We’re marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel with a year-long celebration! Keep an eye out for “Memphis Celebrates Israel at 70” branding at your synagogue, at events around town, and online. In this series, we’re asking Memphians to tell their personal Israel stories. Do you have a story to tell?
Going to Israel sealed a deep love I’ve had for Israel and my faith since I was a little girl in second grade. I first went to Israel in June of 2005. I know there was this ache in my heart when I left and I realized how much I loved a country I had never been to. I would go for runs on the beach and I literally looked at every person’s eyes thinking, “Am I related to you? Where are you from?” I wanted to know everyone’s stories. Bert Wolff encouraged us to keep Israeli Scouts, so we kept our first Israeli the year before we went to Israel. Throughout the last 13 years we’ve kept Israelis and you love them each as their own. Each one has a different part in your heart.
The second time I went to Israel was January 2013. I had known so many Israeli Scouts when I was in Memphis and I had so many invitations to spend time with them in Israel. I got stuck in a hummus bar during a thunderstorm with one of them and we spent two hours together and giggled about what a mitzvah it was.
Everybody connects through different facets and we don’t know when we’ll connect. Some people think going to synagogue every Friday night like I do is a connection, it is a form, but the biggest thing is that we don’t lose these generations. How do we keep these connections? I am so grateful to Bert and Art because I would not have these Israeli children without them.
I’ve taught my kids that you reach out to others, and you take people in, and you be there for them without looking for something in return and what we got was a family, and love, and something that will be there forever for them. We’ve missed weddings due to the war, but I treasure them. When I went there, it was so magical. In five days I probably saw twelve of them. Three of them I stayed with, three of them I promised I would stay with the next time. I mean, I can’t stay with enough people. We’re all mishpachah. How can we never let our kids forget that there are generations we need to keep feeding into?