Sherri Goodstein of Newton was a participant on the recent Women’s Philanthropy Mission to Israel. She was lucky to share part of the mission with her 21-year-old daughter, Sammi, a junior at Ithaca College who’s studying abroad in Israel. These are her reflections on her experience.
I always knew that at some point in my life I would make it to Israel and that it was going to change my life. But to have the chance to share my first trip to Israel with my daughter, Sammi, was truly beyond anything I could have imagined!
It was an honor and a privilege to have been part of the 2018 WP Mission to Israel. We traveled with an outstanding group of women and got to see and learn about Israel in such a different and special way. The people we met, the stories they told, and the places we visited were all eye-opening and inspirational.
We could not have imagined that we would spend time visiting a Moshav (cooperative farming community), bordering the Gaza Strip. We learned how people make daily sacrifices — choosing to live for now and for future generations in a community affected by ongoing terrorist acts. Rockets are continuously being fired and sirens are constantly disrupting daily lives. If there’s an attack, residents know they only have 15 seconds to get to the closest bomb shelter. They choose to endure this way of life to protect their land, not only for themselves, but for the entire state of Israel.
In stark contrast, just miles away, we spent time in beautiful Tel Aviv, where Sammi is studying. We visited museums, shopped in the Carmel Market, saw breathtaking beaches, and ate in great restaurants. They seemed like two different worlds, yet we learned that one cannot exist without the other.
Israel is a complicated place and has a lot of challenges, but it is also way ahead of the game in so many areas such as technology, life-sciences, and medicine. We saw this when we visited the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and heard about the latest advances in diagnostic radiology as well as other cutting-edge medical solutions and procedures. We also toured the Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital with its underground parking lot that goes below sea level and converts into a fully-functioning hospital in case of a major attack.
What we saw in Israel showed us firsthand how CJP has been instrumental in making advances like these become a reality, impacting the lives of so many people.
Sammi and I are so grateful for our time together on the WP Mission. It was not only life-changing, as I had anticipated, but it also made us feel prouder and more connected to our Jewish identity than we ever thought possible.