I wept when I first saw it. The land of Israel.
Traveling to Israel has been on my always-wanted-to list since forever. After Bill got cancer in 2014, we realized we weren’t guaranteed 20 more years together. If we wanted to do some traveling together, we needed to make the time right now. The opportunity showed itself to us the next September. Through a random online search, I ran across a local Messianic Jewish congregation who had a tour going to Israel in May 2016. We jumped on it. Several setbacks threatened to get in the way, but by God’s mercy and grace, we persevered.
So, there we were. In Tel Aviv, ready for a sixteen-day whirlwind tour of nearly 99 sites. It’s been a year now, and I’m ready to get those notes back out and journal a few things. Facts, yes. But also feelings and lessons learned.
We landed in Tel Aviv on Sunday, May 22. (We’ve never been good at selfies.)
Before we even left the airport, we had a mini adventure. This was my first time to travel internationally, so I was a little skittish. We went up to the @ and I had a conversation that went something like this:
“Lora Young?” The young man in the booth had dark hair, olive skin, and bushy eyebrows.
“Reason for traveling to Israel?” Very matter-of-fact.
“What do you do for a living, Ms. Young?” Looking over my passport, checking my picture against my face.
“I’m an author.”
His eyebrows raised a fraction.
“What do you write?”
Silence as he fiddles with something on his desk.
Great. Why didn’t I say ‘housewife’? Now they’re not going to let me in!
He looked up again. Holding his phone, he says, “Is this you?”
There, on his phone, was a picture of my first book, Malicious Mischief. He’d looked me up on Amazon! Hahaha! “Yes, that’s me!”
“Welcome to Israel.”
Whew! It’s a funny story now, but I seriously thought I’d blown my dream trip and that Bill would get to go without me.
A few minutes later, we were welcomed by our Orthodox Jewish guide with wine and matzah. I don’t think it was planned this way, but our first day in Israel was also Pesach Sheni, the second Passover. God made provision for those who were ritually unclean on the 14th of Nisan (Passover). He gave Pesach Sheni as a day when they could observe this important festival. Traditionally, even those who observed Passover on the 14th will eat unleavened bread on this day. So in a way, we got to observe Passover in Israel. Pretty cool, huh?
After this, we stopped at Independence Hall to watch a movie of Israel’s battle for freedom and recognition as a nation. We’d learn so much more about this in the coming two weeks.
Then went to the hotel, Dan Panorama Hotel, for a much-needed night of sleep. (It’s amazing how tiring it is to travel.) This was our view. The Mediterranean.