Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Two trips to the states and one primary election later, I am back and finally enjoying the "boring" routine of every day life again. I say "boring" because every day here always turns out to be the opposite of boring, but at least I have been able to wake up in the same city two days in a row and not live out of a suitcase. These are things many people take for granted! Not that I don't enjoy traveling for work- it is usually one of the most exciting parts of my job, being able to build relationships face to face and see people get excited about a cause. It's just that it can get exhausting!

However, I'm please to say that all of the exhausting efforts were worth it. I just finished an amazing fundraising trip with Elem, my client that works with Israeli youth who are in distress and/or homeless. This was no ordinary trip, as we brought with us Elem's president, former first lady of Israel, Nava Barak, and a young woman who lived on the streets for five years and who was helped by Elem to lead a normal life again. All together, there were 5 of us traveling for this "road show" and regardless of the logistics, weather, and other "challenges", the trip was a huge success. Such a huge success, in fact, that we are already planning our next trip for the beginning of February. No rest for the weary...

On top of this great success, the Kadima primary election was on December 17 and my client ended up getting the 11th place in the party! He was originally number 29, so this was a huge deal for him. Even better (for me), we ended up raising the third largest total amount of money for a Kadima candidate (there were over 70 candidates, and we were only beat by the Minister of Finance and the Speaker of the Knesset), and it appears that we were number one in raising money from Americans! Needless to say, I am quite pleased with myself.

Another highlight of Kadima's primary election was outcome of the campaign that Oren has been managing for the last 1.5 months. His candidate was the current Minister of Public Security, Avi Dichter, who had been appointed to his position years ago and therefore, he had never had to campaign for a place in the party before. There was a lot of pressure for Dichter to prove himself as someone who could be elected, not just appointed, so Oren and his staff ran an intense and country-wide campaign that proved to be very successful, as Dichter ended up in 9th place on the Kadima list (actually, the first two seats in Kadima were reserved for the chairman and her deputy, so technically, Oren's candidate ended up in 7th place)!

Oren's campaign ended the day before I returned from my business trip, so we decided to take the weekend and go to a luxurious spa up in the Carmel Mountains of Haifa. It was the kind of place where all of the guests (including us) walk around in white fluffy bathrobes and slippers the entire time, and spend our days rotating between soaking in the hot tub, relaxing in the turkish baths, eating, or getting some sort of massage treatment. I, personally, enjoyed a hot and cold stone massage which was, needless to say, a very unique experience. As with all vacations, this was far too short, but it helped recharge our batteries a bit before jumping back in to the work craziness.

On our way back from the spa, we stopped at a restaurant in Herzliya for dinner. It happened to also be the first night of Hanukkah, and I had one of my "this would never happen in the states" moments when the entire restaurant stopped what they were doing to light the Hanukkah candles together and say the prayers. It was a nice experience, and I hope that you all are having a Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas wherever you may be celebrating.