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Leslie Gonzalez

In November 2010, I left my husband and 4 young children and embarked on my first trip to Israel on Hadassahs Face-to-Face Mission.

The above numbers are a very concise and simple summary of our time in Israel. We covered what most people do in at least two weeks! This was a lot more strenuous than training for a marathon.

On any given day, we visited 4 to 5 major attractions including Independence Hall, Atlit Detention Camp, Meir Shfeya Youth Aliyah Village, Oketz Army Base, the Tunnels at the Kotel, Sderot, Masada, the Dead Sea, Genesis Land, Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum, and of course HMO Ein Kerem! Sprinkled in with all of this, were unique opportunities: visits to 2 integrated schools in Haifa, Community Service with Year Course Young Judaeans, a private reception with 3 physicians at HMO, a morning with Rena Quint, Holocaust Survivor, and our own Shabbat services.

We had three leaders on our trip- Kathy Hershfield, Mindy Bloom and Marlene Post- Past National President. These women were tireless in their enthusiasm, energy and passion. Marlene Post was an inspiration to everyone on the trip. She had boundless energy- and interacted with everyone we met with such grace. I felt as though we were traveling with royalty- everyone we met, everywhere we went- knew Marlene and understandably adored her.

One of the most memorable moments for me was at the Hospital. We were fortunate to hear from 3 female physicians. I was in awe of all that they do, (and began to marvel at just how little I do in comparison). Dr. Liat Applebaum, Senior Radiologist, who is married with 3 children, was the last one to speak. As she finished her presentation to the group, she looked out at us, and said Thank You. Thank you for all that you do. Because without you, we wouldn And with that, I welled up with tears, and was struck by that statement of gratitude. Not only am I proud to be a Hadassah volunteer because of what the brilliant physicians accomplish in our hospitals, but because WE are assisting them. Every fundraiser- big and small- goes to help their work. And their work is indeed remarkable. Many many discoveries and cures have come out of Hadassah Hospital that have benefited medical practices all over the world!

Hadassah is an amazing organization- this is something we all know and it is why we all give our time and money to support the Hadassah mission and projects. However, one challenge for the Hadassah volunteer here in the U.S. is that the projects are not tangible. We have wonderful fun, social, educational programs where we donate money for the projects, but we are not getting our hands dirty so to speak. This trip to Israel allowed me to touch, feel and see all of Hadassah

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