What do you get when you take 17 amazing women from Toronto, 13 fantastic women from Baltimore, and 17 fabulous women from Long Island and put them on a bus together to spend 8 incredible days in Israel? You get the second official, stunningly successful TJJ for Moms trip to Israel with NCSY and the JWRP!
The JWRP (Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project) is an 8-day trip to Israel for mothers who have at least one child under the age of 18 living at home.The goal of the trip is to inspire the women, to fill them up with inspiration, strengthen their Jewish values, create a deeper relationship to the land of Israel and then send them home to share it all with their families, communities, and the world. The trip is followed up by a year’s worth of programming that builds on the foundations laid over the 8-day trip and brings each group of women back together in their home city for reminiscing, reconnecting, and re-igniting the sparks.
Our Toronto group was made up of 15 moms, most of whom had teens already participating in NCSY programming and few with kids who are just coming into the NCSY world this year. Each of these special women had her own personal reasons for wanting to come on the trip, but they all had at least one reason in common; they all wanted to build deeper connections. Specifically, they wanted to connect to their heritage, to their ancestral homeland, to their families, and to themselves.They came from different backgrounds, levels of religious observance and knowledge, and professions; they had children of different ages, and, yet, through their shared experiences of touring Tzfat, Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem; of praying together at the Kotel and spending a Shabbat together like no other; in short, through the sharing of laughter and tears, we came together as friends and sistas (if you understand, I don’t need to explain, and, if I need to explain, you won’t understand).
Having been back for a month, we’ve already had our first reunion, complete with squeals of delight at seeing each other again, warm hugs, a slide-show of our pictures, and the opportunity to share our favourite- and ah-ha moments with each other. A piece of the trip is still going strong in each and everyone of us. We’ve all learned something about our history, gained clarity about our heritage, and discovered something about ourselves. As September rolls around and the regular routine of the school year settles in, these NCSY moms will be carrying something with them that will help make the mundane a little more meaningful and keep them inspired for years to come.