December 8-9, 2012
Today was a free day for us to visit sites in and around Jerusalem. We were on our own until dinner, and some of us went to Har El, a liberal synagogue just a short distance from the hotel. Rabbi Ada Zavidov and Cantor Evan Cohen welcomed us, and we felt right at home (although the service was completely in Hebrew). Rabbi Milhander was called to the Torah for an aliyah, and Miriam was given the honor of reading the Mi Sheberach for the soldiers of Israel (in Hebrew). After the service we joined together in the Kiddush and motzi, and then returned to our hotel.
We all reunited at 6:00 p.m. to go up to the terrace of the hotel, where we did havdalah and tried to light the first candle of Chanukah. Being a bit too breezy, our candles wouldn’t cooperate, so we returned to the lobby where we were able to utilize the Chanukah menorah provided by the hotel.
We then boarded our bus to travel a short distance for dinner to the Anna Ticho House (http://www.go-out.com/ticho/)
After dinner, we boarded our bus to return to the hotel to pick up last-minute things. Then it was time to head to the airport for our flight home. We had a guide for the trip to the airport, so we were able to get just a few more sites under our belts, and more information to absorb into our heads about the country.
Our flight home was uneventful except for a couple of diapers that had been flushed down the toilet, causing problems in the system. Things were finally sorted out, thanks to a wonderful crew of dedicated flight attendants. We landed right on time and then waited briefly for our shuttle to return us to TBT. We had said our good-byes to Ann & Felix and Barbara & Jerry who stayed in Israel for an extended visit, and Roz caught a flight back to Seattle from LAX. Margo was picked up by her niece at LAX. Our group of 13, now 7, pulled into the TBT parking lot just before 9:00 a.m. and then it was time for one last hug before we each returned to our own homes. L’hitra-ot, Israel. We hope to see you again in two years!