One of my favorite things to do is to take groups to Israel. I have the opportunity to share a place that is very close to my heart.
People read so much about Israel in the news: newspapers, radio or television, but it doesn’t expose them to the wonders of this amazing country that holds centuries and millennia of history.
I lived in Israel for 11 years. I went on the Junior Year Abroad program and stayed. Israel was, and is, such a vibrant country that every minute there was exciting. I first went there in 1969, and made Aliyah in 1974. I came home in 1985 in order to be with family but I go back every year to be with my husband’s family and to infuse myself with the intense presence and atmosphere of this unique place in the world, its bellybutton, because it is where “G-d cut the cord.”
The country has changed dramatically from year to year with more building, more modernization, more ancient sites uncovered. Every time I go back, I make a point to go see new places and sites that I haven’t seen before.
There are many exciting, interesting, and fun places to see in the world but I feel that Israel has to be on everyone’s bucket list–especially for Jews and anyone connected to the Judeo-Christian religions. It opens up our awareness of how close we really are to the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Those stories really did happen and there we can see the proof.
I am coordinaing the Jewish Federation’s next community trip to this incredible country from October 23 through November 3. This is a wonderful time to be there. The weather is fabulous, warm but not too warm. Israel is the origin of what is called the Mediterranean climate.
We set an itinerary which takes us through most of central and northern Israel with an option to visit Petra in Jordan at the end of the trip. Because Israel is a small country, actually the size of the state of New Jersey, we are able to see many places in a day. If you join us and want to put in a request to visit certain sites, please let me know.
Israel has been very strict about COVID-19 but has recently opened up its doors to bring in everyone. It is a very safe place to be right now. It has been leader in dealing with the pandemic in the most successful way, often cited by the CDC for the way vaccines and boosters have been handled.
If you are interested, consider joining us this fall as we travel around the most exciting place to be in the world! For questions and more information send an email to email@example.com or call 626-445.0810.
Cantor Judy Sofer is is the Jewish Federation’s Cultural Arts Program Coordinator and contributing writer to JLife Magazine.