impressions are still fresh. I spoke with Brenda Footer, one of our members who has come to Israel for the first time. The JECELI Israel Seminar blog framework has three parts: expectations, experiences, reflections.

I began by asking Brenda about her expectations:
“I tried not to have too many expectations about the experience, but to keep an open mind. Many people asked me what I was looking forward to learning, seeing or feeling, but I didn’t want to go into the seminar with preconceptions.” She added that while others were excited for her, which she appreciated, she felt that she needed to go slowly, to see what being in Israel would offer her.

I next asked about what she had experienced in terms of our travel and arrival. Brenda responded:
“I was surprised at the increased level of security to get into Israel before leaving the US. Once here, it was clear that I was in a Jewish place. There were many more observant people around in the airport. I was delighted to see Hebrew being used – Hebrew words that I recognized.” While driving up to our first stop, Bet She’an, she remarked that the vegetation and the environment were very different from that to which she is accustomed. She enjoyed absorbing the new landscape.

I next asked Brenda for reflections. Her first statement was, “I’m really tired!” I could identify. She then said, I want to continue to stay open to the relationship that I form with Israel as a real place. I am looking for a gradual encounter, like wading into the water, rather than jumping into the deep end.”

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