“In a matter of two days, sixteen strangers have become sisters in my soul. It is amazing to feel such a strong connection with them – and with my Jewish soul!”
“I never realized how close to G-d I was until I came to Israel with CTN and JWRP … Thank you!”
“I knew the Wall would be an emotional experience but I really had no idea … This trip has been awe inspiring and I will continue talking about my experiences for the rest of my life.”
“This trip to Israel has exceeded my expectations. The presentation of Jewish ideas, values and history is perfectly times with the places we visit …”
Hi – It’s Rabbi Deutsch and I’m writing to share with you some of the amazing things that have been happening on this year’s CTN Israel Women’s Mission.
As you may know, my wife Esti is currently leading a group of 16 women from the Chicago area on a spiritual – and fun – mission to Israel. This subsidized ‘Jewish growth’ trip is a joint project of Chicago Torah Network and the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (www.jwrp.org) – and the reports so far are just great!
This is our fourth mission over the past 3 years – and it sounds like we have another great CTN group! Open, inspired, spiritual … and lots of fun! And they have been having an absolutely fabulous time! From kayaking on the Jordan River, dancing at the gorgeous Decks Restaurant in Tiberias, visiting the ancient, mystical city of Safed, taking some great Torah classes, and much more. And it’s been just 3 days!
And now, they have finally arrived in Jerusalem!
As they were about to go to the Wall – many for the very first time – Esti presented each participant with a gift on behalf of CTN. A beautiful Hebrew – English Siddur / prayer book, with their names gold stamped on the front. Okay – here’s one more quote:
“When you handed me my own, beautiful, personalized prayer book as a gift, I was so touched. All I could do is cry …”
The pictures above and many more, as well as more detailed updates can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/jwrpofficial. (By the way, our Chicago group is there together with similar groups from across the country, including, St. Louis, Norfolk, Cleveland, Palo Alto, Boston, and groups from New York and New Jersey – which is why you may have noticed that the picture in the bottom left-hand corner above looks like a lot more than 16 people!)
I hope to continue to share more pictures, quotes and updates over the next week. Days 5-8
Hi – Hope you are having a great day!
Here are some more comments and reflections from the women on our Israel Mission about their past few days. Really sounds like this trip is really our best ever!
From challah baking on Friday to a most amazing pre Shabbat concert by Chassidic Rabbi Yom Tov Glaser (can’t believe how he knows all those old rock songs, looking like he does!) to the most amazing, spiritual candle lighting at Aish HaTorah, overlooking the kotel. Then, going down to the wall and greeting the Shabbat Queen while linking arms and singing … just unbelieveable. The Friday night meal was so special, with a soldier at each table, and the opportunity to get to know them and what it’s like … The rest of Shabbat was beautiful and fun (including our “Stump the Rebbetzins” on Shabbat afternoon – they did pretty well!). Then the third meal at the Clamans’ magnificent apartment overlooking the Temple Mount. 200 of us plus 50 soldiers in one apartment! And finally, sad to see Shabbat go, but what better way than doing the final havdalah service on a rooftop overlooking the holiest place on earth!
Sunday, Masada, swimming (floating) the Dead Sea, camel rides and a gala dinner at “Abraham and Sara’s Tent” (so cool!). And of course, some more shopping!
Monday, we got some time to sit down and think about how we are feeling and where we would like to be in three months – and to write it in a letter to ourselves that they’ll send us in October when we are back in our lives back home. Then we had tow absolutely amazing speakers – Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an Israeli attorney and human rights activist, known for her successful lawsuits and legal actions brought on behalf of terror victims against terrorist groups, their leaders and financial patrons. And then a fantastic look at what it means to be a Jewish front line soldier, by IDF Sergeant, Benjamin Anthony.
All in all it’s been a fantastic combination of fun, meaning, depth and spirituality, with greatest group of women!