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Voices of Bet Torah

01/25/2023 11:30:00 AM

Jan25

Bet Torah Returns to Eretz Yisrael

From a Jewish holiday to a secular holiday, specifically from the fifth day of Hanukkah (12/22) through New Year’s Day, 42 members of the Bet Torah community shared the joy and excitement of experiencing Israel together.

“Watching parents bring their children to a place so near and dear to their hearts and the hearts of the Jewish people, and connecting their personal family story to the story of all of the generations, is moving and inspiring every time,” Rabbi Brusso said in summing up the trip. He whimsically added, “And the hummus, oh my, the hummus!”

Commenting on what it was like to visit Israel with Rabbi Brusso, Seth Young, Gina Fass, and his fellow congregants, Neil Klar said, “We could not have been in better hands than with Shari Robins (tour guide extraordinaire!),  Rabbi Brusso, Gina  Fass and Seth Young leading our group. The community of families from Bet Torah was, well, FAMILY right from the start.  We shared experiences, meals, conversations, jokes, and games…and the adults shared beers and wines. 

Lindsay Goodman fully concurred with Neil’s assessment. “Any opportunity to spend time with Rabbi Brusso is truly a gift, but to see Israel through his eyes only made the trip that much more meaningful. We never anticipated how much traveling with the other Bet Torah congregants would add to the trip. It only strengthened our ties to the Bet Torah community.”

The trip covered a wide swath of the country, beginning in Tel Aviv and then heading north to the Galilee and Golan Heights. Upon seeing Jerusalem from a stunning overview looking down on the city, the group celebrated their arrival with the shehecheyanu blessing.

Regarding trip highlights, Rabbi Brusso described how moving it was to visit a chestnut tree growing at Yad Vashem, which had been started from a shoot grafted from a tree outside Anne Frank’s window in Amsterdam. The tree had been lovingly written about in Anne’s diary.

Neil Klar described how special it was being accompanied on the trip by his younger son, Jon, and new daughter-in-law, May. This trip to Israel was Neil’s second with Bet Torah, the first being in 2016 with his wife, Eileen (z”l).

In describing this trip, Neil said, “From Kabbalat Shabbat on the shores of the Mediterranean, to Hanukkah lighting in the hotel lobbies and Shabbat services at the Masorti Congregation of Neve Tzedek to Havdalah as we watched the sunset overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem from the roof of our hotel on New Year’s Eve…there were very many meaningful moments.”

He continued, “The most emotional times for me were those that I shared with my family as a member of our Jewish community from Bet Torah…with some old friends and a bunch of new friends. This certainly takes me to the old city of Jerusalem where Jonathan and I stood at the Kotel, sending prayers to Eileen and pushed our notes to her into the crevices of the Western Wall.” 

When queried about her favorite part of the trip, Hayley Kupperman replied, “I loved our private Torah service at the southern wall in Jerusalem. The setting was incredibly spiritual and I loved seeing my family and my community praying together in the holy city.”

Lindsay Goodman echoed Hayley’s response by saying, “Being at the wall is an experience I will take with me always. It was beyond moving and fulfilling. I felt incredibly lucky to be there.”

It was ten days that won’t soon be forgotten.


A Visit to the Kotel.

 B'nai Mitzvah service at Robinson's Arch.

 Dancing after B'nai Mitzvah Service.

Taking a dip and mud bath at the Dead Sea.

 At the top of Masada.

Wine tasting at Golan Heights Winery.

Exploring Jewish life of 2,000 years ago at Kfar Kedem.

Sat, January 28 2023 6 Shevat 5783