For the first time in a week, I slept deeply. Maybe it was the jet lag. Perhaps it was sheer exhaustion from worrying about the tour groups – my clients – who are in Israel with me. It certainly could be from running backing and forth to my Tel Aviv office. Or, perhaps I just owe it to the hospitality of the Executive Lounge from which I absconded with a healthy glass of scotch before I called it a day. Regardless, the dreamless and restful night was much needed.
I left the curtains open so that my first sight this morning would be of the sea. I slowly opened my eyes and willed them to focus on the hues of Mediterranean blue that rippled in the distance. The panoramic scene willed me out of bed, into my fluffy white robe, and onto the balcony where I breathed in the breeze. The water glistened like it was sprinkled with golden flecks. It was beautiful. My head was clear and my heart swelled…no matter what may be wrong in the world, I always will have a home right here.
Nissim showed up early to transport me to Jerusalem. We hugged and kissed like long-lost family, even though we saw each other in March. When I told him that my sister offered to drive me, he told me he would’ve been deeply offended if I accepted her offer. And so it is.
He asked when my son and daughter-by-marriage will make me a savta, a grandmother…”Nu? What are they waiting for?” He wanted to know if my daughter was engaged yet…”If he’s not serious, there are plenty here who are waiting for her. She can call me.” And, he chided me for not making my husband come on this trip with me. In turn, I asked about his family and was entertained with pictures and videos of his grandchildren. Where in the world – outside of Israel – does your “taxi driver” become a dear friend?
The car ascended the hills. The golden sunshine twinkled off Jerusalem. While I might not choose to live here, its history and majesty cannot be denied.
This afternoon and Shabbat weekend I will drift between two tour groups…schmoozing, checking in, and addressing any necessary issues. I’ll talk with seniors, empty nesters, and even kids about their favorite experiences in Israel. I will probe for their “Aha!” moments and make notes about the ways that being in Israel have transformed and inspired them. I am eager to connect a year of trip-planning with the actual implementation.
My goal? I want each will leave here with at least one experience that connects them to this special place for the rest of their lives. This is why I do what I do.
And, if all else fails, I’ll just hang out at the hotel pool and work on getting a golden-bronze tan…overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. Shabbat shalom!!