One of the things I promised myself when we made Aliya was that I would still try my best to remain active in various organizations as I felt it is important to be involved and have a say in matters of public interest.
So, it was quite interesting to attend my first school meeting (having joined Vaad Horim--Parent Committee) of my daughters High School, Ulpana Zvia. I sat in the room with about 20 other parents who represented the parent body of students from grades 7-12. While I found some of the discussions no different from other school meetings I had attended in the States, there indeed were issues that were unique to Israel and our community in particular. I enjoyed discussions that revolved around uniforms, school funding, priorities in school projects, the quality of the lunches and many more issues. Parents were TRULY interested in working along with the school. Occasionally, I would smile to myself thinking that I heard some of these very same issues in Chicago school meetings over the years. But, I felt happy to be there to be involved once again.
And then, after Shabbat, I attended my first Shul meeting in over 10 years as an observer and not as the rabbi of the shul. How strange a feeling! If someone had been watching me during the proceedings, they may have thought I was a little "off," as I kept smiling to myself. Here I was on the heels of the school meeting, now sitting in a Shul meeting and, once again, I was hearing things raised that I have heard over many years of Shul meetings! I sat there and smiled to myself as I observed...but I will say that we, the members, dealt with issues quite seriously and the annual budget was handled very professionally.
Yesterday, Sunday, I visited in the Gush at the Midrasha and then in the community of Migdal Oz. I have no idea why I had a certain mental picture of the area that was SOOOOO wrong! It sits right in the middle of so many other yishuvim: Efrat, Neve Daniel, Rosh Tzurim and others. the view is magnificent and the beauty of the area is stunning. It is hard to be in this area and not think back to the events of pre-State Israel and the troubles, massacres, battles and more and the STRENGTH of those who rebuilt their lives in the Gush after devastating blows. My dear friend Kenny took me all around with an eye on the security of the area. We also stopped in the "reffet" (barn) and I watched the milking of hundreds of cows. What an amazingly interesting day!
(As I write this the rain is pouring down again. This is wonderful news, and we continue to get this much needed rain. May we be blessed with more but without the tragic consequences of last week!)