Harmony & Synergy

From My Life to Yours ~ Let's Build Some Bridges!

4. Back in Jerusalem

My husband and I just arrived in Jerusalem after 9 days in NYC.  The transition has been incredible (difficult and hilarious as well!), and there are many stories that I wanted to share with you, but alas, a lack of internet connection has kept me from doing so.  I am currently on the computer at my in-law’s house.  I miss posting, sharing, and hearing your ‘voices’.  I will do my best to get some time with my laptop in a cafe tomorrow!

So while I have been “disconnected” from this world, I have been very connected otherwise.  Jerusalem is incredible.  For those of you that have been here before or are here now, I don’t need to elabourate, and for those that haven’t, no words can adequately describe the intensity and love that resides in this place.  I have had many homes in my life, and the feeling of “home” was always related to the people that lived in the house (aka family).  Until I came here, I never understood how one could feel at home in a land.

Someone mentioned that I should write a post on how I went from opening up to possibilities (“you didn’t grow up religious?!”) to arriving where I am now.  I want to do this, but haven’t found the words yet.  Hopefully this summer.  I want to let you know now, however, that Jerusalem has played a huge part in my journey.

I know that crying is something I should avoid in order to stay connected on Shabbat, however, when I went to do Kabbalat Shabbat in Jerusalem two days ago, I couldn’t help but crying.  A lot.  These were tears of joy.  These were tears of a disconnected soul being reconnected once again.

I have always said, that one can never really understand how disconnected they are until they feel reconnection.  I have had a wonderful year in Chicago, and I am so grateful for everything the people and the place has given me.  However, I only now realize that I haven’t truly breathed for a whole nine months.  Coming back to Jerusalem is like being born again.  For better and for worse, the smells are more intense, the tastes, the people, the emotions.  Religion, politics, survival.  Hate and love.  It is much more difficult to live a sleeping life here.  Which is a good thing.  As soon as I disconnect, something slaps me across the face and reminds me why I am here.  And I love it.  I love it so much.

My brother is here for the next couple of weeks, which is a miracle in itself.  I have really deepened my relationship with my mother in law (and the whole family) which I am so grateful for.  Some of my closest friends from overseas are here studying and I am so inspired by them.  And seeing my wonderful, beautiful mentors and friends has been… well, I feel like I never left.  I have only been here for a few days, and can’t wait for what tomorrow brings.

I wish so much that all of you could be here with me.  The physical distance between all of us pains me (yes, even those of you that I haven’t met in person)… but I know that one day it will happen and we will all be together.

I am hoping to get my internet issues resolved soon.  I am sorry that there are no pictures in this post, but hopefully I have given you something beautiful regardless.  Please be in touch and hopefully over the summer I will be able to give to you some of what Jerusalem has given to me.

Kol tuv (all the goodness in the world).
Andrea

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7 Comments

  1. Tiffany Jones

    This made me cry. It was definitely beautiful! I however, realized that I have yet to experience anything like that. I live in South Carolina and sometimes waking up here is just……well it sucks the life out of me because I have no connection with anything or anyone.When I first made the choice to look into judaism it was because my mind,heart,and soul just longed for something more. A deeper connection to God. I would love nothing more than to be able to go ahead and convert because I feel like it would just simply fill a hole. But I know for a fact that this is not my home and everything will happen when it’s time but I have to say I hope it’s soon. Having never been to Israel I quite put into words the connection I feel to it. Many family members have questioned me as well. They ask why. Why do you want to convert, why do you want to live in Israel? Do you think you will be accepted (I’m african american)? I tell them I don’t question it. I prefer to just go with. I feel like such a different person. In the best way possible! I think about Israel and I feel such a peace come over me. Why wouldn’t I want that everyday? What you wrote really made me think. Thank you for that! I am 25 and would love to have converted and if I’m lucky living in Israel by the time I’m 27! I’m sorry if it seems like I can’t really find my words. You got me thinking about a lot! Thank you for your blog!!

    Enjoy your time in Israel,
    Tiffany

    • Dear Tiffany. You are so incredible. I have a very close friend that is also African American, and she just converted after almost ten years in the ‘process’. Many of your words sound so similar to hers. She recently wrote down some of her story and gave me permission to share with others that might connect to it. Let me know if you’d like me to send it your way :)
      And one day, we will both be in Israel!
      Love, Andrea

      • Tiffany

        I would love to read it if it’s ok. Wow ten year process. That’s is amazing. I look forward to that day!
        Love,Tiffany

      • I can’t seem to find your email address! Feel free to send a message my way at herzog.andrea@gmail.com and I’ll forward you the essay (omitting her name etc., of course.)

  2. Tiffany Jones

    Thanks for allowing me to read your friends story. It was so much like mine. I took a little to really think about her story and it gave me a bit of a boost. It made me really want to make this all happen. Judaism is where I belong! I think I will be spending the rest of my life thanking you. You’ll never know how much you’re helping me.
    Love, Tiffany
    Do you think you could snap and I would be fluent in hebrew! LOL! It’s so tough!

    • Hahaha maybe if we both snap for each other we’ll end up both being fluent in Hebrew?! I truly wish. I’m in ULPAN (Hebrew class) 5 hours a day now and it’s slowly coming along…
      (And thank you so much for your other comments… I’m so glad that I found you!)

  3. Amy

    As a soul living in a far away land…I yearn daily to return to the magic of Yerushalayim. There are no words that can articulate just how much I resonate with what you have written. There’s a part within all of us that simply becomes numb when we are away, and is only ignited when we are HOME. Thank you for sharing your truth, your beautiful energy and for inspiring me ( and I am sure many many other souls in need of chizuk). Its always lovely to be reminded that in the abyss (spelling?) of Exile, when within ourselves we can feel lost and alone, there are bridges, albeit virtual, to be created. Much love and hakarat haTov, Amy

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