For the last ten days I have had the blessing of traveling Israel with seven older adults, the youngest 75 years old and the oldest about to reach 90. It is not an easy thing to travel internationally with seniors. It takes a dedicated team of staff, assigned one to one, and a registered nurse to manage the many medications and health needs. We carry wheelchairs under the bus and we use them, overcoming the less-than-accessible country.
We traveled from the Galilee to Jerusalem and concluded our trip in Tel Aviv. We made it to the top of Masada, to the Kotel, toured the Israel Museum, floated in the Dead Sea, took in the late night Light and Sound show at David’s Citadel and even shopped Mamila Mall until it closed at 11 p.m. And there is much more!
This is no easy trip for those in the prime of life. And it is certainly no easy trip for our older adults. It was all worthwhile as we had the joy of seeing Israel through their eyes, especially those of our travelers who were here for the first time. We believe that “age is just a number” and that our older adults can still learn and grow and achieve. This trip helped make our words a reality.
As I reflect on this trip, however, the word that comes to mind most is trust. These are unsettled times in Israel and there were those who thought we would cancel. In fact, I am sure there were those who thought we should cancel. But we did not. The family members of all of these older adults trusted our decision, trusted us with the health and safety of their loved ones and we understood and honored that trust.
Our trust, in turn, was placed with our guide, Yaacov Sivak, and his wife Jacky, who made all of the arrangements for us. They have worked on nearly every mission of older adults that has taken place from our Jewish senior communities in the United States. We never wavered in our decision to go and when I finally asked Jacky if she had any concerns, her response was that they would not take us any place they would not take their grandchildren.
Some of us trust first and think about it later. Some of us are slow to trust and need to be shown. When we trust, as we did in Israel and our travelers did with this mission, we open ourselves to new experiences.