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Once a year, we coordinate and host a national conference and most years, we have guests that come from abroad. The last few days before the conference should be calm. The name tags are all printed; the magazines all finished. All the fliers are ready; the signs and roll-ups piled and waiting.
Ofcourse, that may be how it should be but that rarely is how it is. People keep registering; companies need information. Attendees want to know the schedule; the convention venue wants a final headcount, which changes nearly every hour.
She wants vegan; he wants to know about parking. She isn’t sure she can come and what will happen to her ticket if she can’t; he needs to leave early and wants to know if he can get a partial refund if he has to leave (um…no).

And each year, I do the same thing – I slip away with my international guests to show them the beauty of this land.

The sessions will wait; I’ll solve what I can while driving. All to see…all to show. So I had two days – the first, I drove south – to the Dead Sea and to Masada. To show the lowest place on earth, to tell about a place that still touches our souls.
One could say that both places are about death but really, it isn’t true. The Dead Sea is dead, and yet has invaluable resources, minerals, and more. People all over the world rejuvenate their skin with the riches of the so-called Dead Sea.
And Masada? Masada is not about death. It’s about over 1,000 people who chose death over life. But not any life…the lives they were about to be forced into living.

And Masada? Masada is not about death. It’s about over 1,000 people who chose death over life. But not any life…the lives they were about to be forced into living. That was one day…the next was to the north.


We went to the Lebanese border – to beautiful grottoes. Rosh Hanikra. And Haifa – a beautiful city perched on the mountain climbing up from the Mediterranean. The Bahai Temple, built in love and maintained constantly, all in symmetry, peace and tranquility.

Bahai Temple in Haifa

The day helped center me, remind that all the work that goes into planning and hosting a national conference with international guests is worth all the work, all the time. And more, beyond the work, beyond the time, is the timeless.

That’s what Israel is all about – it is timeless. The land and our connection to it. We live on the land but it remains, forever. We change it slightly, building roads, homes, businesses…but it is the water and the sun, the rock, the very foundation that grounds us.

I always love Rosh Hanikra. It is simply stunning but this time, the colors combined in a way that I didn’t remember. The sun filtered in from outside the caves, reflecting inside and the colors of the stones are amazing – purple, green yellow…near amazing blues of the water.

Rosh Hanikra

The lesson of Rosh Hanikra stays with me long after I leave…the conference was amazing; over 300 people came!

But what fills our lives are all different moments…and all different views. You have to remember to stop and see the beauty.


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Paula R. Stern is the co-founder of Retraining4Israel (, a new organization working to help olim make aliyah successful. Paula made aliyah over 25 years ago with her husband and their three children. She lives in Maale Adumim and is often referred to as “A Soldier’s Mother”. She is now a happy wife, mother of five (including two sabras), and grandmother, happily sharing her voice and opinions with others. She is also a senior tech writer and lead training instructor at WritePoint Ltd. ( Please visit her new website: