It was the end of my freshman year at college. My friends and I were planning a cross-country road trip, a trip we’d been looking forward to the entire year. One day, while walking around campus, I was handed a flyer about a ten-day trip to Israel. My initial thought was, ”not interested.” I was about to trash the flyer, but for some reason I stuffed it into my purse, subsequently forgetting its existence.
A few days later I found the flyer while clearing out my purse. I started thinking about it more and more, and thought to myself, “Hey, why not? Visiting an exotic place which I’ve never been to before could be fun”. I showed the flyer to my friends, but they laughed at the idea. They even tried to discourage me. But for some unexplainable reason, I was incredibly drawn to the idea. I called the trip organizer and told him to sign me up.
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I thought I was visiting a third world country, and was surprised to see how modern everything was – the tall buildings, major highways, and western shopping centers that included chain stores from back home. Upon arriving in Jerusalem, I felt that same unexplainable feeling that I had felt back when I decided to join the trip. I walked the streets of Jerusalem, visited fascinating archaeological excavations, and heard incredible stories about the people.
I was hooked. I never wanted to leave.
I decide to take the plunge. I called my parents and told them that I wanted to stay in Israel. They responded with the typical, “You need to graduate college and settle down first”.
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Time flew and before I knew it, my trip was over. With a heavy heart, I boarded the plane back home. The moment the aircraft took off, an emptiness and incredible longing churned inside of me. Back at home, I tried to get back into my usual routine. But the constant feeling of emptiness would not leave me. I went to the library and took out books about Jerusalem, which I read voraciously. Still, it wasn’t enough. I needed to be IN Jerusalem.
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