In January, I spent four full days in Horfeish, the Druze village in Israel, working with the Lace Makers Group — a cultural and social initiative to advance the Druze women’s status through business — to improve their English for their upcoming trip to the Greater MetroWest community. As I went from house to house to teach, to learn, and to acquaint myself with the residents, I was amazed by the famous Druze hospitality. Kindness, generosity, and open hearts come easily. I fell in love with all of them, their culture, their lifestyle.
In all honesty, I had a heavy heart during my travels there from New Jersey due to the political divisiveness at home. Yet I returned with a newfound appreciation and respect for humanity. Refreshed and revitalized, I looked forward to spending more time with them when they were to visit New Jersey in March.
Through my participation in their cooking and handicraft workshops March 15-22, I was able to witness our local community’s warm hospitality generously extended to the nine women, as well as their husbands and fathers, some of whom accompanied them on their trip.
I felt so proud to be a volunteer for Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy, the first time I’ve worked with this committed, caring group. I immediately felt part of the organization and I’m looking forward to working with them further. Feeling welcomed and appreciated was so important for me, as it was for everyone who participated.
Having divided my time these past few years between Verona, where my parents live, and Lambertville, my primary residence for the last 13 years, I intend to relocate somewhere within the Greater MetroWest area so I can better take advantage of all this community offers.
What struck me most from my time with the lace makers and federation’s Women’s Philanthropy group was our common values. Giving to each other, to our families, our communities, our countries is at the forefront of all our actions. At the risk of sounding trite or corny, I felt like I was part of a love fest for a week. We laughed, cried tears of joy, shared our stories, and created bonds of friendship I know will last.
I can now cook some wonderful Druze dishes, but knitting…not so much. Still, I have made a huge, unexpected life-changing decision for myself as a result of this experience, and I can’t wait to spend more time in the community just as soon as I move to my new address. Who knows what other surprises await me?