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2.27.15 Issue

by Mark Kirchhoff, Center for Jewish Life

“Israel is a beautiful place.  It is the soul of the Jewish people. Whether you are within or outside of its physical borders, Israel is home for all Jews,” states Eliad Eliyahu, Omaha’s Community Shaliach, beginning his pitch for the Center for Jewish Life’s next Friday Learning Series class.  The series, Travel Israel with Eliad – No Passport Needed, will meet from 11 a.m.–noon, March 13, 20, and 27 in the Kripke Jewish Federation Library.

Rather than focusing on the contentious elections in Israel, ISIS terrorism and unspeakable violence in Copenhagen, Denmark, and around the world, displays of mounting anti-Semitism in Paris and on college campuses in America, this three-week class will give participants the chance to “get away from it all” and focus on the beauty of this gem in the Middle East.

“I want to help people experience some peace in the turmoil of the times” share Eliad. “I want to share some of what I feel and know about this beautiful country. I want people to come with me on this three-part journey of the Friday Learning Series and experience something joyful and uplifting.”

You can get on board with Eliad with a very affordable “ticket” of just $26, which is discounted to $21 for those contributing to the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Make your reservations in advance by calling 402.334.6463 or emailing Mark at Neither a passport, a photo I.D., nor bothersome airport security will be a part of this journey which will prove to be a respite from the tumult of today’s world.

“Israel has everything in nature that you could want. We will experience mountains, valleys, snow, desert – Israel’s diversity of terrain, climate, and scenery is stimulating and refreshing,” Eliad explained. Eliad will be structuring the sessions by viewing the Northern Galilee, the Central Region, and the Southern Desert. “There is nothing political about these divisions for these sessions. If you want something political, come to my Eye on Israel sessions,” Eliad quipped. This journey will begin in Safed (Tsfat), a picturesque city of spiritual people and artists described by Israeli tourism material as being “wrapped in mysticism and mystery, and steeped in sacred atmosphere.” It has been a spiritual center since the 1600s when it was the center of Kabbala (Jewish mysticism). The kabbalist mystics lived, studied, taught and wrote in the city and many of the graves are objects of veneration.

Eliad shared that even in the Diaspora before the existence of modern Israel there was a connection the Jewish people had to this special land. “We are going to take the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the Central Region. Believe me, it will be like two different countries,” Eliad promised. He has even hinted that a trip to the Southern Region will provide an opportunity to lie on your back in the saltiness of the Dead Sea and read a newspaper, or look at the pictures if you don’t speak Hebrew.

Join Eliad on March 13, 20, and 27 from 11 a.m.–noon in the Kripke Jewish Federation Library for Travel with Eliad – No Passport Required. This program is part of the Friday Learning Series through the Center for Jewish Life whose mission is to maximize involvement of Omaha’s Jewish community in imaginative, compelling and meaningful Jewish experiences.