“You cannot truly fall in love with someone until you see all of their flaws”
Have you ever heard the expression, “You cannot truly fall in love with someone until you see all of their flaws”? It’s that sentiment that has inspired us at Esperanso.
Like any country, Israel has its share of struggle. We have poverty. We struggle with racial tensions. We have centers for youth who are in danger. We have people living with special needs. We house refugees. These are sides of our country that people don’t often see when visiting. Here is why.
There are many organizations working to attract more people to visit Israel. There are programs that are offered for free in an effort to bring more Jewish people to their religious roots. Educators, the Israeli government, Jewish organizations and travel companies are constantly working to highlight the many reasons to visit our beautiful country.
As someone who is passionate about this land, I can appreciate these efforts to strengthen the world’s commitment to Israel – but I think it’s time we take a different approach.
Most of these organizations are doing an excellent job in showcasing everything that is beautiful and charming about Israel, they are totally focused on conjuring up excitement, much like the same excitement a child gets when receiving a new toy.
There’s just one problem with this type of traditional approach: It does not dig deep enough.
The depth of our people is what leads to real understanding and a strong connection with Israel. And that, I believe, is the key to showcasing this incredible country.
Think back to one of your most rewarding experiences in school. Chances are, it wasn’t an easy class that you passed without effort. Instead, it was probably one of the more engaging courses that made you think, feel, and work to understand.
Now, take that same concept and apply it to adulthood. People today long for that same depth and understanding. Surrounding themselves in a bubble of good isn’t rewarding; it’s naive and it leads more to a shoulder shrug than an inspired feeling.
Using education as a socially responsible approach to the tourism industry is innovative. It gives visitors the opportunity to embrace the challenges our country is living with today. It enables them to push boundaries and get answers to tough questions. The end result of all of this is a deeper connection to our country.
This deep connection comes from seeing all that Israel has to offer – the good and the bad. It comes with experiencing the fortunate world where people are born into a perfect life, while at the same time seeing the difficult world where some people are just trying to make it to the next day. It’s not about hiding the battles some of our citizens face. It’s an opportunity to face common concerns head on and use that education as a means to inspire involvement and activism.
In the past, people have cowered away from this approach because they were shy or embarrassed about the difficulties of some of our citizens. Sure, Israel is not perfect, but by letting the world see the good with the bad, we create a powerful connection that inspires love and compassion.
At Esperanso, we have applied this socially responsible approach to business by bringing the faces and people who aren’t normally in the spotlight out of the shadows and into the public eye. We do this with a goal of making our travelers fall in love with the imperfections of our country and harnessing that love to make real change. The results speak for themselves.
We had one traveler reach out and tell us with excitement that she is moving to Israel for a year to become more involved with one of the organizations she visited while on one of our tours. We had another visitor tell us that she is seriously considering Aliyah, or moving to Israel forever. We’ve seen first-hand how powerful this seemingly imperfect approach to tourism can be and it’s changing Israel for the better.
This is what it means to take a socially responsible posture toward travel. We educate. We embrace. And ultimately, we empower and support the people in need by asking our travelers to join our family as partners in creating positive change.
We can do this together by showcasing all of Israel’s beauty and potential.