I recently participated on a trip to Israel with my university, Yeshiva University, as part of a solidarity mission to show Israel and our fellow Jews that we stand with them and are with them during this difficult time. I can honestly say it has been one of the most truly inspiring and powerful journeys I have made. A few major points have resonated with me. Whatever you do "You're the face of Israel" is one particularly striking phrase I learned during this trip.
Throughout this trip we met with many different people and heard many different stories, views, and perspectives, some of which I agreed with and some of which I didn't. I think the most important takeaway for me was this: Jews throughout the ages have been through a lot. But perhaps the most important thing to remember is that despite the challenges, we need to keep fighting and smiling. A day gone by without striving for the future and working for more, is a day gone to waste. Despite the terror, Israelis keep moving forward. We saw and experienced this over and over again throughout this trip- from One Family, to the Meir family, to spending Shabbos with families in Yad Binyamin-- many are Olim whom have struggled and fought to make Israel their home and despite the challenges have continued fighting on. I think this is one of the most important lessons I will take with me. Important things won't come easy, as one of the speakers over Shabbos mentioned- things that are worthwhile are hard and things that are hard are worthwhile-- and through it all, whether in Israel or not-- we need to keep moving forward together. We had the opportunity to speak to prior residents of Gush Katif and the most powerful lesson I learned was this resilience and refusal to give up. We just have to keep fighting, together, and we will, with HaShem's help, endure.