All That Glitters

The travel day arrived and like a scene out of a movie I waved goodbye to my two Jewish mothers, both staying strong in the midst
of my mini panic, and took off on a journey to the land of Israel.

After a 19 hours of airport travel, my flight finally made it across the Atlantic and over the Mediterranean Sea where we arrived safely in Israel.

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As my plane flew over Tel Aviv, I smiled as I saw a glittering land below. Yes, it was literally glowing. My best guess was that the “glitter” effect came from the hot water heaters on top of all of the houses and apartment buildings. But my less practical self decided to look at as a sign of magic.

Walking off of the airplane, I overheard a conversation about my program. After two months of some of the most drastic life changes I’ve ever made, I had finally arrived. In the most symbolic sense, it felt incredible to have landed with two feet on the ground.  Our group grew as we waited in the airport for the other program fellows to file towards the very American looking group after their equally long journeys. I looked around and saw some of the most genuine smiles I’d seen in a while. Their teeth glittered in the Tel Aviv sun, and we all knew something special was about to happen.

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Together we traveled back to our apartment building where we schlepped our heavy bags up to a floor designated entirely to our program. As I dragged my luggage its final 10 feet, I saw the sign on my door that read “Welcome Home.”

In that moment, I believed it. This group of 18 individuals, spanning across all demographics and education backgrounds, had chosen to embark on this extreme journey that will push us academically, socially, religiously and politically for the next 10 months. My mind continues to race as I consider the possibilities. But all I can see right now out of my third story window is the bright and shining Israel, a place that I can consider a real home after only one day.

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