From Los Angeles to JFK to Ben Gurion Airport…

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Tel Aviv, Israel

By: Jackie Sharpe

I am overcome with emotion and feelings, most of which don't have words in the English language that can describe them!

For the last 48 hours I have been witness to 15 of our Southwest Garin Tzabar kids and 112 others from all over the US, who took the ELAL Nefesh B'Nefesh flight from JFK to Israel on Monday, to stories of their arrival, kissing the ground, waving our flags, and being welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to a ceremony that finished an hour ago with 350 participants of Garin Tzabar from all over the world at Tel Aviv University in the Smalarsh Auditorium. 

There truly are no words. Only tears of pride and joy for all of these young men and women and goose-bumps. 

If you missed the ceremony you can find it online. It was in hebrew. Most of it I understood, certainly the messages that each speaker passed on which was the same - pride, love, support, gratitude and "it will be hard!"

What was so amazing was to see how our 32 kids have become so close and are truly a family and I have no doubt that they will be the best support and strength for one another for the next 3 years, and quite possibly 

I stood back taking photos as each one showed up with their luggage. Some had 3 suitcases. Some had 5 suitcases. Some even had half a dozen cardboard boxes. But ALL of them had smiles and hugs from ear to ear for their friends they hadn't seen since June or July and an excitement that can't be described. 

I knew that everything was going to 'be ok' - "hakol yehiye beseder." They will have one another's backs. 

And we parents of these incredibly brave and selfless kids, will be there for one another because we know it won't be easy for us either!

This blog is for us. It's private, unless you choose to share it with someone.

My purpose is that we use it when we want to share something. When we have a question or a concern that we are pretty sure other parents may also. When we may be visiting Israel. When we need a shoulder to lean on. When we need a cup of coffee, a piece of chocolate...or something stronger. Or we just feel like posting a message or a photo or a SMILE because our soldier shared something with us. 

Our kids have begun a new journey, a new adventure but so have we. 

Our kids will soon be the IDF soldiers serving our country.  We may sometimes be worried (Ok, a lot!). We will surely miss them (Ok, everyday BUT we are the parents of an Israeli soldier!

Something to be very proud of.

Our Goal to One Another:
"We support one another. We are the parents of an Israeli Soldier!" 

God speed to all our soldiers. Stay safe. Stay strong. 

Until my next post.