Guila Rice, an Orthodox Rabbi’s Wife, recently returned from the AWB/Olivia 2017 Women’s Mission Trip to Israel. She shares her experiences and what she learned.
Giula Rice with Olivia co-founder Rachel Wahba
So picture me, an Orthodox Rabbi’s Wife along with a group of Lesbians. Would they accept me? Would I be made to feel welcome? Would I fit in? Could I relate? I worried that the first time I used the phrase “my Husband” someone would take offense and call me out. Silly huh but I honestly didn’t know. What did I experience? I experienced a group of ladies from all walks of life and at all stages of life. Younger, older, Jew & non-Jew, singles and couples who made me feel welcome and part of the family.
We listened to and met a wide range of people who are on the forefront of the LGBTQ movement in Israel talk about the daily struggles they face. Just to be accepted and to gain the rights that we have here in North America. Touring Yad Vashem was hard but hearing about the Gay experience during the Holocaust was harder. Meeting a Transgender Israeli Officer who has full support from his Commanders was inspiring. This tour gave me a different way to see things. I always thought of myself as Liberal and open minded but in a way I was blind or ignorant to so much more right in front of me.
In the end, I came back with so much more. Sure, a few extra pounds thanks to the amazing breakfasts but more importantly a wider way of thinking and with the hope that one day equality will be a reality in Israel. Will the rights of same sex marriage, adoption and so many other issues happen in my life time? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that with the work of A Wider Bridge, there is a strong chance that the voices will continue to grow and bear fruit. I know with my voice, I too can help to promote change and understanding of the issues faced. Hopefully unlike the Carob tree, which takes 70 years to bear fruit, we will see change in our generation.
Check out the photoblog from the 2017 A Wider Bridge/Olivia Queer Women’s Israel Trip.