Day 2 - Strength Beyond Words

Day 2 - Strength Beyond Words
22 Feb 2018 by Laurie Matez

Wow, wow, wow! I could not imagine that our second day could be even more momentous than the first.  I came to Israel as part of an educators trip to see preschools and learn about the land of Israel.

I never imagined the impact I would feel from all my interactions and observations.

We started our day with a visit to Ashkol Yachalom .  We were treated to a most delicious breakfast selection, followed by a delightful group of children singing songs of peace, love and harmony. We enjoyed a whirlwind visit to their gan, to see how they experience education in their communities.

From there, we were on our way to the city of Holon. We met Rabbi Galit who gave us a short commentary on the creation and challenge of developing a pluralistic school community and congregation.  We went to visit these two ganim, and saw the differences from the one before. Each school has its own charm and its own style.

Our third stop to the Orchard of Abraham children’s garden, was to me, the most touching.  We met Ihab, an Arab man, and his wife, Ora, a Jewish woman. We sat in the garden of their school for a brief introduction to their life and how this school came to be. These two created this school for their children so there would be a place of neutral learning and appreciation.  They hired both native Arab and Hebrew speakers as the teachers so the children would be exposed naturally to both languages and would not have to choose which they were more comfortable using, as they would be able to use what came to them automatically.  After some small confusion, we were invited back to their home for som lunch and the remainder of the story of how they met.

We took off our shoes as we entered their sacred home and sat on the floor, eager to try the foods created by the women of the town who cook in order to make their living.  We feasted on homemade hummus, labeneh, rice with veggies, and various salads….all too delicious to describe.  While sitting in their home, they told us the story of their journey to be together and the unimaginable hatred they had to endure before they came together as one.  They have three beautiful children and a strength beyond words.

We think that life is easy, but it is not. Each day there are real struggles all across our world.  These visits are eye opening to the long road ahead of us.  I reflect deeply on what I am seeing and ask myself how will this change me and the way I view others.