Even though I’ve never set foot in Israel, I firmly believe that one can establish a profound connection to a place through various means beyond physical travel.
In my youth, I corresponded with a pen pal from Ashdod, Israel. Although we lost touch for a while, Facebook allowed us to reconnect. Ron now resides in Phoenix, Arizona, and it brings comfort to know that his family in Israel is safe.
In my role as an English Language Learner Tutor, I engage with students hailing from all over the globe, including Israel. Recalling that one of my students returned to Israel last June, I reached out to her family to confirm that they were safe following the attacks on October 7th. The swift response and gratitude received highlighted the impact of a simple gesture, such as an email.
The congregation’s group trip to Israel in May provided a virtual window into the beauty and cultural richness of Israel. The captivating photos captured by David Margolis can still be found at facebook.com/tbshamden or instagram.com/tbshamden.
In my role as President, the establishment of connections with Israeli families in our neighborhood reinforces the commitment to creating a warm and supportive community. It is a reminder that shared values and a sense of belonging goes beyond geographical boundaries.
As December 2023 comes to a close, these moments serve as a reminder that our connections, whether through pen and paper, digital platforms, or community outreach, weave together a global community tied by understanding, empathy, and shared humanity.