Day 2 : Giving Not Taking

REFLECTION OF THE DAY – “Giving Not Taking”

Yesterday as we stood In the Golan Heights overlooking Syria, we listened to the story of a the great Israeli spy, Eli Cohen. We sat under one of the eucalyptus tree he suggested the Syrians plant to give shade to their troops. In doing so the Israeli spy revealed where the Syrian bunkers were located. As a result of Eli Cohen’s efforts Israel not only gained vital intelligence on the Syrians but enabled Israel to be much more effective in defeating Syria in the Six Day War.

I had heard this story many times before but never realized that the last mission Eli Cohen carried out, the one during which he was caught  and ultimately lost his life, was a mission the Israeli’s said he could sit out since he had done so much already. It was only after he learned that the unique position he had developed in the Syrian government would make him the perfect person for the job, that he once again volunteered.

Our tour guide Tuvia Book shared that that was the attitude which inspired him in 2006 to return to Israel from Australia, where he was living at the time, to join up with his IDF unit when Israel was forced back into Lebanon. On the flight to Israel were dozens of others from all over the world who volunteered to return to Israel to serve in Lebanon. All of these heroes had been inspired by the same spirit of giving and not taking. 

We ended our day with a Kumzits (Jewish musical sing-a-long) on the beach of the Kineret led by former Reggae musician, now Chasid, Alon Ram. After singing soulful songs late into the night Alon ended our day with the same message, telling us that if we wanted to transform this world into heaven we have to be prepared to be givers and not takers.

Israel exists only because of the many who have selflessly given to her. May we, the recipients of her beauty and rich history, be inspired to give in all parts of our lives.

Israel/ Syrian border – ISIS controlled village in the distance


Name: Arielle Hyatt

Profession: Chorus Teacher, Dir. Non Profit, Singer/Performer

# trips to Israel (including this): 1(!!!)

Jewish Background/ affiliation: Reform

In her words… 

How do you get on this trip?
I recieved an email from MJE regarding the trip, and decided to apply last minute since my trip last year was cancelled.  I have never been!

What are your brief reflections on the day (or the trip overall)?
Yesterday was so exciting and incredible! We hiked down the side of a mountain to the world’s oldest synagouge. It was a challenge, and truly magnificent.  It was a surreal experience to sit on the same stones where my ancestors sat to pray.

Fun fact about yourself…
I played Margot in Legally Blonde on Broadway!

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