May 19, 2007
1 Sivan 5767
"What!! You've never been to Israel??" scolded the Israeli man next to me on a flight in Thailand. "Shame on you."
"Jan, your travels are incomplete" said a friend to me just recently.
"I am hoping to read your Travel Letters from Israel " said Jeff in Bangkok.
"It's always a good time to go to Israel" said a fellow congregant at the Beth Elisheva Synagogue here.
Well, my friends, now is the time. Finally, I am taking my first trip to The Middle East.
On Monday, 21May I fly from Bangkok to Amman on Royal Jordanian Airlines. I expect to spend about ten days in Jordan, traveling from north to south: Amman -- Petra -- Aqaba.
About 1 June, I am planning to cross from Aqaba to Eilat, Israel. I will then "go up" to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. I will be in Israel for three weeks.
Of course this is not a true "aliya." I am not relocating to Tel Aviv. This is a mini-aliya, equivalent to the synagogue aliya when one has the honor to "go up" to the bima (platform) for a brief moment to participate in the reading from the scroll of the Torah (Hebrew Bible). I pray "brief" will be meaningful.
"Mazel Tov on your decision to go to Israel" said my friend Jeffrey in Miami when I told him about my trip to The Middle East. He has been to Israel several times. He is happy for me. I am happy, too.
Moshe ben Chaim ha Levi