Still Singing: on Grandchildren and Israel
This is a guest post by Dr. Malka Goodman, an Israeli and Saint Paulite.
Today, Zayde and I picked up our granddaughter from the airport. Shana (short for Shoshana) was returning from her participation in Birthright Israel. Ten days with the program and five days with our family in Israel.
I looked for telltale signs on her face. She was practically glowing, even after hours and hours of flight, the kind of glow that comes from within. “How was it?” I asked the superfluous question. “Great”, she answered. My heart was singing. Oh yes, she plans on going back. She and Noga, her second cousin, have already outlined an itinerary. My heart kept singing.
What she liked most, besides the sights and sounds of Israel, was that the guys in the group got along so well. No fights, no disagreements. Forty young American students and seven IDF soldiers. Yes, Shana plans on keeping in touch.
From the airport we came to our house, and over coffee, we looked at hundreds of photos. She loved the Kotel and Massada. She loved Haifa and Safed and Caesaria and, and. She did not see the Golan Heights and Eilat, so she has to go back. They had great fun in Tel Aviv. The bar scene is great, though Shana does not drink.
Bike rides, camel rides and long hikes– what else does one need? The weather was great, flowers blooming everywhere, beautiful clouds with glorious sunrises and sunsets. . . . My heart was still singing.
Visits with the family went famously, especially considering that Shana had never met any of them. All very pleasing. What also pleased Shana a lot was that the focus of Birthright was on Jewish identity and not on religion. Participants in the program were kept active, involved and enlightened.
My heart is still singing.
(Photos: Stellas mom, David55king, and Melissa)