שמחו את-ירושלים וגילו בה, כל-אוהביה; שישו איתה משוש, כל-המתאבלים עליה
Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all that love her; rejoice for joy with her, all that mourn for her. Isaiah 66:10
A Last Shabbat in Jerusalem, not ”The” last but “A” last…
as a visitor, as a foreigner.
A last Shabbat in Israel with a temporary address, a temporary home.
Anticipation grows as:
A last Shabbat siren draws near, a last Friday sunset, a last Kabbalat Shabbat.
My last Shabbat before Aliyah, before fulfilling the Mitvah of Yishuv Ha’Aretz (settling the land), before ceasing to be a stranger, a wanderer.
The last Shabbat without a teudat oleh or a teudat Zehut.
A last Jerusalem Shabbat brings time to thank so many for the blessings of the year:
To the staff of The Tamar Suites, my home away from home, for making me feel comfortable and part of the family this year.
To the Grand Café, owners and employees, for welcoming me so warmly and for delivering great food and customer service
To my friends at Gehtz Li, where I get my laundry done,
To the fruit guys on the corner of Bet Lechem and Esther HaMalka, and
To the great folks at Bet Lehem for wonderful conversation plus cheese and bread recommendations,
Thank you to the staff and teachers of The Fuchsberg Center and our Youth Hostel. You all do exceptional work and it is a pleasure and privilege to join you.
To every cab driver who gave me a “Kol HaKavod” upon hearing our Aliyah intentions, and who engaged me in honest conversation about co-existence and friendship.
To all who hosted me for a Shabbat meal, a meal during the week, or a cup of coffee. I look forward to inciting you to our new home on Qorei HaDorot.
To our long-term, dear friends and to the new friends I discovered this year for everything.
To thirty-five years of Shlichim for contributing to the inspiration leading to our Aliyah, from
The shaliah I only met once who, after a talk I gave at kibbutz Shefaim, stopped me and said, “Rabbi Sykes, you are such a Zionist. Why don’t you live here yet?!” to...
Shlichim who started out as employees at camp and became dear friends and mentors.
To my wife, Becca, who took the brunt of the stresses this year in the US, who handled most of the logistics leading to our Aliyah; And
To Elan, Mira and Amalya who are making this journey, each in their own way.
To The One who promised this land to our ancestors and grants people the strength to return home.
A last Shabbat in Jerusalem, before a First Shabbat here…
As a citizen, a contributor, a participant in the greatest endeavor in Jewish, democratic sovereignty, in over 2,000 years.
Thank you Jerusalem and Israel.
See you again, as an Oleh Hadash, on August 20.