Sunday, June 04, 2023

I have remarked to friends that while I genuinely love my work as a writer and editor for a prominent Jewish weekly newspaper, the fringe benefits are limited. Occasionally, I get the fee for an organizational dinner waived, so I can cover the dinner. Rarer still, I get a free copy of a new book, so I can write a review.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. I am quite pleased with the work and the opportunity to tell some of our community’s most current, most pressing and most heartening stories.

From now on, however, I must acknowledge that this month I got an exceptional perk—a free trip to Israel, courtesy of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, so that I could cover their 63rd charter flight to Israel for The Jewish Link Expanded Edition..

This perk is exceptional and, for me, an exquisitely timed one; My daughter Penina’s wedding will take place (iy”h) next month in Jerusalem and my wife and I had not seen her in person for nearly three months. The wedding planning, though joyful overall, has had its stressful moments (what wedding planning process doesn’t, really?!). If for nothing else but the opportunity to see my daughter, and to have dinner with her and her delightful fiancé Daniel in Jerusalem, this trip would have been an incredible gift. Dayenu.

But there is more.

This uncommon perk let me flex my priority setting skills. I was given four largely unencumbered days in Israel—what would I do with them? What was most important to me to accomplish?

I chose to visit with Israeli friends and family. And thank God, I managed to fit in some wonderful high quality time with my brother Jerry and sister in law Ileana, their son Yoni, his wife Yardena and their three utterly charming young kids, my nephews Noam and Tani, my “old” college roommate David and friend-since-college Heidi and my buddy Levi. I did virtually no sightseeing (unless you count a quick reconnaissance of Liberty Bell Park, located right next to my hotel). Instead, I got to have deep conversations with nine people who matter to me a lot. I returned to the U.S. with some real treasures.

I also got close and personal with a truly remarkable group, Nefesh B’Nefesh. This trip prompted me to talk with dozens of people about the work of this organization and its many services to olim from North America. So many of the people I spoke with simply raved about the group and its benefits to them. I exit this experience awed by all they have accomplished in their 20 year history and the fact that they have now amassed 75,000 ambassadors—olim who they’ve helped get to Israel. Nefesh B’Nefesh stands out as one well-focused and exceptionally effective group. This became readily evident to me on this trip.

As my wife and I have begun discussing our own aliyah plans (which are preliminary and sequential), I have a much improved sense of one of our primary allies, when we get our plans in high gear. And that is an exceptional perk as well.

By Harry Glazer


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