NOTE: CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO GET A LARGER VERSION.
I've been privileged to be visiting Israel
for close to a month now. Each day, I see and experience small things that remind me how much I love this county. Three observations came in rapid succession today, reminding me of the specialness of being a Jew in Israel.
As we were driving back to Jerusalem from Kfar Saba, it was just about dusk and the time for davening mincha, the afternoon prayer service, was rapidly coming to a close. Traffic was quite heavy, leaving people without sufficient time to get to their destinations before the mincha service could no longer be said. All along the side of the road, at least a dozen cars were pulled over and Jews were standing by the side of Route to Jerusalem praying the afternoon service.I think this must make God feel very proud, like a parent whose children behave appropriately without being reminded.
Upon arriving in Ma'ale Adumim
we went to pick up a few things in the grocery store. On our way in, I spotted an older woman, not outwardly religious, wearing shorts and a sleeveless top. She reached her hand up to the mezuzah
and kissed her fingers so naturally, anyone watching would know she has made this gesture thousands of times before.
We picked up some fruit, milk and gum and, on our way out, a man crossed into the store as we were leaving. He caught my eye and said, "Chodesh tov," wishing us a good month in the earliest hours of Rosh Chodesh Elul.
These are small, everyday things here. These things I cherish because they are so consistent with my Jewish soul.
Most of the pictures I took on this trip have been of views that delight me because they are only to be seen here in God's Land:
A sign that warns us not to enter this street on Shabbat and Jewish holidays
Haredi children climbing and playing like children anywhere else in the universe
Modern Hebrew words that make me smile because they are so darn clever. (Afarshazif is a combination of the Hebrew words for peach and plum... nectarines!)
Really personal street signs
An old friend making challah on Friday morning
Special sensitivity to religious needs
Being part of a people who remembers our past
And being part of a people who holds fast to dreams of our future