I’m off to ISRAEL and will do my best to document the experience.
Just before the weekend, I boarded my El Al flight to Israel with eager anticipation for my near annual pilgrimage to volunteer on a military base of the IDF. During the past 20 years, I have volunteered with Sar-El, a division of a logistics unit of the Israeli army, volunteering for 1-2 weeks to do whatever I’m assigned to do. I’ve worked in warehouses sorting army supplies, cleaned jeeps, prepared packs of medical supplies, worked in kitchens, prepared duffle bags for reservists and a myriad of other tasks.
However, in the past I never felt any fear or trepidation as this trip, for the first time, I would be entering an active war zone. Although I believe I will be 100% safe because of the security provided to Sar-El volunteers, nonetheless I left a copy of my Will on my desk in my home office, texted my daughter that I put my jewelry in the safe, hugged the dogs more than usual, and did my final packing with a methodical protocol. I won’t be taking very much because this is not a vacation. Nothing fancy or extravagant. I’m taking one roller carry-on for the full two weeks because no doubt there will be more schlepping than I might ordinarily do.
I didn’t get my weekly manicure. Instead, I cut off my fingernails to the shortest possible length. For the next two weeks, these are not glamour hands, they are work hands. I’m not taking all my facial potions that keep my skin “Beverly Hills youthful”. I’m only taking the basics to preserve my wrinkle-less complexion. At 77 years old, the wrinkles can appear at a moment’s notice so some preservation is necessary.
However, with all this skimped down preparation, I feel wonderful to be going again to my cultural homeland. This Sar-El assignment is different than the previous ones that I’ve done because today I am going to help the war effort in some small part, to eradicate the Hamas terrorists and be part of the solidarity of Jews worldwide to help protect the Jewish State of Israel.