I started the morning wishing I was at the beach. It was a beautiful day and with my time in Israel coming to an end, I was more worried about my tan than spending a day touring the Partnership's projects. But at the end of our 12-hour adventure in the Western Galillee, I had a new understanding of the region and its people. At Sulam Tsor, a Kibbutz high school, I saw the students’ intrinsic motivation guide them through focused vocational projects. I had never seen tires transformed into chairs and flowerbeds! At the Ghetto Fighters Museum I viewed the Holocaust from a new perspective, one of empowerment. But the best was yet to come.
After a day of being more and more impressed with what the Partnership accomplishes in Israel we went to Hafuch al Hafuch. In this unique center for at-risk youth, volunteer soldiers and civilians mentor students with issues students all over the world deal with. While Hafuch al Hafuch does the same thing in Israel that I am doing here with BBYO and my job at an IPS high school, I fell under a difficult-to-describe spell, wishing that our hour at the center would not end. The whole visit inspired me to make connections out of my comfort zone, but Hafuch al Hafuch gave me a focus for those connections. Seeing Israelis working to create productive relationships and arrive at practical solutions helped me see a side of the country I would have never otherwise experienced.