Here it is. Writing quickly, since I'm paying for time by the minute. Over the past two days, which have felt like a week or maybe a lifetime, I have (among many other things):
--hiked in Ein Gedi, and watched the gazelles leap just like King David said they did
--cried at Yad Vashem
--cried everywhere else
--listened to the music of a master oud player
--listened to Mizrahi Jewish women (of easten descent) talk about being an underclass in Israeli society
--ate the amazing food they sell as part of an organization to empower Mizrahi women to become entrepreneurs, despite lives often marked by poverty and violence
--dipped my hands into the Dead Sea
--counted to 40 many times (I am a bus captain or, as the tour guide keeps calling me, "bus boss")
--lit Hannukah candles with 200 people each night
--and, as my very first act in this country, after lying awake all night thanks to excitement and jet lag, chanted Torah.
Tomorrow morning we we'll have services near the Wall, at the southern part where there are excavations (and where men and women are allowed to pray together). And I'll chant Torah again, in the shadow of all history.
In the evening we head to Neve Shalom, an Arab-Israeli village where people are actually managing to live in peace. We'll be in to Tel Aviv for Shabbat.
I never understood before. I don't know how else to say it. This afternoon at Ein Gedi, watching a waterfall, the beauty of this place almost knocked the breath out of me. I feel like I've been here always.