The first time I went to Israel, I was in my early 30s. My parents invited my husband and I to take this trip.
Could we get to Eilat? If not Eilat, could we get to another beach? We did end up having a lovely afternoon excursion at the beach in Haifa. Getting away to the beach was about the only thing that interested me at the time. These were the days I didn’t like being Jewish.
I’d heard so many people say they went to Israel and it was a phenomenal experience. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. I was going because I was invited. Why not? Alas, I was not going to be transported to a seeming heaven like these others.
When we got off the plane, we went straight to a grove to plant trees. I was struck. I hadn’t planned it, hadn’t expected it, and it didn’t matter. Something in the air shifted my equilibrium and I was taken. I really can’t describe it in words. But it was good.
The whole trip was like this. From the busload full of United Jewish Appeal fellow travelers to the ancient nooks and crannies of the Old City of Jerusalem, it was not just magical. It was more. Like a spiritual experience that touched the earth. Grounded and soulful.
At first I was put off my fellow bus travelers. Double my age, Northeast Jews (like myself!)… Frankly I thought we had nothing in common.
By the end of the trip, I was in love with every single one of them.
I am going again. Decades later. This time I am already in love with Judaism. And already magical things are happening. Better. The day after I began searching for a room to rent in Israel (for my three month trip), a wonderful place came and found me. It was just before Shabbat and my friend learned her renter in Jerusalem was bailing. She suddenly needed a renter right away. She was in the U.S. for…. Yes, three months.
Since Shabbat is about resting in the here-and-now… there is no planning for the future. We tabled the discussion and after a lovely Shabbat, we finalized that Saturday night. I have a dream arrangement!
Hashem is the best real estate agent.
This is a threshold. Ever since that first trip, it’s been a dream to go live in Israel for a period of time. Eat, learn, shop and whatever else. And see my son Kobi!
I don’t know what to expect. It’ll be a grand discovery!
The discovering never needs to end.
Love, Vivi. ©