I have joined up with my Jewish Women Renaissance Group Project (JWRP) group. What an amazing group of women. We are a group of 12 mothers from Thornhill who are travelling with a larger group of 200 mothers from all over the world – Argentina, South Africa, Canada, the United States and Israel are all represented just on our bus alone! It is really extraordinary. It is a comfort to me that whenever I find myself crying that I can look up and see tears run down several other women’s faces as well. It is like coming home in a whole different way.
This morning, we travelled up to Tsfat from Tiberius. That’s right, for those keeping count I was in three out of four of the holy cities in 24 hours and I have visited all four in the past week. This is spiritual elevation and today, literal physical elevation in the highest city in Israel.
You can’t visit Tsfat without learning about Kabbalah. Our beautiful guide Ayala, taught us the requirements to study Kabbalah: one must be male, at least 40 and self-supporting. Sexism and ageism aside – my first thought was: in order to study Kabbalah, someone must be secure. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how in order to thrive we really need to not worry about survival. But is that true in Israel? Israel is definitely thriving. So many of the people I met today in Tsfat are. We went on a tour of the mikvah and I met women who are clearly thriving. In fact, they were whatever comes AFTER thriving. These women were positively luminescent. The drive down to Jerusalem also reflected a country that is thriving. New construction all over the place. Everywhere I have gone, I have met people who are sparkly and engaged. Yet, at the same time, people here are worried about their survival. Everywhere. The shopkeepers heavily encourage our business. People talk about safety everywhere. I have never seen so many people with guns. Israel is so full of contradictions and this might be the greatest one that I have understood so far. That, for whatever reason, it seems that Israel can be focused on survival and thriving at the same time. I’m going to spend the next week trying to understand how that can be.