One of the things I remember most about Israel is how I wanted to touch everything. I was like a toddler, wanting to touch the old pillars and columns, wanting to feel the stones beneath my hands.
I wanted to put my feet in the water.I wanted to do everything I could to bring myself as close to being a part of Israel’s story as I could.
Even though I had this desire from the second I walked out of the airport, I didn’t truly understand why until Shabbat, and my first time at the Western Wall.
I remember hearing the call across the city as Shabbat began as I (with some trepidation) turned off my phone and put it away, praying I wouldn’t get lost. I walked with my group through a maze of streets, and eventually found myself through security and then it was right there: The Jewish Holy of Holies, the Western Wall. For a moment I simply watched the celebration, trying to take it all in. And it truly was a celebration; there was singing, dancing, and laughter as peoplecelebrated the goodness of their God. I eventually walked towards the women’s section of the wall, both excited and nervous. I was afraid that I would get weird looks or that I would accidentally mortally offend someone. Instead, I narrowly missed getting pulled into a giant dance circle, and was wholeheartedly welcomed into their jubilation.
I made my slow but steady way through everyone and finally placed my hands on the Wall to pray. The Wall was smooth, softened by thousands, maybe even millions, of hands that have poured out their thoughts and concerns to God. It was bigger than me, and it was filled with notes in many different languages that had prayers and messages on them. Time had moved on while this wall stood and continued to be a symbol of resistance and res