Tuesday, 7 February 2012

My Experience Visiting Israel for the First Time.

Guest Post by Julie Abrahams, posted with permission of Julie Abrahams.

In February 2010, my husband, youngest daughter, and I packed our bags and set out on our Pilot Trip to Israel. We had already made the decision to make Aliyah (move up) to the Holy Land of our ancestors. My husband had lived in Israel in 1967, 1973, and in the 1980's. However, for my daughter and me, this was our first trip to Israel. Our excitement could not begin to prepare us for our arrival. 

The emotion one experiences when entering The Land is beyond words or explanation. The tears in our eyes said it all. We heaved a communal sigh as we stepped onto the soil where generations of Jews had walked before us. 

Our excitement was soon matched by a flurry of activity, the renting of a car, driving up to Jerusalem, and traveling through a maze of road construction to finally register in our hotel. 

During our first week we visited the Wailing Wall (the Kotel), the Shuk (outdoor marketplace) in the Old City, and walked the ancient streets. 

The second week, we headed North to a cottage my husband had rented, just outside of Tzfat, Israel. Each day we ventured forth, visiting potential homes, the Golan, and the ancient ruins of Jewish settlements. 

It was the trip of a lifetime. Each visit left us in awe, more certain than ever that this was the Land we were meant to settle, this was our true Home. 

We returned to the United States just two weeks later. We felt as though we were in mourning, yearning to return to Israel with unmatched resolve. 

In the months that followed, every step, every task, every carton was filled with the determination to make Israel our permanent home.

Almost two years later we are living in northern Israel, in the city of Tzfat. My husband and I are very grateful to be able to call Israel Home. We walk on the ancient cobblestones determined not to take any step for granted, reveling in the beauty and splendor that surrounds us. 

And we wait for our sons, daughters, and grandchildren to join us in this vision. We wait for countless thousands of our brothers and sisters to, not only visit Israel for the first time, we wait for our Jewish family to come HOME!

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