30 attendees have returned from our Aish Mens Group Israel Trip feeling rejuvenated, inspired, and revived with a new sense of Jewish purpose. Led by Rabbis Azriel Aharon, Aryeh Markman, and Shlomo Seidenfeld, the group enjoyed 7 brilliant days exploring our Homeland. For many of them, this was their first-ever visit to Israel. The trip helped to strengthen their ties to the Homeland, deepen their sense of Jewish responsibility and Jewish identity, and create lifelong friendships. From the old fortress of Masada to the Western Wall to the Dead Sea, the meaningful moments shared on this trip will stay with them forever.
“I thought this would be a trip to see Israel. It’s not that. It is an inspirational and emotional experience that connects a bunch of guys from different walks of life that don’t know each other from Adam with a brotherly bond. This bond was cemented with a connection to our faith and Homeland and so it will last a lifetime. Thank you Aish LA!” – Judge M. J. Levine
Rabbi Aryeh Markman wrote about the journey as it unfolded. Read a few excerpts below:
This is my seventh men’s trip in as many years. Aish LA has taken around 165 men. Half the time I come home sick as a dog and need to be in bed for 3 days. So I ask myself why do I do this every year?
But then you meet the group and the energy overtakes you. And you become one with the men and their journey.
This picture is of my COO Rabbi Azriel Aharon talking to LA trip participant Dan Krause.
It’s midnight and in the glare of a hotel lobby the two of them are getting in a deep discussion about life, about meaning, about their families, about what is really important. This happens all the time in every corner of the trip totally unexpectedly, and that’s what it’s all about.
“From the moment I touched down I felt as if I was home. This was an unexpected feeling and as the trip progressed and we bonded as a group, I felt more at home. Logistically speaking, I was highly impressed with how organized and smoothly everything ran. We were able to easily immerse ourselves in this incredible experience. Because of this, I feel closer to Judaism and my Jewish background. These experiences will have a lasting and permanent effect on the way I live my life and my devotion to Judaism.” -Cary Goldstein
What if you could push a button and your entire past clogged with emotional pain of failures, fears, and disappointments would disappear and you could be reborn, renewed, and totally cleansed? Would you feel that you could accomplish so much more in your life? How much time and energy would you expend to have such a result?
Today we went to the Kabalistic Ari Mikvah natural spring that promises that restoration. Each man took the plunge and re-emerged with a transformed vision. We feel once again that life is full of promise and blessings for us to capture and embrace.
“The trip to Israel with Aish was a multilevel journey – a journey to (re)connect with Israel and our profound common history; a journey to discover and experience new rich elements of Judaism; a journey to form new meaningful relationships; and ultimately, a journey to discover part of ourselves. It was meaningful, transformative, and powerful. Thank you Aish!” -Danny Friedman
Just 2 days ago we were strangers. Now after an evening of good food and drinks and sharing, the guys are making new, deep, meaningful, life-long relationships. It’s like, “Brother, where have you been all my life?”
No two guys came on the trip for the same reason. Together we have a higher purpose, a more positive outlook, and are going to further our quest for each of us to become the best person possible.
“This was the trip of all trips! Lasting memories made with new friends! Again a huge thank you to Az, Aryeh, Shlomo, Jeff, and Howard! I look forward to seeing where we all land with our 6 month commitments.” -Ben Rocca
On top of Masada at 9am, as we stood inside the oldest shul in the world where we did 16 bar mitzvahs in one hour – an amazing thing happened.
Charlie Harary, the Trip Leader, had just taught us what the Shema means; the Unity of God, Who is everywhere and everything. No sooner had Charlie finished then two Israeli F-16s jets came blasting out of the sky, completing a 90 degree turn directly overhead as if they were waving to us. We broke out in cheers. It couldn’t have been better timing. What a start of a day!
After visiting Masada and having lunch, we got really dirty and put on the mud. I personally couldn’t get it on fast enough before they took the picture. To go into the Dead Sea and float while another set of Israeli jets flew overhead was surreal.
“After the info session at Jeff’s house many months ago, I came home and told my wife that “I need this in my life.” I’m happy to say that I was right. I already have a wonderful family and a fulfilling career, but until this week I was lacking a spiritual and social connection to “something.” At the moment I am exhausted, jet-lagged, sore, and very happy. I know that our journey together is only beginning, and I look forward to it continuing for years to come!” -Cary Goldstein
Thank you to all who participated on this trip of a lifetime! It’s never too early to start thinking about your next trip to Israel and the personal journey that comes with it. We have a full year of classes and events coming your way!