On my very first visit to Israel with a group back around 2002, I found myself standing on a Jerusalem street corner for a few minutes, all alone. I was awaiting the beginning of a new day of touring but was ready much earlier than everyone else. I vividly recall standing there in the crisp November air observing school children making their way to school. Garbed in backpacks, children of all sizes were grasping small bags of Choco on the way to school, and young students speaking in very animated fashion to their friends. As I stood there, I said to myself, " Why am I not raising my kids in Israel!?! How can it be that they are going to be educated in the Diaspora and not here, at home in Israel?" At that point in my life, I still felt that Aliya was a dream, and one that may not come true. It pained me to think back then that I would not see any of my kids go through the school system in Israel and get an Israeli education. Nor would they have the "youth" experience that Israelis grow up with.
All that changed last night! As many of you are aware, this month in Israel was Chodesh Irgun. It is a month in which kids in Bnei Akiva (A VERY STRONG MOVEMENT IN ISRAEL) participate in a myriad of activities and, in many cases, are out of the house a LOT for various events. The culmination of this month of activities is a Shabbat Irgun, a series of presentations to the public by various classes/groups and, for those in 9th grade, the acquiring of their Shevet name. It is a BIG deal, one of those "rites of passage" in a large segment of the Israeli population.
And there was my youngest daughter, right in the thick of things! She disappeared for what seemed like days at a time to involve and immerse herself in these activities. Her group's performance was a video they put together based on the theme of "V'ahavta L're'acha Kamocha." As I watched this video...as I observed her total immersion into her class and her social group of new friends, I could not help but flash back to that moment on a street corner in Jerusalem seven years prior.
After watching this video, I turned to her and said: "You see a video. But, I just witnessed my dream come true."
I invite you to see the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy_5QrrCkoQ