Women in Leadership Corner 6.2023
  • Your Bucket List is Waiting….   


    Bucket lists are important. They become our wish lists for future adventures and, oh, how I love adventures! Today, it is my privilege to share with you the recent completion of one of my bucket list adventures.

    I have always wanted to visit Israel. I am not sure if it is because of its religious significance or because of hearing how everyone who goes to Israel simply loves it but whatever it is, going to Israel has always been at the top of my bucket list. Incredibly, last fall AASA sent an email inviting superintendents to participate in a week long delegation to Israel sponsored by the American Israel Friendship League (“AIFL”). This was simply too good to be true! Without giving it a moment’s thought, I signed up. Although initially scheduled to occur in November 2022, the trip was ultimately rescheduled to March 2023 due to the Israeli elections held in November. Several other school leaders from New Jersey joined me as well as 16 other superintendents from across the United States in a whirlwind, incredulous, and life-changing trip to Israel.

    Each day was filled with four or five meetings, tours, or sightseeing features. We were on and off our bus no less than ten times a day but the exhaustion was exhilarating. Our first visit was to “Save A Child’s Heart,” an Israeli based international humanitarian project which provides extraordinary cardiac care to children from developing countries who suffer from life threatening heart disease. Physicians from across the world donate their surgical expertise to save the lives of these babies and it was both awe-inspiring and humbling.  To see parents from devastatingly poor countries who had just taken their first flight out of their home country welcomed to this warm, passionate, and caring place that would save their child’s life touched my soul in a way I never possibly have imagined.   

    We visited the Kibbutz Magal where an inventive system of irrigation was developed. Knowing very little about the culture of a kibbutz, I was intrigued by its mission, social structure, and the society created within its boundaries. Its motto, “Give what you can and take what you need,” resonated with me.

    The most amazing home/school environment I saw was at the Children’s Village in Carmiel, which was a “last chance” type of school/home environment for teens. Adolescents were placed in the Children’s Village by the court system and these students live with a typical Israeli family. Up to 10 students are assigned to a family unit and these students flourish and soar with success. Nothing more poignantly shows the importance of a nurturing family on the growth of a child.

    We met with dignitaries and politicians throughout our tour, including the mayor of Tel Aviv Yaffo, the Director of Education for Tel Aviv, and the mayor of Asfiya Druze Village. We attended a security briefing about the geo-political overview in the Har Adir region as well as a briefing hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All such briefings discussed the sensitivity of Israel’s current political situation and the uncertainty of what would occur next.


    Siteseeing included a blend of scientific, historic, religious sites. We visited the Reisman Science Education Center, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, and toured Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Our visits to religious sites included the breathtaking Sea of Galilee, holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem including the Western Wall, traveling up to the incredible Masada, and floating in the Dead Sea.


    Without a doubt, my most significant experience was spent attending a Shabbat dinner hosted by an Israeli family. I instantly felt welcomed and a member of the family during this dinner tradition steeped in tradition and love of family. I left the dinner knowing that I had just developed new friendships that transcended my flight back to New Jersey. I am forever touched by the primary importance of family, love, and respect which are the core of this important weekly dinner tradition.

    As I flew back to the United States, I marveled at all the sites I was privileged to visit and all the fascinating people I met. I had been somewhat uncertain whether I should take this trip in March because I was still recuperating from surgery, but I viewed this trip as a once in a lifetime opportunity. So I took the risk and completed one of my bucket list adventures which forever changed my life in so many ways. Click here to view the video highlights of my bucket list adventure!

    So, dear friends and colleagues, enjoy life through your bucket list. Learn, grow, be awestruck, exhilarated, and humbled by the adventures you take. You will not be sorry you did.