I have arrived in Tel Aviv and my heart is soaring! After a day in Paris, I must say, to me Tel Aviv seems cleaner and easier to get around. Tel Aviv has a natural beauty that Paris does not have. Tel Aviv has the Shuk HaCarmel, with its amazing fruits vegetables, nuts and olives, as well as the Shuk HaPishPeshim overflowing with every type of furniture known to man. Tel Aviv is like no other city. The perfect size and location, the perfect mix of laid back and intense living. I love the passion for life here. I love the beach, the food, sports, art and music, but most of all, the children that I hear and see. Tel Aviv is still a young city. In Paris I was nervous to wear my kippah in public; sadly I could feel the anti-Semitism there. Paris is a great city of course; the museums are fantastic. (The museum of Judaism in Paris has a few very nice Chagall paintings by the way!)
I was last here in Israel two years ago and things seem different now. This time the energy and enthusiasm over possible political change is in the air. The situation is very hopeful, interesting and new. The culture, art, music and sports are at a level of all time sophistication. The music has gotten much tighter recently; I am excited to see two of my favorite Israeli bands, HaDag Nachash and Machina, tonight at the Nokia Center! The country’s recent successes in soccer (they tied Portugal in a world cup qualifying match!) and basketball (Maccabee Tel Aviv is one of the best teams within the Middle East and Europe) make for some good feelings here in the city.
This week I will participate in a seminar put on by the Sochnut (Jewish Agency), working with our Israeli staff. This year we will have 3 Shlichim (2 guys and a girl) and 2 Tzofim or Scouts. After the seminar with the staff, assistant Director David Furman and I will be working on the Goodman Initiative. I will stay at the seminar an additional 2 days and work on my Chazon fellowship. So all in all it will be a full week of working with staff, creating curriculum and increasing my knowledge and enthusiasm for Israel (as if that needed any work :). Having Furman and I studying and working together over here will help make for a solid and consistent Israel Education program this summer.
Also while I am here, I will have two or three recruiting events and a development event as well. Thank you to the Alon, Singer, Tennenbaum and Margalit families for hosting me for these important parlor meetings. I so enjoy meeting with our new and returning Israeli families. Tel Aviv and Zichron Yaakov continue to be two of our strongest cities always, but this summer we also have campers coming from Ra’anana.
Our Gesher campers are going to love the energy in Israel this summer; I am thrilled that 12 campers are signed up to go so far! It’s so exciting to be here in Israel! I personally just feel so at home, so at ease. I love it, surrounded by Jews; it’s like one giant camp!
Executive Director, Camp Solomon Schechter