Thursday, May 3, 2012
7 News Features: Mission members reflect on Jerusalem trip
7News' historic Journey to Jerusalem has come to an end, but the hundreds who took the mission trip to the Holy Land have learned lessons they will never forget.
WSVN -- It is a vibrancy that you see and feel around each corner.
It is the history.
It is seeing the devout of every religion yearn for greater purpose.
It is the bustling markets.
It is Jerusalem.
For those who haven't been, this is the path into the old city, and just look at the beauty, the diversity of faiths.
Rosh Lowe: "What a trip this has been. There will be moments like this, which will be etched into the memories of everyone who went on this mission: music in the streets, inspiration, and standing at the crossroads of history and religion."
Last week, a record-size number of people, 700 plus from South Florida, took a trip to the Holy Land, put together by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
We were there from the moment they landed, there to get the reaction of first-timers overcome with emotion as they see Israeli children greet them.
Woman: "I'm going to cry."
And where does the emotion stem from? A sense of history, a history which we saw at Yad Vashem, the world's largest Holocaust museum, a museum with unforgettable images, like the shoes of children who were murdered during the Holocaust.
We were in Israel at Yad Vashem during a special day, when there was the remembrance of fallen Israeli soldiers.
There was unity with country and with each individual Israeli. To illustrate, one day, we visited a theater where at-risk teens from broken homes are given a second chance by going to this performing arts school. Members of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation helped with the funding.
Woman: "You are literally saving lives. You are making that possible."
And the size of this mission is very impressive to the political communities in Israel and the United States.
Here we are, when members of the mission meet and greet with Israeli president Shimon Peres, whose message to the mission is to be optimistic about the future of Israel.
Shimon Peres, Israeli President: "Why should you live as pessimists when you can live as optimists?"
Rosie Behar, Miami Mega Mission: "I think they have strength in their connection to Israel, they have understood the importance, and they have discovered emotions inside themselves that they never knew they had."
Daniel Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel: "It's very impressive."
Every event we were at in Israel, the emotion was so clearly written on the faces of these mission members.
Tears of joy of connecting with something far greater, tears that flow from the depths of emotion that really can't be put into words.
The mission members are now returning home with memories that will last a lifetime.