In Israel, I am not Alone

Posted on July 26, 2018

The purpose of my trip was personal growth as a Jew, a member of the second generation of European Jews who lived through the Holocaust and a chef.   During these past few weeks, I found way more than that.  I learned what it is to fall in love with a country.  Belgium is the country of my roots, my background and what made me who I am.   The United States is the country where I had my two wonderful children and where I grew as an individual.   Israel is the country where I grew as a Jew. This is the place that no matter where I am and who I am with, I belong. I am not alone even as a loner traveler.

When I heard about the option of a volunteer placement at the Lone Soldier’s Center, I did not hesitate.  My late father who passed away this past January, was a paratrooper with the Belgian army, serving in Korea and in the Belgian Congo.  I viewed this volunteer assignment as a way for me to honor the memory of my dad.  The Loner Soldier’s Center is a wonderful warm place.  The pleasure of seeing those kids diving into the food my Italian friend and I made, was priceless.  I learned a lot about the Israeli way of life, and grew as a chef.  Talking with people coming from all over the world, my Hebrew Ulpan teacher and studies and sharing some family stories all helped me to grow as a part of the second generation.

Thank you for this great opportunity and this life-time experience.