A week after we got back we had a final group meeting with our families and members of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati as well as the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. We had time to discuss our trip and some of the things we experienced, and we were also able to share with everyone our feelings.
Since returning, I have been asked a lot questions about my summer. I am happy that so many people are interested in asking and discussing the things that are going on in Israel, and that I was able to share some insight. I have had a lot of people tell me that if they were my parent, they would have never let me go to such a dangerous place. The truth is, when we first arrived in Israel in June, there was no reason to think that it was dangerous. There is always tension with someone there, but it was a pretty peaceful time and was not that different from the U.S.
Although things obviously escalated halfway through our trip, I still felt very safe the entire time I was in Israel. We were very lucky to be living in a city that was only being shot at about once a day, so it only affected about ten minutes of our day. I had faith in Iron Dome, the IDF, and our program leaders, and I knew that if they felt we were in enough danger they would send us home. I also felt confident in my own ability to make smart decisions and follow the instructions we were given for rocket attacks. I know not everyone felt the same way, but these are my own personal feelings.
I hope that people continue to ask questions and start discussions on the topic of Israel.
Since this will be my last post on this blog, I would like to give a few final shout outs.
-Karyn Zimerman and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati: Thank you for all of your hard work to make our trip incredible and safe.
-The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati: Thank you for your support. Without your support many of us would not have been able to participate in this program.
-Families and Friends: Thank you for all of the love and support you sent from home. It helped so much.
-Onward Israel Program Leaders: Thank you to everyone at Onward Israel, including Lior and Netta. Our trip would not have been possible without all of your hard work and dedication.
I would also like to thank all of you; everyone who has read even one of my posts. Since I began my blog on May 29, I have received almost 4,000 pageviews. Thank you for reading, sharing, and supporting my blog and helping it reach so many people. My blog would not have been nearly as successful without all of you.
I will leave you with a little transformation. Here is the picture from our first day in Israel and our last. Some people are missing and some hair is a little longer, but I would not have wanted to share this summer with any other group of people.