October 30, 2017
By: Gaby Szulzinger, Honeymoon Israel Montreal participant on a November 2017 trip
When Darren and I first heard about Honeymoon Israel, we weren’t sure what it was all about. Was there a catch? Who is this organization and what is their mission?
We decided to attend an information session on a whim. After the session, we turned to each other and set a goal – “Get on this trip!”
Several months later, here we are, preparing to leave for Israel in just a few short days (!!) with the first group of 20 couples from Montreal, Canada. We are so excited we get to spend 10 days in Israel together, and that we were secured a spot out of so many extraordinary couples in our area.
Darren and I both came from secular Jewish backgrounds, and while we grew up ‘knowing’ we were Jewish, neither of us really understood what that meant. Darren has a Hungarian background, including a grandparent who is a Holocaust survivor. My grandparents were originally from Russia, Poland and Romania, having (thankfully) immigrated to Uruguay during the war. Growing up, Darren and I celebrated the Jewish holidays and had a few Jewish friends, but never dug any deeper into the ‘why’ behind it all – why did we celebrate certain things or why did we have certain traditions.
When we first met each other and learned of our Jewish background, we both immediately felt a bond. But, why? We knew that we understood certain things that others may not understand, but again, we wondered why?
Since we’ve transitioned into sharing a home together, we’ve been lucky enough to host our families for for Rosh Hashanah for the first time and even broke the Yom Kippur fast together. These moments were incredibly special to us because we finally realized that we can decide how and why we practice or connect to Judaism, on our own terms. We truly hope that our time on Honeymoon Israel takes us even further in figuring out what this all means – who we are as Jews, both individually and together. More to come following our 10-day journey!