Feeling the Love in Israel

Make for yourself a teacher, acquire a friend, and judge every person favorably. (Pirkei Avot 1:6)

“If you don’t know your history, you don’t know where you are going,” said one of the participants as we were seated together in a circle. Twenty couples with diverse backgrounds, faiths and practices. Some have children. Some do not. But what we all have in common is some connection to Judaism and a desire to learn so we can figure out the next steps to our own personal journeys.

Honeymoon Israel is a unique program geared to young couples with a Jewish connection. We explore Israel for nine days, experiencing the culture, learning the history and exploring the land. It is a powerful experience made even better by the fact that we are each here with our chosen life partner. Many of us have questions about what values and practices we want to incorporate in our own homes and for our children. Some of us want to feel grounded in something bigger than ourselves. Some of us are seeking community. Whatever brought us here, one thing is for certain. We have shared our hearts with each other and will leave here as a unified group bound together by love, respect and newfound friendship.

As one of the group leaders, what have I learned on this trip? Exploring Israel is always powerful. It is an emotive experience that is deeply felt. From the couples, I’ve learned how open and trusting people can be and just how precious that is to develop deep relationships. I’ve learned about the power of community and the power of love.

Our sages taught, “Make for yourself a teacher, acquire a friend, and judge every person favorably (Pirkei Avot 1:6).” I’m trying to follow this advice. Each participant has become my teacher and, I hope, my friend. Opening my heart as they have, I see the beauty in each of their souls. I’m honored to be part of this experience.

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