Dec 15, 2020  By Meril Salzburg  Category: Travel,

Israel is a part of us, a part of me

My story stems back to my teen years with my dad while visiting Israel for the first time. I knew that this was the beginning of my journey and love for Israel.

One of my first vivid memories when dining at a local restaurant in Tel Aviv, surrounded by guards, sat Moshe Dyan enjoying dinner, as I was. I enjoyed the best cannelloni I have ever had to date. 

The vibrant city and the kind people struck me during those difficult times of war. This was my first time in Israel and knew it was not my last. 

Several years later, I returned to Israel for a completely new experience. Again, I was struck by the feeling of “coming home”. I knew I was in love with Israel.  I witnessed a complex and remarkable country beneath my feet.  

Wanting to know more and do something, I attended my first JNF Tu B’Shevat Seder.  After being involved with several of our Jewish agencies and organizations over the years - all of which give me satisfaction and pride in what they do for our Jewish community. 

My introduction to Jewish National Fund brought back those warm and caring feelings for Israel, my love for Israel, and I knew that, at that moment, my heart is shared with my immediate family, the land and people of Israel.  I bought my first bank of trees that night, and today as President of our Orlando Board and a position on the National WFI Executive Committee, my connection to Israel, its land and its people are deeply rooted in my soul.

thumbnail_Tree Planting

Our history tells it all and we re-tell it, L’dor V’dor, from generation to generation; Israel, our homeland, is a part of us, a part of me.  Israel’s growth and wisdom is our growth and wisdom too.  Israel is a connection to all things Jewish, a bonding among Jews like none other worldwide. 

I’ve grown a lot with JNF over the past several years.  After attending my first national conference, an overwhelming and heartwarming experience, taking me further into understanding the remarkable work JNF does and continues to do. 

Philanthropic parents raised me, so I saw what they did and all that they accomplished for Israel.  Today, I am following in their footsteps, taking the baton and continuing forward, as my remarkable parents have done.  I am helping, caring, supporting, and strengthening our homeland, theirs lives and communities. 

Our heritage and traditions are in all of us. Preserve it and cherish it.