Trip to Promised Land changes culture

Old City street, Jerusalem.
Old City street, Jerusalem.

EARLY this month, five residents of Jeffreys Bay were whisked away to an unusual destination abroad on a trip that will change them irrevocably, and impact their lives and work in our town.

These millennials returned with a mindset that shifted and a firm resolve to apply what they have learned in their personal and family lives, workplace and in the community.

It all started with a single call from Menorah Tours in Kempton Park which offered a local tour leader return air tickets to Israel for deserving people. She had one day in which to select those who has a passion to experience the new and exciting, as well as internalise and apply it.

It was crazy! I felt like I was dealt a precious jewel and had to entrust it to those who can appreciate and wear it in a way that make their environment light up, states the trip leader.

The air sizzled with excitement as the news was delivered, astonished recipients started planning their unexpected trip in a daze, and eventually flew off to embrace the adventure.

Patricia Hayes describes her experience as “life-changing”. It has totally changed my view, I understand certain concepts much better and have deeper insight, she says. “I’ve always had a deep desire to go to Israel and walk where Jesus did, to be baptised in the Jordan River and have this culture envelop me.”

We landed on the Feast of Purim - a day of celebration which resembled a Madi Gras. Everyone was in some bright costume, streets were teeming with colourful people, musicians played everywhere, the markets were bustling and bursting with a food-lovers dream.

It is here where Taryn Joynerwood’s amazing experience started. In one of those narrow market alleys, she was proposed to, accepted the token of love, and returned home engaged to her guy.

“This trip was spiritually invigorating, emotionally uplifting, physically exhausting (walking up to 15km a day), but ultimately an amazing experience.”

Taryn says she was overwhelmed by the generosity of the people - a principle one can apply here. “It challenged my worldview, and I am full of gratitude to have been exposed to different cultures coexisting.”

The food tingled my tastebuds, says Taryn. For all on this trip it was a foodie dream. Street-food was the best with new tastes, herbs and spices, drinks, like sahlep, innumerable cups of great coffee and ice-cream...

“Israel was an incredible experience”, says Gillian Prior. As far as the culture and work are concerned, it was an eye-opening experience - the different cultures and the way people view life... I found it awesome how the people are family-oriented. I read the Bible with new insight and visual concepts.

“What I bring home is their work ethic: They work exceptionally hard and don’t waste time to play around. The people are direct and to the point.”

Amadeo Bisogno, owner of Fifth Wave Coffee in Jeffreys Bay, echoes that sentiment. The work ethic is phenomenal. Amo was invited by the baristas/owners of Roasters in Mehane Yehuda shuk to share experiences and make the life-juice, coffee, at their renowned venue.

He brought home a manual juicer, like those used in the Old City of Jerusalem and made fresh juice part of the Fifth Wave menu.

What seemed like a dream come true for a handful of residents, has actually added value to the community as they returned from ancient streets filled with history, spiritual riches, cultural variety, echoes of love, war, pain, work and life - and apply what they have gleaned here in their hometown.

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