Nov 12, 2014  By Jewish National Fund  Category: Travel,

Why am I in Israel? Musings on a JNF mission, poetry style

Phyllis Chancy Solomon (third from right); daughter Lori (second from left); and grandson Dylan (second from right), visit the Samuel Rubin Conservatory of Music in Be'er Sheva during their visit to Israel on the JNF mission. Their family foundation, the Chancy Memorial Foundation, provides music scholarships to the institution. Scholarship recipients are pictured at far left and to the left of Phyllis. 

Why am I in Israel? 

I am here because, I see a people who hear the siren
and stop, look and guide others to safety

I see a people who join hands, join hearts and reach
out to each other

I see a people who have lights in their eyes, softness
in their hearts and strength in their souls

I see a people who are protecting themselves at great cost

I see a people who dance out loud under the dark skies that
are illuminated by the stars

I see a people who are white, beige, black, yellow and still create
a symphony of harmonious sounds

I see a people who can carry and support each other in times
of great stress

I see a people who can claim great accomplishments while distracted by
the need to survive

I see a people of young soldiers who answer the call to defend their own and
respect the value of life

I see a people of individuals who rise to hear the clarion call
of their history

I see a people who possess the chutzpah to defy all odds 

I see a people who love life and peace, but have sent all their generations
to defend their freedom

I see a people who treasure the life of each and every being

I see a people who will never go away

I see a people I am proud to be a part of

I am in Israel, I am here 

Phyllis Chancy Solomon, a retired teacher living in Marlboro, N.J., wrote this piece while participating in this summer's JNF Solidarity Mission along with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. It was her first JNF mission, and an experience she calls "truly a life-changing event, never to be duplicated."