Once Upon a Time . . .

On August 24, 2010 I will be boarding a plane to embark on an adventure that will more than likely change my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no complaints about my current life, and I am not really asking that it NEEDS to be changed.  In fact, I love the life I live. However, there have been desires that I have always wanted to fulfill and this adventure shall certainly satisfy some of those dreams.  It will also teach and give me knowledge that I never could have learned through a website, textbook, or even a professor.

Lauren, you are living the life many would envy.  You have recently graduated from a University where you received a high-quality education.  You have been an intern for a variety of companies and you have a wealth of knowledge racked in your brain.  You do not want to start getting your feet wet in the real world of work?  “No, I would rather get my feet wet in the Dead Sea thank you very much.”

With that aside, I AM very excited to start working.  But my major (public relations) and minor (marketing) can be used in practically every field.  My problem is: I don’t know what field I want to use my skills in yet.  I have an idea of many I would love to work in, including (but not limited to), travel, health & fitness, television, magazine, music, a news organization, a coffee company (Howard Schultz I am still waiting for your phone call), a book company… I guess I’ll stop here because the list is really quite endless.  I am hoping when I am in Israel however that the path I have thus far taken will lead me two lefts and then a right into my appropriate career building.

One thing I am sure of in regards to my field is that social networking is extremely important, and maintaining this blog will help familiarize me with some areas of social networking.  More than that though, this blog will be a keepsake for myself when I am 80 and sitting on a rocking chair with a glass of red wine in one hand and my cute little granddaughter in the other.  When I tell her how I traveled to Israel many years ago, “at a time when it was a country not at peace with its surrounding neighbors, the material you are now learning in History class sweetie pie.  Yes, Grandma was there doing volunteer work, learning Hebrew, and hmm… I cannot remember much else.  Let me look at the blog I kept though and you can get a first-person insight into what the history of this country was really like.”

I also want to write this blog so that I can share my experiences with all of the people I love, that is all of you, reading this entry right now.  I hope to continue to update the blog every few days with journal entries and photographs, and I hope that you, in return, will read, see, and enjoy what I have to share.

I decided to start this blog a little early due to the recent events surrounding Israel.  If you are not aware, at the end of May a group of ships known as the “Free Gaza” flotilla made their way to the Gaza strip to deliver aid to the Palestinians who are currently living there.  Unfortunately the event did not go as planned, and nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed, while others were injured.  There is currently a thorough investigation looking into whether these members were actually there for “humanitarian aid” or were there to kill Israelis and deliver materials to the trapped Palestinians that they could use to create bombs and other weaponry.

I do not like to take the Israeli side just because I am Jewish, but I have to say in this scenario I am on Israel’s side.  The Israeli Defense Force [IDF] members who were on the vessel where people were killed said that they were immediately attacked and became fearful for their lives.  This was clearly an act of self-defense.  Unfortunately there are many people in the world who would not take this pro-Israeli position on the matter.

To showcase just who is not pro-Israel I will provide you with some examples.  Turkey, who was Israel’s strongest ally in the Middle East, is now slowly steering away from supporting the country.   Of the nine people that were killed, many were Turkish citizens.

Also, just a few days ago the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the killings on the vessel “marked the ‘final countdown’ for Israel’s existence.  It shows that it has no room in the region, and no one is ready to live alongside it.”

Here in the United States, a few days after the flotilla incident Helen Thomas was interviewed by Rabbi David Nesenoff.  For those who do not know who Ms. Thomas is, she came onto the political reporting scene in the later years of the Eisenhower administration.  Since then she has been a very well-known reporter, correspondent, author, and most recently Hearst Newspaper columnist.  The problem with many news sources in the United States, and beyond, is that journalists seem to find it hard to remain unbiased and deliver solely the facts.  Ms. Thomas made this problem obvious when she couldn’t keep her opinion to herself regarding Israel, Palestine, and the flotilla:

Nesenoff: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everybody today, any comments on Israel?
Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. (Laughs)
Nesenoff: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?
Thomas: (still laughing) Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German, it’s not Poland…
Nesenoff: So where should they go, what should they do?
Thomas: They go home.
Nesenoff: Where is the home?
Thomas: Poland. Germany.
Nesenoff: So you’re saying the Jews go back to Poland and Germany?
Thomas: And America and everywhere else.

To view the actual video footage you can copy and paste this link into another (you better not copy over my URL!) browser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14

Ms. Thomas has always been well respected for her work and for not being afraid to ask the important questions to those who had the answers.   A lot of that respect dwindled on May 27, 2010.  Though Thomas did apologize and “retire early” from Hearst Corporation, you have to realize that her actual opinion of Israel and the Jewish people has not actually changed.  Unfortunately many other Americans agree with Thomas.  Since the incident Rabbi Nesenoff has said he has received an “overload of threatening e-mails calling for a renewed Holocaust.”

I have always wanted to do volunteer work, but volunteering my time specifically in Israel is especially important to me because I am Jewish.  I want to dedicate my efforts to the land that was given to me and others like me, after six million of us were annihilated just 60 years ago.  I am fortunate enough to live in an area where I do not receive hatred on a daily basis for my religion and cultural background.  But that does not mean the hatred isn’t out there, and I don’t want to be ignorant and only live in this bubble of love; instead I want to help pop it so that it blows and spreads everywhere.

I once read the book, In an Instant by Bob and Lee Woodruff.  In it they wrote of the time in their life when they lived in Beijing in the late 1980s during the existence of the People’s Republic of China.  I remember being awfully jealous that they were able to experience something like that firsthand.  But now it is my time, and I am so fortunate to be given the opportunity to live in Israel for ten months and experience the problems in the Middle East firsthand.

The American news media loves to exaggerate stories and instill unnecessary fear into many US citizens.  That is why when I tell some people what I am doing for the next ten months of my life they immediately have an expression of fear washed over their face.  But Israel is an extremely safe country to love in, one of the safest in the world in fact.  I want this blog to showcase the negative news issues of course, but I also want it to exhibit what the country has to offer aside from what the American news media chooses to show (And I can already tell you from having only been there ten days, it offers an incredible amount).  I hope you are as excited as I am to take on this journey.  Now, let’s go get our feet wet!

One thought on “Once Upon a Time . . .

  1. Lauren, You have such a beautiful opportunity set before you and it is obvious how much you feel called to make this trip. In the book of Isaiah 45:18-19″For the Lord is God,and he created the heavens and the earth and he put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos.”I am the Lord,” he says, “and there is no other” And so my sweet niece please go and yes be safe but even more important go and hold your head high for you are one of God’s chosen people. HE, along with the rest who LOVES you very very much wish you much growth and happiness while you are away. Shalom my dear niece and God bless you!

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