I have now had a few days to reflect on the fact that I am so blessed in being selected to go to Israel!
The last time I went, it was a largly secular trip, with shopping excursions on Shabbat and no spiritual thread to weave my soul to the Holy Land. We had one trip to the Kotel, for 20 minutes on Shabbat. I did have many other opportunities to experience Israel differently than I had imagined on the trip, though. I discovered a solid connection to the land, independent of G-d factor or its Biblical history. I met Amir, our tour guide, and he was a major influence on me. He opened my eyes to the people history, the hard work that went into settling it and the amazing culture outside of the religious aspects of it. It definitely influenced me and helped me form this strong connection to the land that I experienced and continue to feel until this very day.
This time, I get to go to Israel in a manner that will feed my soul. The JWRP has a purpose which is to empower Jewish women to change the world. Its goal is to start a Jewish women’s movement that inspires a renaissance of positive values that transforms the women, their families, and their communities. The common vision is self growth and personal development to reach a potential as Jewish women, wives and mothers. This trip is an inward intensive educational program coupled with exploring Israel and built in free-time to do some self-discovery as well.
In my world, it is Israel Yo-yo! From one extreme to the next -- completely secular in 2009 to Orthodox/Charedi religious in 2011!