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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Birthright Israel- Shorashim- Winter 2005-2006

The trip is over but the journey is just beginning. It's hard to believe that just a few hours ago we were saying goodbye. Even harder to believe that just a few days ago we were saying hello for the first time. After such an amazing trip, it is hard for me to find the words to describe it. I care about you all so much. So much so that it took me at least six tries to leave before I actually pulled together enough strength to turn my back and walk out the doors of the airport- without coming running back for one last hug. I couldn't help looking back one last time. Leaving the airport without you guys was so hard. The last time I had been there was the day we met. As my bus was pulling away from the airport I gazed out at terminal three. I had to fight back tears as the memories flooded back. I think one may have slipped through.

I knew this trip would be an amazing experience but I could never have hoped to meet such a wonderful group of people. Experiencing the country through your eyes, rediscovering the country was so "life changing" (I use that word with a few reservations) that I want to thank every one of you for contributing to it. I am forever grateful.

Seeing you experience the country for the first time has made me feel like I am seeing it for the first time. Whether it be watching you approach the Western Wall, and kiss the stones or the tear in your eye at Yad VaShem. The look of triumph and pride when we finally got back to the buses after climbing Har Shlomo. Or the hug we shared at Har Herzl, the military cemetery. The list of memories from this trip is unending. You have helped me learn so much about you, our country, our people and myself. You have reminded me why I am proud to be Jewish, proud to live in Israel and proud to serve my country. I only wish the same upon you.

I hope this trip has given you insight into the country that is every much yours as it is mine. Shown you the connection you have with the people who call Israel home- whether they live here or not. Proven to you that this country, and it's people, will always be here for you when ever you need us, if only you let us.

Remember the trip and the experience. Remember the people and the places. Remember that there is always a place for you here. Remember that this is your home, and come home soon.


At 6:55 PM, January 01, 2006, Anonymous Katherine said...

Ben- you are the best. I miss you so much. Hope all is well in Israel and you have a wonderful new year. Long live the island.

Much love,



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