This time of year is very busy for me. The kids are out of school and families take advantage of the time to explore this beautiful country. I wanted to take this opportunity to share one of my favorite days from this past week. It was not a tour a led, or unique people I met. It was a chance for me to explore with my own family.
Chanukah is a family holiday but also a holiday for the youth movements of Israel, like the Scouts or B’nei Akiva. For 70 years now, the youth movements have become an integral way to encourage a love for this land among our children. Chanukah presents an opportunity for all the movements to take big trips, the biggest trips. Every adult remembers those frozen nights in a sleeping bag in the Negev, or the steep and slippery climbs to a mountain top, or singing around a campfire with a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate.
These memories of Chanukah trips are a part of who we are as a society.
This week, I joined my son Navoe on such a trip with the Social Youth Movement (Ha’Noar Oved). Around 900 children in blue shirts marched along the Yarkon River singing the movement’s song and boosting morale through competition. Each group would try to sing the loudest, make the most noise, and have the best time.
At the end of the trip, we reached the Antipatros fortress, near Petach Tikvah. The kids cooked their own meal. And me? For a short while, I was taken back to the days when I was in a youth movement, enjoying a pita with chocolate spread. Surrounded by good company, cheer and laughter, this is what Chanukah means to me.