Parents’ Pilgrimage: Different

by Tauby M., NFTY-EIE Spring 2013 Student

Right now, my mom is here in Israel visiting me and seeing the country on a program called the Parents’ Pilgrimage. NFTY organizes this trip so if our parents want to visit us, and the country, they can. The pilgrimage happens over the course of 9 days, giving the parents just enough time to have fun with their kids as well as see some amazing things around Israel such as Masada, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Ein Kerem, and tons of other cool places. My mom left Albuquerque on Sunday, March 10th and will return tomorrow March 20th. So far she’s visited a Mosque, catacombs in northern Israel, Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Dead Sea, Masada, and Jerusalem. She has also joined my classes to meet my teachers and see what my classes are like.

Having my mom here is really different. I left America by myself and had amazing experiences with my new family here. I described to her in detail things like the Cheder Ochel (dining hall), the Zula (hangout place), my classrooms, Masada and the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, the flowers, my hotel room, and my roommates. Now, she’s here with me, experiencing these things for herself. I told her everything about visiting Masada, and then she got to visit it and enjoy it for herself.

My mom being here has given her an opportunity to meet all of my friends, even the people I’m not super close with, and their parents. She has gotten to know a few of my teachers and knows who I’m learning from. She also knows my counselors. My mom knowing my counselors is one of the weirdest things for me. The counselors here are very much like the counselors at camp, they’re close in age and very relate-able but are responsible for us for the duration of our trip. They are our second parents, and now, our first parents know our second parents. Having my mom know all of my friends and their parents is very different from home. At home, my mom knows my closest friends very well, but she has no idea who all my friends are. In addition, she has gotten to know some of my friends parents very well. At home, my mom knows a few of my friends parents, she’s maybe talked to them a few times, but never bonded with them at a Holocaust museum or climbed Masada with them.

All in all, my mom being here with me is incredible. It’s different, fun, exciting, and meaningful. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this past week with my mom. Whether we were eating a meal together, walking along the beach in Tel Aviv, appreciating the art at Mamila mall, or learning about Jewish history, my mom and I were having tons of fun. Inside jokes have been created, connections have been made, and I feel closer to my mom than I did when I left Albuquerque.

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