Monday, November 30, 2009

The day has finally arrived...

Written by Josh:

These past few weeks, which at times seemed to lag on forever, have been quite grueling at times. Just a month ago, I wasn't expecting our plans to actually come through. But now, with my plane ticket in hand and my suitcase packed, our plans have become imprinted on the face of reality.

I look forward to traveling the land that is of utmost importance to so many religions. I look forward to seeing the sites that many would actually die for. I look forward to immersing myself in a culture that is so radically different than the one I live and breathe here in the suburbs of America. I look forward to experiencing a society that speaks a different language, practices different customs, and observes many religions that are alien to me. I look forward to the independence that this trip grants me; having to budget my finances, navigate a foreign country, supply myself with essential needs and etc. Above all, I look forward to experiencing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from a first-hand perspective.

I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, in a community that was passionately Zionist. I remember as a child attending protests in support of the state of Israel, raising my middle finger in opposition to the pro-Palestinian protesters. In high school, Michael and I began to think for ourselves, despite our school telling us what to believe. After researching the conflict in depth, we began to reach different conclusions. This journey that we are undertaking will be a culmination of our research; a great opportunity to discover the reality behind the conflict and the current situation in Israel and in Palestine.

We'll try to keep the blog updated as regularly as possible, to share our experiences, observations, photos, and interesting encounters.

Thanks to my family and friends who have supported me,


Written by Michael:

It's less than 24 hours until take off! I believe I speak for both Josh and myself in saying words cannot describe our excitement. As a preface to this blog, I would like to explain some of our plans, expectations and hopes.

Both of us have spent a majority of our education in Jewish Day Schools. But having always sought our own answers, we arrived at our own conclusion, often in conflict to those around us. But whereas in the past we only could speak on behalf of what we had heard and read, I hope that our travels will offer the opportunity to develop, reaffirm, or maybe establish new beliefs based on our visit to the region and first-hand experience.

This blog will hopefully serve as an outlet to share our experiences with friends, family, and those interested in learning more about the conflict back home. The work we will be doing while in the area is very minimal compared to the work that needs to be done. But our goal is to carry stories back to the United States and carry our activism into the future by sharing our experiences, advocating for truth and justice, and building solidarity between people.