It is well past midnight and I would be wise to get to sleep as we must leave early tomorrow morning for our final passage, home to New Jersey. But I must take the time to put down a few final thoughts. We said our goodbyes at yet another Erev Shabbat meal at hub's mother's home. Tonight there were only 10 of us, a far cry from the 29 who sat around the 3 tables at Mordechai and Georgie's house for the Passover Seder in Omer and the 369 guests at the wedding last Sunday night. Tonight after the meal, my daughter and I looked at some picture albums belonging to hub's youngest brother and his wife, who live with Hub's mother. Photographs always remind me where we have been and I compare them to who we are now. But nothing tells us what we will be in the days to come.
It is always sad saying goodbye - Shalom, but one occurrence made it a sweet farewell. My daughter Rachel is a big fan of the "tea nana" (mint tea) served by her Israeli grandmother ("Meme"), at various times, but always when guest first arrive to her home from a voyage, as when we first got into Beersheva after our long flight from the US. It is served in small glasses with a kind of Moorish design. As an aside, when shopping with Rachel in the Arab market in East Jerusalem, we were offered mint tea or Turkish coffee in one of the shops where we made our purchases and chose to drink the coffee, also served in small glasses (these were clear glass, as you would see most of the time.) Anyway, "Meme's" glasses are festive and pretty and very much "say" hospitality. When "Meme" heard us asking where Rachel could purchase something similar to hers, she said that she wanted Rachel to take them. My daughter is not one to covet another's possessions and she shyly refused the offer, saying that they were Meme's and should remain with her, but Meme insisted. What a wonderful treasure it will be for Rachel in days to come to have this special gift from her grandmother; one that she will use frequently and every time she does she will be reminded of her grandmother's legacy, the warmth of hospitality and the gratiousness of giving freely and easiy of oneself.
So, with tea glasses in hand and after many double -cheek kisses goodbye, we drove to our "home" in Omer, packed and set out to sleep until the morning's light which will wake us and send us on our way back home. I have so much more to say about this trip and so many pictures to go with the stories, but they will have to wait till I'm back in the States. Meanwhile, I will end this post with what I had wanted to write the other night, but didn't get the chance, and it is this.
You know how they say that there are no Atheists in a fox hole? Well I would add that THERE ARE NO AGNOSTICS (me for instance) AT THE WESTERN WALL! I stood in front of it, tearing off a small piece of the long note I had written and stuffed in a crack in the wall. I placed my hands on its cold stones and I prayed. I am not a praying person, but I prayed for what I had written on the scrap of paper. For the world in general, for myself and my family, but mostly for this small strip of land and ALL it's struggling inhabitants.......