Today is February 23, 2018 -
I have relatives in Israel. When bombs explode or missiles are fired into the country, we receive an e-mail, text, or phone call confirming that all loved ones are ok. If you have close relatives in Israel, you probably use the same system.
A couple of months ago, in reference to our partnership relationship with the Eshkol region, I suggested that we should think of the people of Eshkol as our cousins. These are people we visit when we travel to Israel. But there is another aspect of this relationship. Cousins are also the people that we care about when tragedy strikes. Intellectually, we understand this. Last year we raised $75,000 to help build a resilience center in Eshkol–a trauma center that is reinforced to provide protection from missile strikes. This past week, our teenagers learned the emotional side of this relationship.
Last Wednesday 90 missiles were fired into Israel from Gaza. Our teen mission participants immediately mobilized into action. They “WhatsApped” with their new Israeli friends. Thankfully, they were all safe. Our teens spent the day on their mobile devices, offering words of comfort and friendship with the teens from Eshkol, who spent their day in the bomb shelters.
The mission to Israel did not end when our teen participants walked off the plane onto American soil. They have made relationships and expanded both their personal families and their concept of Jewish community.
The marketing materials on the Partnership-2-Gether literature discuss the person-to-person relationship that we can enjoy with our Eshkol cousins. We know this program works because the proof is evident–our teenagers get it.