This makes me jealous, but in a good way.
For me, I think the part of the BBT/SerandEz shabbaton that stood out the most was when Jameel was giving out cow chocolate.
I know that sounds rather odd. There I was on a Shabbaton all about inspiration and integration and I got the most affected by chocolate?!
I just remember standing there and Jameel holding out the chocolate bag. I held one of the little bars in my hand and when I took a bite, my mouth immediately filled with the sweetness of Israel. I'm not exaggerating. To fight it, I said rather dryly to the Apple (I think), "you know we can also get these in New York, right?"
But it wasn't about the chocolate, of course. It was about biting into something that came from Israel. It was about connecting with Israel in the smallest of ways. It was about holding something that was exposed to the Israeli air. It was about breathing in the fresh air of Israel as best I could through that tiny bar of chocolate.
It was about culminating a Shabbaton about integration and inspiration and, really, Jewish unity through growing closer to the Torah, with the ultimate uniting factor - coming together one day to keep the Torah as one, single nation in one land: the land of Israel. Our land.
Okay, so that uniting factor comes with a lot of controversy and debate. But it is controversy and debate over a single issue which drives so many Jews - how to handle the State of Israel? We are involved in a shared debate, even if people are on different sides.
When we pray, we all face the same place - Jerusalem. At the end of the day, throughout all our differences, it is Israel - it is Jerusalem - which brings us together. Have you ever been to the Kotel and not seen people from all different Jewish paths? My point exactly.
All this really hit home when I was eating that chocolate. It made me want to go to Israel so badly. I almost started to cry.
I can't even begin to express how much I miss being in that country. I know I'm not ready to make aliyah just yet, but every time someone else does, I can't help but feel a pang of jealousy. They're doing it, I say. They're living my dream. I just want to know when it'll be my turn.
P.S. Also, I just love chocolate. If anyone wants to donate some chocolate to the author of this blog, it would be most appreciated (my favorite kind is the crackling-candy cow chocolate, just by the way)! Besides, you never know what eating chocolate might inspire next! :)