Our Pre-Yom-Kippur Guests

Our Pre-Yom-Kippur Guests
This past Shabbat we hosted an extremely lovely couple in their 50s, the founders of a Reform Temple in the small town in Pennsylvania where they raised their 2 children and still live.
The husband studied Hebrew in college, and perfected it at the elite dental school where he prepared for tests, going back and forth effortlessly between English and Hebrew, with his Israeli classmates.
His wife, on the other hand, didn’t know any Hebrew, couldn’t even read the letters.
But she loved Judaism and Israel and when their private tour guide started driving up the highway to Jerusalem, she told him, “Hey, Yossi, let’s play that song! The one about Jerusalem and gold! How does it go?”
And when she said that, my older children began belting out Yerushalayim Shel Zahav.on cue. And I joined in too (though, unlike my Israeli kids, I only know the chorus by heart). We sang loudly, our eyes closed with intense focus. With devotion, with passion for Jerusalem, and with deep joy and gratitude that we live in a day and age when we can call the Holy City home.
And the wife, who doesn’t know the Hebrew alphabet, and certainly couldn’t understand the words we were singing, began to cry. And cry.
“I’m sorry,” she said when we were done singing, “I’m having an emotional moment.”
But there was no need to apologize. I aspire to cry tears like those. Maybe this Yom Kippur I will? Cry the kind of tears that fall when you yearn so much and the holiness is so thick that your soul, your very soul, weeps.

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