Seven years ago, we were fortunate to arrive in Israel for our nephew’s Bar Mitzvah, and my brother’s wedding. We had both of our families in Israel altogether at the same time. A dream come true. We arrived on Yom Yerushalayim and went straight from Ben Gurion Airport to Yerushalayim. We didn’t even unpack. Rather, we took our 4 year old and 2 year old twins and headed to King George Street near the Great Synagogue. Israeli flags were waving. Kids were shrieking with joy. The music was blaring through the loudspeakers. Dancing. Jumping. Laughing. Pure happiness. Everyone was there to celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem. The only capital of Israel. Undivided. Ours as it should be. Forever. Always.
But then we went back to life in America. With many more visits to Israel in the interim. My heart was always missing Israel when we weren’t here. Going to the Israeli Parade felt good. It felt good to show support. But it didn’t satiate my desire to live in Israel.
Fast forward 7 years. Yerushalayim is celebrating 49 years. A true miracle. I am so excited to be back in Israel- but this time it’s not just vacation! I am lucky to call Jerusalem my home. I am lucky to hop on the 18 bus and ride straight to the Old City. I am lucky to walk the streets- the more modern ones and the ancient cobblestone ones. We’re free to walk on them all. Because we have our freedom. Our sovereignty. We’re not ruled by any other empires like we were in the vicious past. We have our own government. Our own police force. Our own army. And we have it all to protect us. To ensure that Israel will never be in danger from falling into anyone else’s hands. It was ours in the past and it is ours now. It will be ours forever.
I’m waiting for my children to return from school today where they have many festivities planned. They will come home and we will head out to the Great Synagogue. And luckily they won’t be jetlagged from just arriving. They’ve been here for 9 ½ months already. They sound completely Israeli when they speak in Hebrew. I get so much joy from listening to them talk to their friends in Hebrew. It’s hard to believe how far they’ve come in such a short time.
I thank G-d every day for giving them the ability to acclimate so well to their new home.
I pray that they continue to grow and thrive.
And I pray that they always have the love for Israel that I try to instill in them daily.
And I pray that even when they’re angry about something-
not having the right snacks for school,
or the shirt that they wanted to wear is still in the laundry,
or oh my G-d,I made the wrong dinner- you know the one that they asked for…
I pray that they don’t blame those things on Israel. That they realize that no matter where we live, we need to make the best of it.
Because I probably would have made the wrong dinner in New Jersey too.
So for now, I am waiting to greet their hopefully smiling faces and get them ready to celebrate living life in Yerushalayim. And I hope all my friends back in the Tri-State Area will have a fantastic time marching in the Israeli Day Parade down 5th Avenue in New York City. It’s hard to believe one year ago today, we marched with banners announcing our move to Israel. What an incredible year it’s been!