What is it about Israel?
Is it seeing a Mezuzah the moment you get off the plane? Is it being surrounded by the language of our people or the ancient stones that evoke the images of our history?
Or is it seeing young and cool Israelis walking aside Chassidic Jews as young orthodox kids skate by with tzitzit and kipahs flying?
Whatever it is, my heart is full and I've been tearing up since we landed.
In figuring out where to stay in Jerusalem I wanted to find a place that was "Mamash Yisraeli" (very Israeli). I wanted to be surrounded by Hebrew and every day Israelis. What I found was The Market Courtyard by the Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem's open air market.
It is perfect. My memories harken back 40 years (yikes!) when as a college student I spent a year on kibbutz outside of Jerusalem. So many memories (including my Hebrew) have come bubbling to the surface.
I remember buying yarn to knit an afghan to beat the cold on the kibbutz (and yes I still have that gold, orange and green blanket-it was the 70's!). I remember trying real halva for the first time and realizing that it wasn't really sawdust.
We wandered through the market this morning haggling and buying food for the next few days. The people, colors, sights and smells making me grin from ear to ear.
Meetings start soon. .but for this first morning we are enjoying the hustle and bustle of Agrippas Street and being in Jerusalem.
Tracy Salkowitz is a Consultant,activist and the former CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona.