The women and the men are separated at the Western Wall. There are 26-foot concrete walls on either side of the road leading to Rachel’s tomb, and a checkpoint where 18-year-old soldiers have to decide whether or not to let a woman in because she could be pregnant or she could be carrying a bomb under her dress.
Going on the 10-day Birthright trip to Israel was an incredible experience. I would highly recommend this *free* program to anyone with Jewish heritage. I saw so many amazing sights and did so many amazing things. We went to the Western Wall. We hiked Masada. We rode camels in the Negev and floated in the Dead Sea.
And I was exposed to a part of the world that I hear about on the news but never really got the full impact of until I saw that way of life. Every citizen is required to serve. Their soldiers walk around with huge guns like it’s no big deal, because it’s normal. We had Israelis join our group and we cried together in the Holocaust Museum. But when we went to the veteran cemetery, each one of them knew people buried there.
Ignorance is everywhere. Over there, the threat of violence is constant.
My current book is about sororities. It’s really about the way women treat each other. In Israel, I was reminded of the bigger picture. It’s about humanity. I don’t know what I will write next, but I suspect I will write it with the intention of bringing awareness. Of asking those questions: how do we treat each other? How can we unite as people, as humans?