Many of us ask that question each day. It’s not always because we’re unsure of our identity. It’s because we continue to learn and grow with each new sunrise. As Jews, we determine our own learning curve. And as we evolve, each moment offers an opportunity to take the next step as we challenge our beliefs, and wonder if our priorities are in order.
In our community, more than 100 North Shore Jewish teens are asking that question these days as they spend two weeks on the Lappin Foundation’s Youth to Israel program. Instead of sleeping late and tapping away on social media all day on the North Shore, these teens are taking action, and spending part of their summer in a place that millions of American Jews have never visited. They didn’t know what to expect, but they took a chance and did something different.
We can learn from these teens that going beyond one’s comfort level and taking chances can enrich our lives for the better. Instead of taking a vacation in New Hampshire or Maine, or flying off to Europe, consider spending a week or two in Israel. Never before has it been easier to travel there – an El Al plane leaves three nights a week from Boston and can get you to Tel Aviv, nonstop, in less than 11 hours.
For those of you who seek a dose of Jewish identity, go to Jerusalem and meditate at the Western Wall; head to Tel Aviv, sip a coffee and take in the skyline or the warm Mediterranean. Or drive to Tiberias or the Dead Sea, and dip your feet in the holy waters.
Israel has a way of changing people. For those who seek spirituality, it might arrive at an unexpected moment. And for those who are critical of Israel’s political policies, get a firsthand look at the country you’re criticizing. The important thing is to not be passive, and to take action. Find a way to buy a ticket, and just go. Chances are, you will come back a different person.