Israel Tour 2019

A report about the 2019 tour by Rebekah Treganna:

FPS members Jesse Neumann, Chloe Grossmith-Dwek and Rebekah Treganna.

FPS members Jesse Neumann, Chloe Grossmith-Dwek and Rebekah Treganna.

After a brutal year of GCSE preparation, I was overjoyed to finally arrive at the airport ready for what had been promised to be the trip of a lifetime - and it was.

Spending almost a month in Israel with 42 other 16 year olds, and our 5 incredible madrichim, was a truly unique experience. We toured all over the country learning all about the different groups in Israeli society from their own firsthand accounts: Charedim, the Druze community, Ethiopian Jews, the LGBTQ+ community, the Bedouin, and Palestinians.

We did not shy away from difficult conversations about reform Zionism and the Israel-Palestine conflict, which illuminated new ways of thinking for all of us, and challenged our existing ideas about our relationship with Israel as Liberal Jews. Our political education did not stop there, as we quizzed Nathan Jeffay on geopolitics and spoke with Women of the Wall about the Orthodox Monopoly over Israeli-Jewish life. LJY's four pillars (Tikkun Olam, Youth Empowerment, Liberal Judaism, and Reform Zionism) were incorporated into everything we did, ensuring our trip was filled with chances to live out the ideology we so often discussed.

However, it was not all education. Aqua Kef, rafting on the Jordan, beach time, floating in the Dead Sea, and countless water hikes cooled us off from the hot Israeli sun (which reached 43 degrees on some days!) and free time in markets allowed us to get to know our surroundings well. A particular highlight for me was camel riding in the desert, followed by hiking Masada before sunrise the following morning - while incredibly tiring (and sweaty), it is definitely a memory I will never forget.

Each of us developed our spiritual and religious Jewish identity, visiting the Western Wall and even leading our own services on the final shabbat of Tour. We also got the chance to live out iconic LJY experiences - staying at the much-loved Kibbutz Lotan and grabbing Netzer merch at the headquarters of the WUPJ! But perhaps the most incredible part of tour was the strong bonds of friendships we all made, which I know will last a lifetime.

I can't wait to continue my LJY journey.