Making Aliyah Baruch HaShem Daven Shabbat Shalom B’Sheirt Shema Yisrael Kotel Good Shabbos Bubbe
While I was in Israel, I posted a video on Facebook where I noted this trip would take some time to digest. I have been doing just that the past two and half weeks.
I first went to Israel in the Spring of my senior year of college. I was part of an all Christian tour group. My young age and faith limited the depth of my experience. Truth be told, I was more focused on returning to college with a sweet tan and some cool souvenirs. Success on both counts – just sayin’. Ah, youth . . .
This time around, I had the benefit of age, life experience, a seasoned faith, and most important – unique companions. I was privileged to join a group of devout, mostly orthodox Jewish women. To observe Israel through their eyes and faith was incredibly moving and inspiring. Many stereotypes and preconceived notions were shattered and replaced with understanding and respect. Our shared knowledge and love of Scripture was a delight and huge connection as was how seriously we took and lived our faith.
I was able to receive instruction from an array of wise women and men on topics such as parenting, gratitude, relationships, nutrition, health, intimacy and resilience. Other special memories.
- Individual and corporate prayers at various holy sites.
- Israeli breakfasts! Amazing quality, quantity and variety of foods.
- Yoga sessions and being roommates with Shelly, my instructor from Bexley. She played a huge role in making this trip a reality.
- Floating in the Dead Sea. It was so relaxing, I briefly fell asleep. My sisters had my back and made sure I didn’t drift out too far!
While difficult to narrow it down, I do believe the highlight came Friday evening.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
Prior to sunset, we gathered at the Western Wall or Kotel and danced and sang with all who had gathered. We then came into the dining room of the Aish HaTorah building adjacent to the Wall to light the candles signifying the beginning of Sabbath. A dear sister, Jacalyn, was my constant companion. Her kind assistance and explanations brought it all to life for me. Starting with Challah, special Jewish bread, we continued on through the courses of food, wine, prayers, singing and dessert.
Saturday, we walked to Synagogue then to our lovely hosts home for the second meal. Later in the afternoon we enjoyed a light third meal. Finally, near sunset, we were hosted in a home overlooking the Western Wall where Shabbot was closed with a havdalah blessing and more singing and dancing.
No cell phones, no work, family and friends, great food, dancing, prayers, singing, reflecting – EVERY WEEK! It was pure joy – not drudgery. Love not law. I was blown away.
So, there you have my musings thus far. A rich experience indeed.