We arrived. Tired but excited. Once passing through customs, we drove the back route to Jerusalem so we could pass by Modi’in. Our first glimpse of Jewish history coming alive: in Modi’in, brave Mattathias rallied those who refused to bow down to King Antiochus’ idols and together they fought the Assyrian soldiers sent out to enforce the limitations on Torah study and worship of Adonai. We said, nes gadol haya po (a great miracle happened HERE), instead of “nes gadol haya sham (a great miracle happened THERE), because we are HERE in Israel. Then we were off to the tiyelet, the Panoramic view from Mount Scopus of Jerusalem. With one sweep of our eyes we will take in the fullness of this holy city. We read about the experiences of our ancestors – Abraham, King David, Isaiah, Theodore Herzl – as they dreamed of and made their way to Jerusalem. Then, following a blessing recited by our Mishpacha Coordinator Rachel Isaacson for our arrival in Jerusalem, we passed around cups of grape juice to make a “L’chaim – to life.” We concluded with a shehecheyanu prayer, thanking God for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for allowing us to reach this special moment of holiness. To share this moment with my wife, my children, my father-in-law, and this wonderful congregation is so magical. It truly is a spiritual aliyah, a spiritual ascension to holiness! Lit Chanukah candles, shared stories in families about what this trip means to us. My niece Yonina showed up, looking great and happy. Off to bed, late.