407-645-5933 ext. 236 marisa.west@shalomorlando.org

One last post before I return to America. After an exhausting experience like this, there is nothing better than getting to unwind with friends. I took a taxi to my friends Margot and Tamar’s house for dinner, conversation, friendship, to play with their kids and meet their new baby. We talked about it being 13 years since Margot made Aliyah (I took her on her first trip to Israel!) and how my oldest turns 20 in less than 3 months. It was an incredibly refreshing way to walk away from the challenges of the conflict and the deep thought of the past 4 days and talk about kids, food, family, and the wonders of daily life. Of course, they are Israeli and asked questions about the trip and we discussed things but the intensity was different. It was back on my home ground. I wasn’t challenged by what they said, in fact it was mostly what I believed before the trip and/or what I still believe today.

And the beauty of the Jewish community showed through as I got a text from a friend whose son is in our JCC preschool telling me that after such a tough week, I deserved to see this picture (it’s of her son and 3 of his friends in their classroom). All the pictures are below. It was amazing feeding the new baby – it made me understand what being a grandfather will be like sometime WAY in the future

Despite the sadness and anger and hope and joy that this week has brought me, I am feeling grateful and relaxed. I will miss Israel and all her beauty but I know I will be back in the near future to experience all her wonders again.