Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Goodbye to the City and the Center

The sun sets on Jerusalem for the final time that I saw it there
We left the Jerusalem Center, and our Holy Land Adventure, the evening of Tuesday, August 7, 2012, directly from the students' "Memory Meeting."  While they started it, I slipped out onto the seventh floor terrace for a final goodbye to the city that I have grown to love so much.

On the northwest side of the Center property is a favorite place of mine, which became a sacred spot to me.  Here almost daily, encouraged by our Muslim friends' call to prayer, I would go out on my own to think, to mediate, and pray.  On this last evening in Jerusalem, I went there to say goodbye to the city I love and to pray there one last time.

"My spot"

The view of the Old City from my favorite place on the Center grounds

Looking towards Mount Scopus and Hebrew University

"Jerusalem, if I forget thee!"

The historical models of Jerusalem
My heart was rent as I took this picture of the center in the the light of our last sunset

In the middle of the students' Memories Meeting, we stood to take our leave (the other faculty families left the next day with the students, so we were leaving early).  They gave us a tribute and sang "God Be with You Till We Meet Again."

Many saw us off in the center garage, including our security chief (and gym trainer!) Tarek.  He is one of the many I will miss.

With Tarek Safedi

Samuel loading his luggage in the van so that our trusty Hassan could drive us one last time

There is no reason to recount the time and inconvenience that accompanied our check in at the Tel Aviv Airport.  We were in line for hours, had 5 of our 12 bags unpacked, and then still had personal security and immigration.  We then had a little time left for a snack before we boarded our plane.  Snack of choice: our favorite Magnum bars!

Rachel loved the double chocolate

But it will always be a white Magnum for me!
And the, rather anticlimactically, it was over.  We boarded early to get Samuel settled, but when the crowds of other passengers started pouring into the plane, I got distracted.  Suddenly we were taking off, and I caught a glimpse of Tel Aviv and the lights along the shore falling behind us.

And our Holy Land Adventure was over . . . but it was always be part of my memory and my heart.

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