In praise of travel in trying times

In praise of travel in trying times

Usually, all it takes to go from here to Israel is a valid passport and enough money for an airline ticket.

Just now, though, it also takes a fair amount of courage, or at least the determination not to listen too closely to the voices of friends and family who might urge you to stay away.

But there is so much every traveler can gain by going, and so much good that can be done by that trip.

That is of course always true, but it is even more true now.

Clearly it would be foolish to rush into a war zone, but most of the country is not facing imminent danger. At least so far Israel is facing an enemy whose malice far outstrips its competence. For that gift we all should be very grateful.

Luckily, many parents have allowed their children to continue on the summer trips they had planned, and most organizations are going ahead with those trips. (See page 29.) Trip organizers always undertake a huge responsibility when they take charge of other people’s children, and those responsibilities are even heavier now, but we know that they work in close cooperation with Israeli agencies and respond quickly to even the hint of danger.

There have been many other tense, dangerous summers; teen travelers so far have returned unscathed and therefore strengthened. We hope that this will be another such summer.

Federation officials also are going to Israel, both to support it and to learn. The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s CEO, Jason Shames, is there now; he talks about his trip on page 6.

In fact, David Hyman, a former shaliach to our federation, sent us a letter begging all of us to make the trip. We printed it on page 18.

If spending time in Israel now is a declaration of faith and love, how much more so is making aliyah during this difficult time. As you can read in the letter on page 18, though, the Feinberg family, up until just about right now, is making that choice.

We wish the Feinbergs, the federation officials, all teenage travelers to Israel and all other visitors there an easy flight and a safe landing; we hope everyone who comes back brings new wisdom and fresh insight, and we hope that all Israel soon will be free from the scourge of war. Millennia ago, these days led to the destruction of the Temples. This year, we hope they lead to hope and to peace.