“There is only one opportunity to see Jerusalem for the first time in your life”, Richard said to his children as we approached the famous observatory on Mount Scopus.
“On this day, 16 years ago when I was only 26 years old, I lost my best friend,” he continued. “This person that meant that world to me was your grandfather, my father, that never had the chance to know you. When I was just 5-years-old, he stood here, in this exact same place, overlooking this holy city. Since then, Israel has been a part of our family and our life. It is this heritage that encouraged your Mom and I to bring you here to Israel. It is so symbolic for me to be here with you today, on his Memorial day, watching you see Jerusalem for the first time in your life. This is a moment that you will never forget.”
I looked at Rich, Jessica and their children and felt pride. They are so devoted to teaching their children about where they come from and securing their sense of belonging to the Jewish people and the land of Israel.
I handed a bible to Rich and asked him to read from Psalms 126:
A Song of Maalot.
- When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like men who dream!
- The our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; then they said among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them!
- The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad!
- Bring back our captivity, O Lord, like the streams in the Negev!
- Thos who sow in tears shall reap in joy!
- He who goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come back with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him!
Kids, 37 years ago your grandfather planted the seeds of love. Today, we are harvesting them.
Everyone joined hands and together they sang the Shehehyanu (‘Who has given us life’) in honor of this special occasion.
Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam shehehyanu, vekiyamanu, vehegianu lazman hazeh.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה
Stay tuned for our next blog about the special place I took this wonderful family; to a place where they can remember their beloved father and grandfather every day.